Logo Design Blog

Too Many Cooks Spoil the Logo

Most designers are afflicted with the disease to please. We’ll go to most any lengths, it seems, to please our customers. You need the nineteenth version of your logo? Sure, no problem. Want the font from design #1 with design #30? Can do. How about integrating this cool effect I saw on someone else’s logo? Well, hopefully most designers will balk at blatant copying.

You and your customers are partners, but you’re not equals. I’m sure your customer thinks they’re the boss, but the bottom line is you’re the professional. That’s why your customer hired you. To be treated as a professional, though, you have to act like a professional. And that means setting limits. Those limits should be in your contract or at the very least some signed statement from your customer — and they should state in black and white just how many designs you will create for the money you’re charging.

So how much is too much? I suggest no more than three to five concepts for the first presentation. If you show more, it’s like letting kids loose in a candy store. They’re overwhelmed by all the goodies and cannot make a decision. And if you have “the logo”, don’t be afraid to show only one logo. There are times when you know you’ve created the one. Stick to your guns, and make your arguments convincing.

What if the customer balks? Remind them that usually the first concepts are the ones that will be developed into the final logo. That you’ve been doing this for x number of years, and it’s your experience that they will find the design they like in just a small set of samples. Explain that you will come up with many designs, but will only show them the best designs for their company.

If the customer doesn’t like the first set of concepts, that’s okay. Find out what they object to:

  • Fonts?
  • Style?
  • Size?
  • Too feminine?
  • Too masculine?

Then find out what they liked about the first logos. It’s rare that the customer absolutely hates everything you created. It’s your job to pinpoint where you went wrong. Maybe they said they wanted a modern look, but what they really want is something classic. Maybe your design won’t work with all the different ways that the customer will be using the logo.

The problem with allowing your customer too much control over their logo is that they think your time and experience isn’t really valuable. After all, any slob with a computer nowadays can throw together a logo, right? If that’s really their attitude, then you’re better off without them. But they may just need to be reminded that you’re the professional, and that they picked you because they liked what they saw in your portfolio.

Once you’ve collected more information, create another three to five concepts. If you’re customer still isn’t satisfied, it’s time for more money — or to agree that you’re not the right designer for them. I know that it’s tempting to keep coming up with logo after logo to soothe your ego and please your customer, but if they don’t see something they like after ten designs, you probably aren’t the right designer for them. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it may only mean that your style isn’t right for this particular customer (or maybe they just have no taste). Chances are this will rarely happen to you.

Customers come to you because you’re the professional and you know how to get their company noticed. It’s up to you to act like a professional and set the proper boundaries. When customers know what to expect, they’re more satisfied with the whole design process.

By Judy Litt | Courtesy of About.com

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