I just finished placing an order for a new logo for one of my websites. I spent a few hours researching the topic so I can provide the designer with the best possible list of requirements and guidelines. Not sure what instructions you should provide your designer with? Read on for a list of things you should tell your logo designer to make sure you get a logo you’re happy with!
Why you should hire a logo designer
Yes, I can play around with Photoshop on my own. And yes, some logos don’t look like they’re more than some text and maybe a generic icon from a free clipart website.
That said, I think there are benefits to getting a logo from designer. A professional designer will will get you a better quality logo, in a variety of sizes and including vector graphics. The design will be original and most importantly, your designer will be faster than you, so total work time can be reduced. And you’re paying for your own work time, even if it doesn’t look like it.
Professional designers are very affordable these days – thanks to sites like Fiverr and Freelancer.com. It simply doesn’t make sense for me to spend too long on creating a logo when a designer is likely to achieve a much better results for $5-$20.
Where to find a logo designer
I just mentioned Fiverr and Freelancer.com. I’ve worked with designers from both sites. I use Fiverr for quick 24 hours jobs where I’m not too picky about the end result. I don’t stick to the $5 options though. I “splurge” with $10-$20 orders that usually include two designs to choose from + all the accompanying files.
I use the Freelancer.com contest option for more important projects. I offer $30-$50 depending on the project’s complexity. A week later, I have a dozen designs to choose from. Some are blah, some good and usually 1-2 are really good.
Here’s a funny thing, I used to feel bad about these contests, thinking about how I’m making so many people “work for me” without getting any compensation. A friend changed my mind about that. She’s a professional graphic designer and she told me many designers enjoy participating. Apparently, it helps them grow their portfolio and enhance their skills. And sometimes they happen to win, which is nice too.
There are other sites out there where you can hire graphic designer. So far I’ve tried Fiverr and the Freelancer.com contests with good results from both.
Getting a new logo: What to tell your designer
If you want the best possible logo, you need to convey your exact do’s and don’ts to the designer.
Why should you even prepare a list of logo requirements?
Here’s a free lifehack for you. When faced with a new task, Google it. By that I mean, search Google for blog posts with tips on how to do whatever it is you need to be doing.
That’s what I did when I needed a graphic designer. This post is based on the results of that searches, tweaked and adapted for my needs. Will include some resources towards the end of this post.
Tip: When you make an order via Fiverr, most designers will actually guide you through and let you know exactly what kind of information they need from you. So, if you’re in a rush, you can just go there and place your order with a reputable designer.
That said, these designers will also ask if you have further requests. That’s where having your own guidelines can help. It will help make sure you convey your wishes to the designer in an accurate manner and get the right results the first time – or at least with fewer revisions.
How flexible are you about your logo?
Some people don’t really care about their site’s logo. Which is actually fine. If you feel like you have no sense of visual/graphic aesthetics, you may prefer to just trust the instincts of a professional designer. After all, not only did these people study their craft, they probably became designers because they were born with a good sense of aesthetics.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let the designer know anything about your logo requirements. Assuming you’re hiring someone who is not familiar with your website, you can’t expect them to spend several hours studying it and getting the right “vibe” that your audience will appreciate. Definitely not if you’re paying them only $20.
And if you do consider yourself to have a good eye for visuals and you have your own ideas of what you like and dislike about logos, it’s even more important to convey your style to your logo designer.
So, just how flexible you are about the final product will determine the extent of your logo requirements. But you’re going to need to deliver at least some of them to the designer all the same.
With that in mind…
Logo requirements list
Consider this a template of what you need to send your designer. More on how to use that towards the end of this post.
1. Size/specs and formats.
Specify what kind of files you want. Is a JPEG file enough for you or do you need a GIF or PNG with transparent backgrounds too? (You do – ask for it). Where in your website does your logo go and as a result, do you want a horizontal logo or a square one?
Make sure you get a print size version of the logo too. And assuming this is for a website, don’t forget to ask for a .ico file for people’s bookmarks/favorites.
You can also invest in social media files and ask for additional designs based off your logo that will go into your Facebook/Twitter header, as well as files for your social media avatars. And yes, they would be additional designs at an additional cost.
If you’re not familiar with industry standards, your designer will be, so sometimes you can just ask him or her about what kind of files/sizes they recommend. Make sure you discuss it before contracting out the job.
1. Description of your website
Include your website’s name, its history and mission statement. If it’s a new blog, it probably doesn’t have much of a history yet, but you should have a mission statement. It doesn’t have to be as inspirational as Starbucks’ mission statement –
To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
But do have something. The ability to define the essence of your blog in one or two sentences can help you in many ways. Finding and working with a logo designer is one of them.
2. Description of your audience.
Let the designer know who your target audience is. Are they mostly young women in their twenties? Dads in the Bay area? Or maybe your visitors are senior citizens whose passion is world travel?
A good designer will try to make the logo more attractive to your target demographics.
3. Which emotions should the logo convey
This is somewhat related to a description of your site and your audience but it’s a separate element.
Your visitors may be women in their 50’s and your site topic is skin care but does not necessarily mean a girly pink “vibe”. Maybe your website is more about the clinical/scientific aspects of advanced skin care products and you prefer a clean non-pink look? You can’t expect the designer to guess that.
4. Your current logo (pros and cons)
If you’re getting a logo for an existing site, let the designer know. Tell them exactly what you like and – more importantly – what you don’t like about the current logo.
Do you want to stick to a specific color scheme? Maybe the colors of your current wordpress theme? Or maybe the colors of a product that you’re selling? Let the designer know.
You can also mention how many colors you want the logo to include. If you ever want to create merchandise based on that logo, the number of colors can matter.
6. The text
Do you even want text? Or do you just want a striking visual? And if you do want text, what will it be? Your site name without the .com extension or with it? Do you want a your tag line embedded in the logo itself too or not?
7. The fonts
Fonts are a separate matter. Is there a particular font that you like or want to use? This is the time to let the designer know. Or you could just have a general preference between the more traditional serif fonts and the modern looking san serif ones.
Do you want a text-only logo? Or one with an image? Or maybe just a clever image without the text? And if you do want an image, then try to give your designer more direction.
I suggest insisting on a unique/original image rather than have them grab one from a clipart library. Just be prepared to pay for that. If you’re imagining a logo that has an intricate mascot on it, then this would probably require a designer that specializes in mascots (and charges accordingly).
8. Overall style
If you’re not very graphics-oriented and have no idea about style, that’s ok. You don’t have to specify a style and frankly, it’s probably best that you don’t try to. However, if you do know what “minimalist” means and that’s what you’re going for, do let the designer know.
If you want to give it a shot, this guide by 99Designs has great explanations and illustrations of common visual design styles.
9. Finally, examples!
All of the designers I’ve worked with over at Fiverr asked for examples of logos that I liked. Fortunately, I worked on that long before I approached them. If you’re serious about your logo, it’s always a good idea to browse other sites in the same niche and see what kind of logos they have. I use Windows Snipping Tool to quickly pick up these logos and keep them in two folders: One for the logos that I like… and one for those that I don’t.
Don’t limit yourself to niche sites though. It’s perfectly ok to be inspired by other websites, so if you absolutely love the Dropbox logo, let your designer know that too.
Once you have a dozen logos that you love and a few that you hate, you’ll find that answering questions about style and concepts becomes easier. It’s the last item on this list and may be the last thing you send your designer, but it’s a good idea to make it your first step when you begin thinking about getting a new logo.
How to use this list
I came up with the above list when I needed a new logo for my flagship site. I paid several hundreds of dollars for that logo so it made sense to invest some time in research and preparation.
Now that I have the list, I plan on using it for smaller projects too. Investing 10-15 minutes into putting everything in writing for a logo designer is worth it. Getting better results in the first iteration is so worth it.
If you’re thinking of getting a logo, for a new website or while revamping the look of an existing asset – feel free to follow suite and use it.
Most designers will ask you these questions when you make the order. With Fiverr, you have to answer some of these in the order form. Best to be prepared.
I simply put all of the above into a document. When filling in the order form, I copied and pasted the relevant info into each field and then I also added the entire document. That way, I made sure I didn’t forget anything. I was giving the designer everything she or he needed to get the best logo produced for me.