If you are wondering how to hire a logo designer, you aren’t alone. As a professional graphic designer who specializes in logo design, I get this question a lot. In this article, I am going to go into how to find the right logo designer and match their portfolio to the design you have in mind, as well as the design process and what to expect when you enter into an agreement.
- What do you have in mind for your logo?
- Find your logo designer.
- Look at the designer’s portfolio.
- Contact the designer.
- Establish a realistic budget.
- Go over the project, agree on terms, finalize the contract.
- What to expect from the design process.
- Give your feedback.
- Finalize the logo design process.
The first thing you need to do before you even start looking for a graphic designer is to decide on what it is you want and that brings us to our first section.
1. What do you have in mind for your logo design?
The logo designer that you choose is likely to ask you a series of questions when you start discussing your project. Most professional designers have a questionnaire that they will go over or supply to you to fill out which will help identify your expectations of the logo, but you would be amazed at how many people want a logo but their initial idea is so vague they aren’t even sure what they want. If this is where you land, don’t worry. Most designers can help you identify what you are having trouble putting into words.
The best thing to do is to take some time and look at different logos on the internet for examples that will help you further develop your idea. This will help you present clear instruction on what kind of look you want. If you want a grungy sports logo that looks like it’s exploding but the designer understands that you want a sleek handwritten logo, you aren’t going to be happy with the final design. By doing some preliminary research, you can send them some logo ideas you really like and then talk about them.
Now that you have an idea of what you want, it’s time to find your designer.
2. How to find a graphic designer
There are multiple ways to do this but you need to decide on a few things first. Do you want to work with someone locally who can meet with you in person or do you want to expand nationally where you will often deal with them only in email? You can also consider what the future relationship will become when you need websites and print material. A local designer sometimes will fit the bill better if you need to meet in person, but that’s not as critical with Skype and Google Hangouts available.
3. Look at the designer’s portfolio
This is essential. If you find a designer who only deals with sports logo but you want a logo designed for a jewelry store, there is a good chance the logo will not be what you expect when finished. It is very important to match the portfolio to the logo designer. Don’t only look at the craftsmanship but also the mood the designer works with. Do they have a happy colorful feel to each design? Is their portfolio full of desaturated corporate colors? Perhaps it’s a dark and moody portfolio. Match the artists look and feel to what you are expecting.
Once you have decided, if you are going nationally there are a lot of websites you can go to such as Dribbble, Behance, or Logopond to look over the different logos and find someone who matches what you want. You can often click a hire me button or just fill out a contact form.
If you are going locally, you can often find good resources on your social networks. There is a good chance someone you know also knows a designer. Talk to them and if they don’t match your feel, they often will know someone who does. In addition, you can go to local chambers, networking groups, and even online social groups for your city. Mention you are looking for a graphic designer for your logo and there is a good chance we are watching.
4. Contact the designer
After you have your leads established and you have looked at the portfolios, it’s time to contact your designer. A simple introduction to how you found them and what you are looking for is usually enough to get the conversation started. The designer will often drive the conversation with a series of questions. A few sample questions may be:
- What is the target audiences age group?
- How do you plan to use this logo?
- Is the logo geared more towards males or females?
- Do you have an idea of what you want already?
- Be prepared for more than just that, the more questions the designer asks the better as they use this information to help guide their decisions on the logo design.
Once you have the questions out of the way, it’s time to talk costs. That’s right, the question of all questions.
5. Establish a realistic budget
It is important to have a realistic budget in mind when you are ready to enter into a logo design project. First off, it is very rude to ask a designer to work on a logo for free. It is just bad all around. More than likely you won’t work for free in your job, don’t ask them to work for free in theirs. I don’t mean to be blunt, but we get asked that a lot.
Do you have a budget already set, simply ask the designer if he can work within those means? If you don’t have a budget and you are asking the designer to bid a project, that is fine too. If the cost happens to come back higher than you are expecting don’t throw in the towel just yet. Ask the designer if there is any way to possibly lower the costs since it is outside of your budget. Sometimes the designer can lower the revisions they usually supply or perhaps you will be getting multiple concepts and they can reduce that amount. That is just an example.
Understand that the designer will have a lot of work behind the scenes that you won’t even see. This could be hours of concept thumbnails, creating mood boards, competitor research, and then the hours it takes to fine tune every line in the final design. We care about our craft immensely.
It’s important not to ask for clip art to be incorporated into your logo. Not only is this offensive to the artist, but if you want a clip art logo, just go buy a clip art logo.
6. Go over the project, agree on terms, and finalize the contract
Most graphic designers will work on contracts. Though this might seem a bit intimidating, it’s to protect them and their work but it’s also to protect you and what you are agreeing to purchase. All of your rights are in this contract so if you are receiving full rights to the design, it will be in there. If you are only buying limited rights, it too will be in there. Look over the contract carefully to make sure you are happy with the terms, if you have change requests just ask, this contact is as much for you as it is for them. Contracts are a good thing.
7. What to expect from the design process
So you’ve agreed on a price, talked about the design, and signed the contract. Now what? First, it’s common practice for the designer to ask for half the payment up front. They will send you an invoice for a specified amount and they won’t start your design until the half down has been received. Now you’ve paid the design process begins.
During this process, there will be many hours of work that you won’t even see. This is going to be thumbnails (coming up with the strongest design in a series of many, many sketches), mood boards to get a feel of the mood of the logo, preliminary comps which are better-rendered sketches, and then the vectoring process. Though most artists don’t show thumbnails because they don’t make much sense to someone who doesn’t work with them on a daily basis, most designers will supply them if you ask for them. Just don’t get too set on a design because it’s best to leave the strongest logo do the designer. You hired them as the professional after all. They have an eye trained to recognize the stronger shapes and physiology behind the design.
8. Giving your feedback
The designer will present you with your logo design. After all the work is done, the designer has selected the strongest logo design out of the tons of thumbnails, they have meticulously edited it to perfection, and now they are presenting it to you. This does not mean you don’t get a say in your logo design.
It is common to have revisions in the design process. Perhaps you don’t like the shape of a particular letter, or you aren’t sure about the chosen color, etc. Just talk to your designer and they will usually tell you why they made a particular decision but if an edit strengthens the logo, we are happy to make it. If we don’t agree with your decision, we will often advise against it and explain why and see if you still want to progress after our reasoning.
9. Finishing the design
The design process is a long process that requires the outcome to look simple and memorable. However, the process is anything but simple.
Now you have the final logo is done, the designer will request the final payment and once made they will send you over the final designs. Depending on your contract, it will specify what you get to use the logo for. If you have full or limited rights, and so on. Most contracts don’t allow you to change the logo after it’s complete so no stretching or recoloring the logo. Branding matters!
I hope this post has helped shed some light on how to get a logo made for you or your company. Even though I’ve explained the process in detail, It’s a painless, straightforward process. When finished with your logo design, stay in contact with your designer, create friendships, and they will usually stick around to help your company succeed in all your marketing endeavors and will be happy to assist on other projects.
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Of course, I am a graphic designer and logos are my specialty so I can’t end this post without a quick shameless self-promotion. If you would like me to design your logo for you, please feel free to contact me at any time to get started.
If you have a question about anything I covered on the article, please feel free to move the conversation by asking a question in the comments before or even tell me about a design experience you’ve had. Good, I hope! Let’s expand on this and make it even more useful for others!