Your logo may be the most important purchase or decision you will ever make in business. And yet, many try to design them on their own; or even worse, go online and type “your business name here” to a stock design. (You know who you are…)
Why is it a mistake? It shows no involvement in the meaning of your business. A good designer is really more of a fantastic listener. They should spend more time listening to what your business is about and who you are, than showing you all the work they have done for others. Not that their past isn’t important, as picking a designer nowadays is much like on-line dating, unfortunately. So you need to do some investigating. Visiting websites and looking through their portfolios is important, but getting to know each other in the old-fashioned way will always win out.
Often I get an email asking for a price on a logo. I never answer that question off the bat. I can say what the minimum is to retain me, but until I talk to you and feel as if I have been told truthfully who and what you and your business are, you and I are both in the dark. You are paying for time and thoughtful consideration of your future, not to mention design time.
Your logo is the visual manifestation of your mission statement. So when interviewing a graphic artist/designer, while looking through their portfolio, tell them about you and your business. Pay attention to if they are paying attention. Are they taking notes? Or have they already started sketching before you even told them what you are about? Are they taking in what you are saying? Are they asking questions about you and what you do? I tend to ask questions. Lots of them, and they are pointed—so be prepared. We need to be compatible if this relationship is going to last.
Think of your logo as a second skin. It should accurately reflect who you and your business are at the time it’s created, and updated accordingly. Yes, updated. I said it. But we will talk about that some other time. You are going to be wearing this second skin every day, plastering it everywhere you can and literally wearing it if you purchase promotional merchandise. So being comfortable in this second skin can make or break you.
When you pay someone to design or update your logo, you are paying them to interpret your intentions and gestures to the public and then create the design. So it’s an intimate process. Put down any fantasies about your business and get down and dirty with your designer— at first it will feel like dating, getting to know each other clumsily, but when the right designer comes along, you will know it. You will click and things will fall into place. The proverbial U-Haul will pull up and that second skin will appear. Crawl in, get comfy, rock it, and make sure it looks damn good in your wallet.
Monica Maglaris is the president of Liberty Screen Print Co. in Beacon Falls, Connecticut. Her work can be seen at libertyprintco.com