A buddy asked me the other day which type of design projects I love to get from clients the most. (Well all of them of course. Keep them coming!) But if I had to choose the type of project that makes me giddy when it comes across my desk it has to be a logo design project.
I love the little logo. I love how something so small can have such an impact. I love the craftsmanship that goes into it and I love the process behind its creation.
With my job I meet a lot of people (yeah, I mingle). And a lot of the people I meet are entrepreneurs. They are energetic and engaging people. Confident. Proud. Right up until they hand me their business card. When this inevitable ceremony of the business card exchange comes they always sheepishly say the same thing.
“I know, my logo needs help” or “ Please ignore the logo. It isn’t very good”
This happens quite a bit. So I’m thinking, “Wait a minute. Why are these good people so miserable with their logos?”
I thought maybe they get anxious thinking that since I’m a graphic designer, I must be a designer with a capitol D and will shred their poor logo to ribbons like Paul Rand during a five-day bender (I won’t). Or maybe their embarrassment stems from going with a logo crowd-sourcing site and getting crappy results. (Hey, you get what you pay for).
For a while there I thought that the majority of new businesses owners just didn’t really care that much about their logos at all – that they viewed them as fluffy, arty afterthoughts.
But after talking to more entrepreneurs and seeing how unhappy they were with their logos it hit me. It’s not that they don’t care about their logo, it’s that they weren’t shown a proper process. Now the end result is a visual identity that they can’t really identify with.
Think about how important process is when developing other business strategies. Your website or your mobile platform or your social media presence. You wouldn’t just start building all these without some sort of process in place first, would you? Your logo deserves the same treatment. (BTW- if you said YES to that last question I’ll say an extra prayer for you tonight).
The logo design process for me is about finding connections between your business story and your personal story.
I want to know your business almost to the point where I can map out its DNA. (I know. Intimate) so I start off with some good old Q&A. What’s your company history? Who are your customers? What do your customers like about you? What do your employees like about you? What other businesses have inspired you? What is your company mantra? Do you have a mantra?
This part of the process helps me better understand your business story and paints a clearer picture of your business character.
The second part of the process is to understand you a bit more. After all you’re the human being behind the business. So what’s your story? What makes up your character? I mean it takes a different kind of person to become an entrepreneur so what led you here? What led you to this particular business? What motivates you? What did you see lacking in the world that no one else did?
At the end of this Q&A / therapy session we get a snapshot of your business character and your personal character. From this point connections can be made between both character types and we then have a great starting point for creating a visual identity. One that now speaks from a place of honesty.
Now as you can guess this process takes time to do.
Is it more expensive to do? Yep.
But this proper logo process ensures you’ll have more than a good logo to show but a logo you’ll be PROUD to show. Yay! No more looking for that rock to crawl under when handing out your cards.
Oh, one other thing.
Your finished logo doesn’t have to be a perfectly designed specimen to be hung on gallery walls. Now obviously, as a designer I want everything designed beautifully, especially a logo. It’s my job. But I’d be just as happy for you knowing that the logo on your business card was created after going through a proper process and that you had a great experience with it. I’d be happy to know that you learned something from the process and saw it’s value.
Most of all I want you to be confident. Confident that your logo absolutely represents your business and yourself. People want to work with those who are confident with themselves.
If you can achieve this then I’ll forgive you if the kerning is slightly off. (I will not forgive you if you use comic sans or Helvetica. I have limits people).
Now go ahead and hand me that card with your head held high.