Logo Lowdown

Building your brand

Elise Gustilo - 16th December 2017

Where do I even begin? The first pertinent question that entered my mind when deciding to embark on a branding mission for my business.

Think you can do it yourself? Well…

Graphic design is a niche skill. DIY your logo and you’re almost guaranteed it will look like a DIY job (unless you are a graphic pro, in which case, you are in luck!). There are a lot of reasons to go down a professional route but here are a few considerations:

  • Your logo and brand images are your identity and first port of call – advertise yourself as a luxury business with a logo/photos that doesn’t match this message and questions will be raised. How properly do you finish your projects? You say one thing, but I see another. I’m getting mixed messages here (thinks the consumer…). Can I trust this person? OK some people have a shiny front shop window and how they go about their business may be a completely different ball game. However we’re assuming here you’re above board and not planning to fall at the first hurdle.
  • A (good) logo is not simply shoving together letters that spell out your name or company. Many people (including myself before I sailed this ship!) do not appreciate the level of skill that goes into creating a logo. The outline of each letter from a typeface is individually tweaked to get just the right balance, proportion and spacing to create essentially…a piece of art. This evokes emotion, makes a statement and says a lot about your brand personality.

So how do I go about finding the right person for the job? My friend offered to do one for me for free - thoughts?

This is a tricky question, but below are some of tips that helped me along the way:

  • If you don’t know a graphic designer, ask people you know if they can recommend someone. You could even put a free advert up. However, be clear what industry area you’re targeting and if you’re aiming for the high or low end of the market.
  • Sounds obvious, but look at your prospective designer’s portfolio. They may have worked for big brands, but are they in the same industry as you? If not, do you like their work and could you see it being translated into your brand? Really important to distinguish whether their work is good and whether it is right for you. Someone may have an amazing portfolio for big corporate banks and blue chip companies, but if you’re opening a cool hip café and nothing in their portfolio shows you fun and trend, be warned that your brand or logo could look like something from the financial district. That said, sometimes you might strike a deal of mutual benefit. The designer may be looking to branch out with their portfolio and might offer you a deal. But - nothing in life is free. As long as you have the time, be prepared that if you know their portfolio doesn’t match with your vision, you may have to resign yourself to becoming more involved to get the result you’re looking for. Not always the case, but food for thought.
  • Friends – if you’re lucky you might have a super talented friend who will do it for free. Hurray! The above on portfolio however still applies. Make sure that you’re on the same page and how you will work together. What will you both do if the design they produce isn’t quite what you’re looking for? Also TIME. More than likely if it’s gratis, it may be less of a priority for your friend and take longer. Be clear of your expectations – if you’re prepared to wait, great, but if not, make sure they understand or can fulfil your deadlines so that you can find another alternative if need be. Conflict arises when outcomes do not meet expectations (that’s why agreements or contracts are often in place when you work with an organisation)
  • Make sure you can work together. What does that mean? That feedback can be given freely (and respectfully) but nothing is taken personally. This is business. Deadlines and conditions should be respected. Importantly if you don’t understand some things (naturally as this is not your field of expertise), make sure you feel comfortable talking to the person and trust their advice. It makes things a hell of a lot easier and much more enjoyable – after all, they’re playing a crucial role to help create your business baby.

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