If you’ve read and followed the advice in part one, you’re probably pretty confident about what you want your logo to be. But even if you still have very little of an idea as to what you’re looking for, don’t sweat it!
One of the beautiful things about the era in which we live is that, among many things, we’re able to search for help in virtually any project that we can possibly desire.
Whether you know exactly what you want but don’t have the design capabilities, or you have no idea what you want, or you’re a marketer/designer working for a business that doesn’t know what they want; there are a bunch of different options open to you. Regardless of your circumstance, you probably don’t want to just throw money into a project without knowing what the ROI (Return On Investment) will be. But that’s something that we covered last time, so if you’re not sure, check out part one. :}
My suggestions fall under six prime categories, each with a certain level of expectation for where you stand in the design process, as well as budget limitations to take into consideration. Though these aren’t entirely rigid concepts I associate with each option, experience tells me that these are pretty accurate.
Option 1: Turn to a large design firm
Suggested for: Those with little to no design experience or design staff, and a large budget.
Why this works: If you have the funds for it, but don’t know how to go about designing your logo, this is probably your best bet. Large design firms are usually large for a reason – they do good work and get it done promptly. But that doesn’t mean you should just pick any ol’ design firm. Find one that consistently makes good work, and work that aligns with your business.
If you’re a big bakery chain, find a firm that’s known for making great logos for other bakery chains. And be sure to work with the people in that firm who know what they’re doing, and get your business. The better they get to know you and your business, the more likely they are to really capture what it is your business is about.
Drawbacks: Sometimes bigger firms get that way because they cast a wide net. While this is great for their business, it might mean that you won’t get all of the attention you deserve. Another thing to worry about is location. If your business thrives in a specific city or region, or even country, a design firm from a different area might not really get what your area is about.
Option 2: Turn to a small design firm
Suggested for: Those with little to no design experience or design staff, and a small budget.
Why this works: If you have a budget that can handle it (I’d estimate at least $2,000), but don’t have the design abilities necessary for your new logo project, OR you work in a very niche market; a smaller design firm is probably best for you. A smaller firm means smaller clients, which means smaller budgets required. However, when it comes to design firms, “small” doesn’t mean less qualified.
Sometimes a firm is smaller because they work with a specific niche of businesses. Or they may have only recently started in the design game. Either way, do research and find a firm that really fits your business and has gotten good reviews. If you know other business owners, they might be a good resource for this kind of information.
Drawbacks: Though not always, “small” sometimes DOES mean less qualified. Not only that, it might mean that they don’t have the time for full attention on your project, as they likely have a smaller staff than bigger firms.
Option 3: Hire a freelance designer
Suggested for: Those with some or little design experience, and a small budget.
Why this works: Freelancers can be great for design projects because they can devote the time and energy you need to successfully complete your project. Some freelancers are experienced designers, and some are just starting out, but you can usually get information like that easily through review sites when it comes to someone who came to you through recommendation.
If you find the right freelancer, the process can go on your terms, with certain limits of course. But what’s arguably the best part about hiring a freelancer is that they tend to be cheaper than a firm, which is great for small businesses or ones just starting up.
Drawbacks: Unfortunately, the price of a freelancer can be a double-edged sword. If you don’t know the designer’s credentials, and they don’t work with a firm, you might not be able to ensure that the quality of their work is really “up to snuff”. Even worse, it’s difficult to tell when a design is plagiarized. This can lead to legal actions depending on the circumstances, so be very careful about using a freelancer.
Option 4: Crowd-source your design
Suggested for: Those with some design experience, and a medium-large budget.
Why this works: If you have an idea of what you want, but don’t know where to turn, going to a public, non-firm related group might be the way to go. The best options of these would be crowd-sourced design sites, which can breed some truly innovative and creative designs. The best part about it is that you get designs from so many sources, that even if 95% of them aren’t what you want, you still have a few options open to you.
Drawbacks: Crowd-sourcing, like hiring a freelance designer, can be risky for a few reasons – plagiarism, poor quality, etc. These methods can also be pricier than using a freelancer, though with that comes many more options. Be sure to research and find a good, reputable crowd-sourcing site.
Option 5: Hold a design contest
Suggested for: Those with any design experience, a large budget, and a big media presence.
Why this works: Who knows what your customers and die-hard fans find appealing more than your customers and die-hard fans, right? Well, some of them may be designers! Even if they aren’t, they can help you encapsulate what direction to go in after the contest is over. This also brings media attention to your business, though it really works best if you already have a lot of that to start with.
Drawbacks: Your customers and fans might not be engaged enough to contribute. For that matter, there’s no guarantee that those who do have good ideas. Either of these can mean a big waste of time for you, and a media folly if nothing comes of it.
Option 6: Use an internal designer
Suggested for: Those with a designer in-house (or on retainer), and a small-medium budget.
Why this works: If you have a designer who works for you, or is on retainer, then they probably already get what your business is about. In either case, part of their purpose in the context of your business is projects like this. And since you’ve already done business with them, they’re credible.
Drawbacks: Someone who works for you may have a specific niche in design that’s great for some projects but not your logo. Having them work on this assignment would also eat into the work they otherwise do for you.
Some final thoughts
When you’re trying to decide which one of these options really works for you, don’t get too engrossed in thinking about it. If you’re really not sure, you can always find people and resources to consult, and research to do. As long as you make a step in the right direction, you’ll have a clearer idea of what path to take.