Your logo is one of the most important components of your branding.
Studies show that people are more responsive to images than they are to text, so it is safe to say that your logo is more powerful when it comes to marketing than anything you may be able to convey about your practice.
Generally speaking, there are three different types of logo:
Designing the perfect logo for your business is no small task. Do not enter into logo creation lightly – it will be with you for the life of your practice (if you do it right). Don’t place that task in the hands of someone you know who might have a “flair for design” – you’re a professional, so use a professional!
Should You Hire a Freelance or Design Company for Your Logo?
Here are some things to consider when making this decision:
- Pricing. Because freelancers are less likely to have the overhead costs of a design company, it is generally much less expensive to have your work done by them. Also, being an individual, it is often easier to bargain with them, as companies normally have a more formal pricing structure. Companies often have special promotions, so do a bit of internet research before deciding.
- Perspective. When you hire a freelancer, you are working with one person – and just one perspective. When you hire a design company, you have the benefit of knowing that a number of professionals will be considering your logo design and contributing multiple perspectives that can be used to better your logo.
- Return policy. Don’t forget that freelancers are individuals who are in business for themselves. That means they get to make their own rules, and they rarely have a higher-up to answer to if they don’t get the job done to the customer’s satisfaction. This means that it may be very difficult to return a freelancer’s bad logo design for a refund if you are not happy with it. On the other hand, a design company is more likely to have a well-defined protocol in place for when a customer is not happy, which means that it should be much easier for you to address the problem of unsatisfactory work, if or when the issue comes up.
It also depends on with whom you feel most comfortable.
Provide as much guidelines as possible
Whether you opt for a designer or design company, provide as clear a brief as you can. This will help elminate time-wasting and cut costs.
Here are some pointers:
- A logo forms part of your branding and must form a lasting impression on your viewers and can’t be changed at whim.
Every aspect of your logo must be there for a reason – every curve, each colour that is chosen. At the end, all the elements must blend together to form a powerful yet clear message.
- Identify the qualities or aura of the product that it is intended to convey. In order to be as memorable as possible, your logo should be distinctive
- Stay away from trends. Why? Because trends tend to go out of style just as quickly as they came into style. Your logo should stand the test of time, as it is the image you want to indelibly etch into peoples’ minds. It won’t be nearly effective if you are constantly changing it . . . and if it is only relevant now because it is in line with current trends, you will inevitably have to change it.
- Reverse it out. There will be some occasions when your logo must be used in black and white. Therefore, you need to take this into consideration when having a logo designed. If your logo is not effective when it is reversed out, then it’s back to the drawing board.
- Keep it simple, so it is easily recognizable in print and reproduces well in a variety of sizes and different media. This means your logo must look just as good on a giant billboard as it does on a tiny mobile device screen.
- Make sure it’s original. The public must not confuse it with that of another practice, especially a local one.
- Colours have meaning. Some excite you, some calm you. Make sure your logo designer understands this. It is advisable that you use as few colors as possible when choosing a logo design. A good rule of thumb is that the simpler the design, the better it will translate to the myriad mediums it will be used in. Also, remember that your logo needs to look good in black and white, as well as in color.
- Let it possess ready visual comprehension … it should convey an instant impression to the audience. Too many fancy curls can confuse readers.
- Make sure you can live with it for a long, long time. The last thing you want is a confused public when you chop and change your logo.
What You Should Get From Your Logo Designer
It cannot be emphasised enough that when it comes to your logo, skimping on its design is a definite no-no – it must be left to someone who is experienced and competent. But, while it is easy to admire their creative talent, many of them can be sadly lacking in administrative skills. It’s no laughing matter when you’ve forked out a tidy sum of money for a good design, only to find that your designer has not stored copies of it when you need it for other media.
All too often we leave our precious artwork with whomever designed it for us. That’s fine, but always insist that you get copies as well. You’ve paid for it and it’s your property. Besides, what happens if the designer leaves town, or the printer who prepared it goes bankrupt? Also bear in mind that there might be additional charges each time you request your designer or printer to forward your artwork to some other supplier – a sign company, for example. Various suppliers will have individual technical requirements and you could get charged whenever your designer has to provide the artwork in the requested format. It shouldn’t have to happen that way, but unfortunately it does.
The best way to avoid such costs and complications is to ensure that you will be provided your logo artwork when you begin negotiating with a designer or design company or printer. A reputable design company will automatically incorporate that into their design package. If someone baulks at this, move on.
So, what can you expect to receive?
Your artwork will be needed for a variety of purposes: paper printing, screen printing, signs, website use, word processor documents, business cards, letterheads, and more.
Flexibility and adaptability is critical …
All graphic images come in two types: vector and bitmap. It’s essential that you get your artwork in vector, as this can be resized without losing resolution and thereby quality. Bitmap logos are resolution-based and as such cannot be resized without sacrificing image quality. Never accept just a JPG version. When you interview potential designers for your project, make sure they promise to deliver .eps, .jpg, .tiff, and .gif file formats for your logo.
The best vector file type to have is an EPS which which can be imported into a variety of graphic design software. Bitmap versions should be .tiff, .psd and .jpg. If someone gives you a PDF file containing your artwork, make sure it’s not simply a JPG file that’s been placed inside – that doesn’t help at all. The simplest is to ensure your designer provides you with a zipped file of all the image types, then pass that file on to whovever is going to do your signs, adverts etc. They will know which format to use.
Other design aspects which should be made available to you are:
Color. Your designer should also deliver two color formats – CMYK and RGB – as one format is best for printing, while the other is best for web use.
Black and white. There will be instances in which you will have to use a black and white version of your logo (newspaper ads, for example). Therefore, it is important that your logo works just as well when reversed out (in black and white) as it does in color. Your designer should deliver both versions for your inspection.
Favicon. A favicon is a smaller version of your icon that sits on the tab section of a webpage and associates the web page with your business. Although a favicon is not absolutely necessary, it is a great way to add even more credibility to your web presence.
Mobile browser icons. Businesses these days are beginning to rely heavily on mobile apps to stay connected with their customer base. That is because more people access the web through their mobile devices than through their computers. If you want your icon to be clear on those tiny mobile device screens, you should make sure your logo designer creates a version of your logo that is optimized for mobile browsers.
Store it safely …
Finally, protect your artwork by storing it not merely on your hard drive, but on a flash disk or CD as well. Make a least two copies and keep them in separate places in case of fire or theft.