A typical journey starts with a business owner’s dream to rebrand, refresh or create a new logo for their company. The dream, however, doesn’t always come true without hiccups. Lack of information is usually at the heart of all the misunderstandings and misconceptions. Failure to communicate both expectations (from client’s end) and potential roadblocks (from designer’s end) result in suboptimal outcomes. It isn’t a particular problem of logo design per se — it’s a common problem across all industries and most services.
So what are the misconceptions of logo design services? Here are the most common misconceptions about logo design process and logo designers that inevitably lead to severe issues: missed deadlines, frustrations, complaints and extra costs.
1. A perfect logo misconception
Most business owners and high-tier managers honestly believe that there is a great logo for their company, an ideal logo, a perfect one. “All it takes for us to have it is to search for it and we will surely find it.”
There are several problems to this misconception. First, business leaders spend their productive time searching for that one special company logo. They look at competitors’ logotypes, they use search engines, they browse through graphic designer’s work — they spend a lot of time. Eventually, becoming desperate, they even begin sketching brand marks themselves. That time could’ve been used productively instead, if only managers were to attend to their primary responsibilities.
Second, since business leaders were unable to find “The One”, they assume that a professional logo designer can create the perfect logo for their brand.
Third, executives firmly decide to settle for nothing but an ideal logo. Thus the bar is set so high that it becomes unattainable. Continue reading to learn why.
Perfect company logos don’t exist.What is an antidote to this misconception of a perfect logo? It’s quite simple — don’t expect to have a perfect logo. Perfect company logos don’t exist. The beauty (perfection) is in the eyes of the beholder. What business executives admire most could be trivial to those they serve — their clients.
What’s more — what one business leader might find superb her/his partners might regard as substandard. Perfection, beauty and greatness of a logo are always subjective.
2. More options are better
Executives and business leaders, especially those who are concerned with the company’s bottom line on a daily basis, can’t help but to expect and sometimes even enforce squeezing the maximum out of anything.
It feels natural to us, when we don’t receive what we were hoping for right off the bat, to ask for more as if we haven’t been provided with a full service just yet. We feel as if something had been withheld from us.
Naturally, when a logo designer provides a set of logo sketches and none of them seems close to the anticipated perfection, business leaders ask for more options. Sometimes they get more options within the same price bracket. Sometimes they have to pay more for additional work. On many occasions, however, the request for more options results in disputes.
Regardless of how it plays out, the problem with more options is obvious. First, the attainment of the business goal gets postponed — designer spends more time to create more options which leads to more client’s contemplations and revisions. Second, the more options clients get to review the more overwhelming it feels and the more challenging the final decision gets.
Successful companies know that you should never confuse customers with too many choices. Becoming confused the prospect might end up buying nothing. Having no options at all isn’t ideal either. In our experience the sweet spot for brand logo design is 3 - 5 options.
The solution to this problem is to voluntarily impose and accept limits on the number of options, set a deadline and agree on objective success criteria for the logo design project. A proper agreed-upon framework will serve as a benchmark for all stakeholders.
3. Unrealistic expectations
We have already touched on expectations. But let’s expand on this topic slightly. Concerned with profits small business owners and company leaders tend to focus on costs and pay little heed to investments. The lesser the costs, the higher the net profit margins — a valid (but not the only) way of maximizing company profits. This problem of costs vs investments has been described in detail in this article.
By default business leaders see little value in a company logo. Some view it as an element of prestige but still assign little monetary value to it. “It’s just a logo” they say.
Regardless of the motives (to lower the price of the service or diminish vendor’s importance) logo design services are labelled as costs. Therefore executives are prone to, first, lowering the price point of graphic designer’s engagement and, second, maximizing (squeezing out) the gains: more options, more revisions, more meetings, comments, explanations, arguments, etc.
If we purchase a coffee machine, we want it to work forever. If we’re hiring employees we expect them to give their 120%. The fact that products and services differ in price and thus usually differ in quality, potential output and benefits are rarely taken into consideration. “We have paid for X and we expect nothing short of the very best.” That is the common way of reasoning.
This is true to clients who paid $1,000 for a logo and those who paid $10,000 for logo design services. Despite the difference, the problem yet remains — unrealistic expectations. Clients, regardless of how low the price is, expect nothing but perfection.
And so a client who is paying $1,000 for logo refresh expects the logo to be on par with Apple, Instagram and Nike. The argument is the same of course — “How hard is it to draw that sort of a logo?” The answer — it isn’t technically hard; it could take an hour for a professional logo designer to draw the kind of logo world’s most famous brands have. But . . .
A 100,000 USD logo is different from a 1,000 USD logo in 99,000 ways.Consider that the world’s best logo design agencies charge 200,000 USD (and up) for company and brand logo design services. You’d better believe it’s true because it is. How does it make any sense when all they produce is a drawing that could be recreated in a matter of hours?
Famous brands pay gladly for these services, however. And there’s a very good reason they do so. A 100,000 USD logo is different from a 1,000 USD logo in 99,000 ways.
Perhaps famous logo design agencies (Pentagram, Landor, Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv) could lower their fees. But consider their costs. A job to redesign a logo for an established brand would require a team of (at least) five people: senior designers, researchers and a project manager. Senior partners will oversee the project occasionally as well. We are talking about $80k in salaries alone — something to consider when pondering “why does it cost so much”.
The real challenge and pricing lies not with technical prowess of the designer. The costs of logo design services are based on two main components: research and marketing budget. Read this article to find out how company logo pricing works.
In order to have a better outcome our suggestion is to adjust your expectations with the logo design project. The lower your budget, the less time your logo designer(-s) can devote to your company’s logo. And vice versa — if you allow your logo designers to explore more within the limits of a larger budget, you can expect to get a better logo for your brand.
4. The result we all will love
This is another common misconception. Business leaders talk themselves into believing that they are commissioning logo designers to create a masterpiece that everyone, themselves including, will inevitably adore. Leaders expect to be praised for having an exquisite taste and a keen eye for picking a talented artist and orchestrating their creative work.
Oftentimes the logo designer is assigned a secondary role to the grandeur of the vision. When asked to describe what that vision of a logo looks like 99 out of 100 leaders fail to express their own vision. Comments are usually obscure and vague. They all share one common comment, however: “We’ll know it when we see it.”
Junior designers, eager to please their first clients, are (unfortunately) complicit in this unhealthy client-vendor relationship. The precedents are plenty when designers work their buttocks off trying to satisfy the client. Essentially they fall into an indefinite voluntary servitude. Should I mention that they don’t get paid for additional options and revisions?
While we want to see our clients happy with the result, at awezzom we’re not in favour of this approach. It breeds bitterness and resentment. A salty designer will produce a dreadful logo. None of the clients we’d worked with ever wanted a dreadful company logo. We asked.
Not a single customer will ever say they bought your product or service because they just couldn’t resist the magnificence of your brand’s logo.The solution is simple — don’t try to awe your customers with your logo. They couldn’t care less. The result of (potentially) having an outstanding logo will be exactly plus zero new clients. Not a single prospect will queue in front of your doors because your logo looks amazing. Not one of your customers will ever say they bought your product or service because they just couldn’t resist the magnificence of your brand’s logo.
Have a conversation with your graphic designer on what you want from the logo design project and what will be the criteria of job successfully done. Then follow through without interference from personal preferences and but-my-spouse-has-saids.
5. Logo is a foundation
This misconception stems from inexperience. In case of rebranding, business leaders believe the process to be sequential: logo first, then colors, then typography, then marketing collateral, then website, then ads, etc. While in some case some elements should be created prior to other elements, many processes can be launched in parallel.
For instance, there’s nothing that can prevent web developers from building the back-end (and in most cases the front-end) without a logo. Front-end should have mock-ups based on colors, typography and patterns. But the back-end work doesn’t depend on any of that.
An army will rally around the leadership not the banner.Imagine an army general who has military objectives: assemble forces, gain high ground and recapture enemy territory. But the general says (s)he can’t move an inch because the newly designed flag hasn’t been approved yet. Nonsense, isn’t it? An army will rally around the leadership not the banner. Brand mark is worthless if there are no followers to assemble.
Discuss how best to approach the project with your graphic designer or agency. Identify your business objectives, your budget, timeframe and metrics of success. Assign one person from your company to oversee the project from your end. Don’t breed committees and stick to the plan.
6. Individual parts are cheaper
Rarely any logo (re-)design project is confined by a logotype and a brand mark. Typically this kind of project leads to or is part of (re-)branding. There are multiple constituent elements of the project: logo, colors, typography, patterns, marketing collateral, website, social media profiles, ads, etc.
There is a firm belief among business leaders that buying individual parts, and by analogy breaking the overall project into smaller billable chunks, will produce economical benefits to the company.
While it might be true in some cases, it is definitely not the case with rebranding. If you are planning to rebrand your company and receive an offer from vendors for the whole project, breaking it down into smaller pieces and (heaven forbid) haggling over prices of individual components won’t create the effect you might have expected.
Perhaps other design agencies work differently, but when we at awezzom take on the rebranding project, we work in parallel. This approach allows us to get the work done faster and saturate individual components with efforts from other elements.
For example, when we design a colourful logo we design patterns, typography and brand colors in parallel. What nuggets we may find in exploring patterns we can attach to the logo. What we may find in typography, we can introduce in shapes and patterns. What complimentary colour we may discover in brand colors we can add to the brand mark.
Hiring separate vendors for separate jobs will never create this congruent synergy. Working sequentially limits the potential for synergy as well.
Working with business leaders we often suggest establishing how sensitive they are to time/price aspect of the process. Some companies claim they value their time while, in reality, the time gets wasted on shallow meetings and trivial matters. If you ever find yourself in a position where the most valuable aspect of branding services is the lowest price possible, our advise would be to DIY the project in-house.
To recap, here are the six most common logo design misconceptions.
6 common misconceptions of logo design process:
- There is a perfect logo somewhere out there.
- More logo design options are better.
- Unrealistic expectations in scope of work and its results.
- Desire to get a logo everyone will love.
- Perceive logo as a foundation.
- Firm belief that breaking the project into chunks is better and cheaper.
If your company requires an effective logo for your brand consider hiring awezzom Digital marketing and Brand design firm from NYC.
Read the next article if you want to learn more about how logo pricing works. You will learn how professional logo designers calculate costs and estimate prices for company and brand logo design projects.
If you want to dig deeper, consider reading the following article. When you want to create a great logo for your brand, make sure to avoid most common mistakes when hiring logo designers.