During my graphic design year, we came to know how to create a logo by studying the client brief that talks about brief of the project, target group, colors, typography and so on. We were under the impression that every client would give you such brief in the corporate world. The fact is that you won’t likely get such brief from client directly because they are new to such format and process, and that’s how this post comes in.
If you are just started your freelance career as logo design then you must have faced this scenario during your first client visit. But not anymore, the following guidelines would cover almost everything that you wouldexpect from a client as brief before making a logo design.
Photo credit goes to coffeepartyusa
Just take an appointment with the client and meet him/her at the coffee shop for an instance. Get your laptop/pen & papers along with you so that you can put down your notes during the session. So here are the questions with descriptions.
Have you got a logo design done before?
This will help you to understand whether this client has gone through such project flows in the past such as design review, concept, mockup, design sketch, ideation, feedback, logo design agreement to budget etc.
Have you worked with any freelance designer in the past? if yes, what was his/her design process?
I know, this is nothing to do with your project, but there are so many competitors out there in your field and you need to be sure of what others are following as design process, time duration, price factor. This is just for your knowledge that will help you to handle the project in a good way.
Is it a symbol or logo design?
Get some samples with you while discussing with the client, explain to him what are symbols, logos, icons and so on along with their usage. You will come to know after this session that the client wants a Logo rather than a ‘symbol’ said by him earlier.
How much time do you have?
You will get a common answer from most of the client that ‘as soon as possible’ because they want a nice logo with a smaller budget. But we, as a graphic designer understand the great quality comes with quality time. So we need to ask him and make him understand that it would take time not less than 2-3 weeks. You also have to be fair and honest with him at this time. You can also tell him that the charges would be double if he wants his logo to be designed within a week since all your ongoing projects going to be on hold.
What is your business?
This is really important for you to understand the company, the kind of work they do, their clients, quality of products. If you get a chance, ask him to see some of his company products with/without product packaging. It would help you to understand the value of the logo.
Is it a new business, joint venture or existing?
If it is a new business then you have all the rights to suggest him from A-Z approaches starting from logo design, stationary, presentation folders, business card, paper quality, website to mobile application.
What is your work culture?
These would help you to come up with a corporate, creative or playful style that matches with the company profile.
Do you have any Competitor/s?
Find out who are the competitors which would help you to make the logo unique from the rest.
What is so different about your company?
As I said before, you have to speak with the client to understand the major key features of this company as compare to its competitors. i.e. value, position, price tag, strength and so on.
What is your Target group?
Your client is not the target group than the end customers who are your target group. Just speak with client about their age group, what they like or dislike, what do they trust, what do they really care about (i.e. money or value of the product) and so on.
What is the message that you would like to convey to your customers?
This is in line with the above question wherein we need to ask client whether he needs a supporting tagline/slogan/punch line along with the logo if the name of the logo does not say much.
Why ‘this name’? (if client has decided some names before)
As you know in many cases, client has some sort of names for his company which is very common because for him it’s his first baby. He is not a graphic designer that does not mean that he can’t come up with proper name for the logo, after all he is into business. However, in this case you can ask him politely the logic or story behind the name if the client does not want to change it.
Can we come up with a better name?
You can always request client if you can come up with a better name that supports his new business by keeping his target group in mind. Also put that in your project contract or proposal saying this should also be part of the logo design project.
Are you going to change this logo in the near future?
This is not part of this project, but you have to include this question as part of it. Because this would make you think out of the box and come up with something that is time less and classic that stays with the company for more than 10 years.
Which are the best logos according to you and why are they so special?
You can ask client if he has some logos in mind as reference which will help you to think in the same line.
Which form do you like the most? i.e. circle, square, star, free flow line etc?
To find out his set of mind, ask these questions or show him in a paper to select. The form of the logo would be generating from these.
The color you do not want to use in your project?
This is a personal choice that varies from client to client. What if you create & present a one color logo but the client does not like it because of the green color. By asking this question, you end of saving a lot of time.
The color you like the most?
This is again a personal choice in which you can ask if he has some color scheme in mind. i.e. corporate blue, olive, british green, peach etc.
Any image that you associate with the logo?
Ask client if he has some sort of image that relates with the logo. (i.e. pouring water, 24 hours clock, life comes out from barren land, utopia, galaxy etc)
Which style do you prefer from the list below?
Show him some sample text to find out whether he likes Normal, Bold or Italic styles. These should be part of your iteration phase but it would save a lot of time during your concept stage.
Where will you use this logo? print, web, mobile or exhibition
You know that my logo is going to be in vector based, which can be scaled up or down at the later stage. But the problem is…what if your approved logo wont be legible enough when client wants to put this on a smartphone screen size of 240x320px ? This is important to ask at this stage and test the logo on different sizes during the concept stage side by side just to check whether they are legible or not.
What is your availability?
This is important enough to ask him because most of the clients are busy and they keep on traveling for work or meetings. To retain our professionalism we should always send (email/text message) him a request for a discussion, design presentation and so on rather than calling him directly.
Do you prefer phone calls or emails?
Like I said before, just ask him the best way & time to get in touch with. Some clients are only comfortable by calling up directly and they don’t even check their emails or text messages, may be they are not so tech savvy. Other clients would ask you to follow up by priorities such as email would be the first, then text message and then phone calls accordingly.
Should we send the MOM (minutes of the meeting) to your email id only?
By asking this, you will come to know how many stack holders are involved in this project. Also sending a MOM would be the best way to keep a track of ‘what has been discussed’ and ‘things to do’ and so on.
Who will be the final approval authority?
As a part of the contract, you need to put down client name for the approval authority because any 3rd party involvement might kill your design process. (i.e. what if your client knows about all the design sketches, design concepts. Now, the client has gone out for some reason and someone else says ‘this is fine but we need to see some more design options, can you do it?‘. Now, you have no idea whether this came from the client directly.) That’s why you need to ask this and put down in your project proposal to be at the safer side.
Who will be the second authority during your absence?
This is not always required, but just to be at the safer side ask him this question so that you can take quick decision/approvals during his absence. Remember one thing, if you are adding this 2nd authority into your proposal then make sure this person knows the project phases from A-Z. (Always include this 2nd authority person in your email while sending design query, questionnaires, concepts, design options to client for his reference.)
Budget of the project?
This is the final question and you should never feel shy about it. You are giving design service to client and getting paid by return. So just ask him about his budget but never commit anything in your first meeting. Simply tell him that you need to study all the questions and then revert back to him with the budget for the project.
Well, there is no fixed price for a logo just like buying a packet of coffee from a local store. Now checkout the price tags for the coffee of different brands in a supermarket, all are different aren’t they? Similarly, the budget for a logo design varies depends on client, duration of the project, your work experience, your brand value, complexity of the project.
You also need to find out what is your hourly rate by using the calculator.
If you are new to logo design project then your priority should be ‘showcase of your work’ than money.
This post is not about how to make good money from client by creating a logo design rather than learning curves. To make this into a nice conversation, let’s have your views and experiences into the comment section below.
Here are some useful links:
- Logo design questions
- Streamline logo design process
- How to plan your logo design
- Logo design questionnaire Template (PDF)