ask the expert | how to choose a logo designer

this is a question i get asked by little biz builders all of the time, so i enlisted the help of Kim Timothy, the Owner & Creative Director of Boutique By Design to provide us with some helpful tips.

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We all understand the importance of having a logo for our business. A professionally designed logo will build professionalism and credibility within your target market. A well-designed logo will also show the class, strength and uniqueness of what your business represents. But how does one get a professional and well-designed logo?

Finding a great logo designer can be a really frustrating experience. While there seems to be an endless amount of designers to choose from, finding a quality designer can be a real challenge, especially if you don’t know what to look out for.

Here are some key aspects to help in your decision:

A Strong Portfolio:

The best way to decide on a designer is to view their portfolio. Most designers display their portfolios within their websites making them easily accessible. An experienced designer will show a portfolio that offers variety, consistency and strength of work. It is also important to understand that many designers specialize, or have preference to, a certain design style. If you do not see the style you desire within the designers portfolio, chances are, they are not the best pick for you.

Testimonials:

Whenever possible, check out a designer’s reviews or testimonials online. Positive testimonials can be a good indicator of past client satisfaction. Please also keep in mind the legitimacy of these comments. A solid review should be backed by a link to the original creator. If testimonials are not easily found, ask the designer directly. Great designers will not hesitate to offer references.

Communication:

Communication is the single most important element in the design process. It is a skill that cannot be overlooked. You can get a good sense of the designer’s character by reviewing their website, Facebook page, Twitter page or blog. Be sure that their communication style is compatible to yours. Email communication is also a good way to judge how a designer communicates. How quickly does the designer respond to your initial inquiry? Do they answer your questions with clear and concise explanations? Have they provided quotes and outlined their design process readily and simply? These are all signs of how well the design process will go. If your initial request goes unnoticed or there is a significant delay in their response, you can bet that the same will be true throughout the entire design process.

Passion:

Exceptional designers love their job. They eat, sleep and breathe design. They are invested in each and every project and client they have the privilege of working for. Passion is what separates mediocre designers from exceptional designers. Period. A passionate designer goes the extra mile, exceeds your expectations, and aspires for perfection in all they do.

Problem Solving & Creative Process:

Designing a logo is not about making a pretty picture. A good designer will take the time to understand your business’ goals, vision, history and will then define these concepts in an effective visual manner. The end result will be a logo that will stand the test of time and bring your brand much success.

For someone outside of the design industry, this is probably the most difficult aspect to define in a designer. While education and experience is often an indicator, the creative process is most often the telltale.

During the creative process a designer should consider you not only a client, but also a partner in the development of your logo. A terrific designer will rely on the information you provide and consider your input the key element in creating the perfect logo. The creative process MUST include a questionnaire that highlights your business’ history, goals, specialties, vision, preferences for visuals and references to styles. If the designer does not understand your business, the logo will fail.

This will also explain why premade logos cannot possibly offer your business the success it deserves. Premade logos are created with zero consideration of your business and its needs.

Timelines:

Good design takes time. While different designers work at different speeds, a solid design does not happen over night. The initial stage is usually the most time consuming with an average turnaround time of 7 days. Revisions to the initial concept will typically take 2 to 3 additional days. That said, other designers offer a 4 to 6 week turnaround, which is equally acceptable. Simply ask up front and be sure their timeline works with yours.

Price:

Good design costs money. The reason being is that good design takes time. As not every business is the same, I do recommend requesting a quote from at least three different designers before making your choice. Please do make sure that all three designers meet all the above criteria as well. You want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. The average cost a small business will pay for a custom logo will be between $500 to $1000. That said, there are a few businesses out there (myself included) who offer their experience at a discounted price to WAHPs and start ups.

What Does the Price Include?

Designers are different in their offering so be sure to confirm what the price includes before you pay. Typically a designer will offer the following:

Overall attention to detail, credibility, strong communication skills, effective problem solving, and passion are all vital and go hand in hand with an exceptional designer. If you have found someone who meets (or exceeds) the criteria listed above, then you can guarantee that you have found the perfect designer for your business needs.

You can find Kim Timothy & Boutique By Design at www.boutiquebydesign.com and www.facebook.com/boutiquebydesign