Subscribe to the Blog with or | Post Updated: October 29th, 2015 | First Published: August 11, 2010
Posted by: Graham Smith in Categories: Brand Identity, Graphic Design, Opinion
How to hire a freelance logo designer? Read this.
There has been much discussion on the wire about the prolific nature of cheap and quick logo design companies vs freelance logo designers. As a rule, they are as far apart as one could be to an independent and experienced freelance logo designer.
Yet they always appear top of Google searches when using common sense search terms like 'logo design', 'logo designer', 'hire a freelance logo designer' and 'professional logo design' to name but a few. The methods they use to achieve such prominent placing are 'dubious' to say the least.
Hiring a Freelance Graphic Designer: It's a daunting process
And this is where this post comes in. It's a daunting process trying to locate a suitable logo designer for your needs, made even harder when you have to negotiate and filter out logo design 'battery farms'. You may be looking for a certain type of designer or looking for a company local to you.
Yet whatever you search for in Google, you are faced with the many number of search results focusing on the latest marketing buzz hook : 'free logo designs', 'create your own logo for free online', '300% Guarantee', 'professional logo design for £19.99 in under 24 hours', 'bronze package', 'silver package', 'carbon fiber with titanium and moon rock dust package' and the list goes on and on.
Don't get sucked in.
I should add that not all the 'package deal' options are to be avoided, far from it. But this is the problem really, some of these undesirables try hard to look respectable and often succeed, and this is the worst part of being a freelancer trying to promote and market ourselves, getting found is the hardest challenge. The genuine, the sincere, the passionate logo designer will not have the funds or audacity to try and run with Google and these faker logo companies.
Seek and thee shall be rewarded.
The Google first page gold rush
All these search results seem to take up the first page, you may be lucky and find a respectable logo design company dotted in and around these 'fakers', but it helps to know what you are looking for. Unless you are familiar with graphic design and have inside track on the logo design industry, you may find yourself out manned and out gunned.
You may end up exhausted and frustrated in your search, giving up and opting to go with a design company that you hope will deliver. The promise of that 'Titanium Package with unlimited tweaks, designed in 24 hours and only costing you a fantastically cheap rate of £49.99' seems to good to be true. It really is not worth it.
Bear in mind many of these so called logo design companies, offering stupidly low prices are not even based in Europe. They give the impression they are Europe or American based, this is deception plain and simple. They get first page Google rankings by using black-hat SEO practices, they game the system. Operated by criminals who run sweat shops to get your job done, these people are criminals and don't care about design or your identity.
It's just about taking your money.
Where to begin?
First of all, it helps if you have a basic understanding of how important a logo or brand identity is to your company or business. Even if you are consultant or individual, a solid and appropriate logo design is crucial. Choose badly and you could end up with a logo design that actually harms your chances of making your own business a success. And this is the crucial point.
Then it's about to whom you give your money. Will it be a a faceless and non design loving web company, or will it be a talented and approachable freelance logo designer that get's your logo design contract?
Logos are like personalities
Treat logos like they are alive, they have a soul, and yes, they have an identity. It's no coincidence that you hear that a logo design can be called a brand identity. It is indeed the identity of the company being designed here.
For it to be designed effectively requires a talented logo and brand identity designer, one whom has the ability to listen to the needs of their client as well as placing themselves in the shoes of the customers of the client. If you see what I mean. :)
You need a designer who takes pride in their work. Not an overnight fake sensation.
Your logo needs to have a personality that reflects the message you want to convey. Logo designs are often the first visual clue a potential client or customer will see of your or your company. First impressions at this stage are paramount.
Not wanting to patronize you, would it be safe for me to say that you are looking for a logo design because you have a company or business you are relying on to earn yourself some money, to pay the bills and maintain the car and feed the family? Does it not then make sense that you at least give this important venture the best possible start in life? What does it say about you and your priorities if you can't be bothered at this crucial stage to address how potential clients and customers view you?
You get upset if you hear people say bad things about how you dress, how you do your hair, your choice of music, anything in fact that is based and formed from your unique personality. We don't like to be criticized. It's the same with the identity of your business, treat it as a person with feelings and a personality.
Dress it up right, give it respect and it will work hard for you. Buy it cheap ugly clothes that clash and wear out quickly and it will wither and die.
It pays to invest in a professional and talented logo designer when these first impressions are so important. A designer or company that knows intuitively how important a unique and ownable logo design is to the success of the company being formed.
I will also add here that not all talented logo designers have shed loads of experience, many have a natural talent and ability to listen, to absorb and visualise the needs of their clients.
So don't dismiss the younger generation of logo designers, they certainly have ambition, they have enthusiasm and a relentless thirst to please.
Logo design should not be rushed
If you are looking for a logo to be completed within a few days, then the overall development of usually can suffer. Equally, if you are keen to spend as little as possible on a logo but expect grand things, then generally this is a situation that will cause some difficulty.
The very old saying is more than applicable here “you get what you pay for”.
Most major brand agencies will take months and months to formulate an effective brand identity, often 6 months and more. This is not unusual.
Where am I going with this? Simple. A solid logo design can't be rushed, and because it can't be rushed, it therefore makes sense that it can't cost next to nothing. Logo and identity requires research in one form or another, the level of research dependent on the company.
Anything that takes a professional of any discipline time to complete will cost money.
Avoid Sub £100 logo designs
So with the timing aspect put into context, it then follows that we need to chat money.
The 'free online logo design companies', the sub £100 logo designs 'battery farms' previously mentioned are far from being suitable for a truly unique and professional brand identity. It's a simple fact, anything done super quick is best left alone if you are serious about the success of your own business.
If you are not serious about the success of this new business venture then go ahead and go cheap. But don't expect something for nothing.
It’s false economy and harmful to your business identity to use the cheapest (sub £100) and quickest (under 24hr) logo companies. It’s also not responsible for any logo designer/company to boast they can design you a logo in 24 hours for under £100 (in general). This level of design is usually referred to as clip art, and you will likely be able to do a better job yourself by looking on stock image sites. So OK, I jest a little, but not too much.
LogoDesignLove has a number of articles on the value of logo design How much does logo design cost. Jacob Cass wrote a awesome article Why logo design does not cost 5 dollars.
The less the overall budget, the less time the designer can research and come up with a truly unique and meaningful logo for you.
Treat the logo, this fantastically crazy thing called your brand identity as an investment, not an expense. Spending money on a logo should not rank up alongside the gut wrenching despair that paying to service your car, paying for repairs to your loft beams due to wood rot does.
A logo design is an investment in your own success.
Some general advice then
The best advice I can give, without sounding too 'use me, use me' is to not rush any part of this process. If you are genuinely short of time then the first option below could be the life saver you need.
Recommendations are valuable, if you know of someone who had a logo designed then ask them for a name.
Don't give up looking on Google once you reach the end of Page 1. I can assure you that if you spend time looking through pages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and onwards, you will see some delightful logo designers. Each with their own unique style and approach.
Just because a logo designer does not appear on page 1 of your favourite search engine certainly does not mean they should be ignored. This could not be further from the truth, and in fact is quite the opposite.
Poor Google rankings and placement is by no means a reflection on the integrity, skill and reputation of a logo designer.
I know many talented designers that probably don't come even in the top 20 search results. So always bear this in mind.
Nowadays you need a 'advanced quantum theory doctorate thing' to even come close to mastering the beast that is Google. Sadly, Google is still victimised and targeted by gangs who have the means to grab all the best rankings. Being a talented logo designer is not enough to guarantee you high search engine rankings, sadly it does not work that way. This means one must dig deep to find those rare and scarce commodities, once you find one, hang on to them.
Try different search terms and phrases, rather than the overly common 'logo designer'. Sadly, 'professional' is abused by these 'logo battery farms' and dilutes the results you should get.
Unfortunately, you simply can't rely or trust Google giving you accurate and honest results on some of the more predictable search terms.
A GOOD FIT
And this is the thing, try to find a logo designer that is a good fit for you, not just visually but also from a personality point of view. The more you can 'gel' with a designer, the better the whole process and the more likely you will have a logo designer prepared to bend over backwards for you.
That level of commitment in a designer just can't be bought. It is a partnership.
A designer who is prepared to talk on the phone, who is relatively transparent in the area of communication and contact is a positive sign, but not all designers can or will spend hours on the phone with their client. This is down to you, go for a designer that feels right for you. You may be OK with not needing to talk on the phone to discuss progress, or you may be someone that needs that level of feedback and interaction.
Don't be afraid to ask questions from a designer, after all, you are paying the money, makes sense that you choose someone you are happy with.
Check the designers portfolio, this is important. They may have a natural style that fits in with the personality of your business. If so, then this is great. But don't instantly dismiss a designer based on their portfolio either. It comes down to you to communicate the type of design, the type of business you are in.
The designer should then be able to say if they can visualize this certain style for you. It's not in their best interest to take on a project where they feel they will struggle. Honesty is important.
Shockingly, this barely scrapes the surface of the intricate in's and out's of trying to find a logo and identity designer. It can be simple, you could find someone on your first search. If not, then don't despair, there are plenty of us logo types out there.
Many logo designers are keen social media junkies, actively contributing to the design community, writing and posting on their own blogs, chatting with other like minded designers on Twitter and Facebook.
We are everywhere, if you know where to look.
If there is one thing I would like you to walk away with after reading this, other than a headache, is just an overall appreciation of the level of commitment you need in obtaining success in your own endeavours. If you have this then, then it should not be a chore to hunt out a respectable logo designer.
And remember. Poor Google rankings and placement is by no means a reflection on the integrity, skill and reputation of a logo designer. Do not judge their suitability purely on where they are ranked.
If you like the work I've done in my Portfolio, and also the Monomarks immediately above, and are looking to hire yourself a highly talented, and very experienced (25 Years), Logo and Brand Identity Designer, then look no further.
There's also some useful pages that might help you familiarise yourself with me as a person, how I work, and the sort of service you can expect if you hire me:
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