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Freelance Graphic Designers: How do you Find New Work and Clients?

Thought I'd poll all you freelance graphic designers, logo and web designers out there, and see how you all collectively find yourself new clients, or how clients find you.

I've opened up Comments below, so please take a moment to share your various strategies.

Hopefully you'll like to share any methods that you employ in your quest to make yourself findable to potential clients, such as:

Google Search, Blogging, Social Media, External Portfolios, Paid Freelance Directories & Showcases, Paid Ad platforms like AdWords and Facebook Ad's, Local Press Advertising and Marketing.

How do you help potential clients find your design studio, how do you help yourself be found amongst the ever increasing number of freelance designers and design studios?

My Basic Strategy

I for one mostly have bene able to rely on Google, through many years of blogging. It seems the majority of my client clients still find me via Google Search.

Some clients find me on Portfolio platforms like:Behance, Coroflot, and Dribbble (paid-up Pro member), whilst a small percentage find me on LinkedIn, directly on Twitter and Facebook.

Some new leads come from word-of-mouth, recommendations and the occasional repeat client.

I do dabble with the occasional Paid FaceBook Ad campaign, but that's mostly to just help overall awareness; Sowing the seeds so-to-speak.

There's no doubt that over the last few years, it's become dramatically harder to find new clients just due to the sheer scope of competition.

There are many any new freelance logo and graphic designers arriving to compere for work each day, not to mention the heavy competition from crowdsourcing sites like 99Designs and Crowdspring.

If you're of a generous and helpful disposition, then it'd be great to hear how you look for, and get new clients.

 





In this post I'll provide some basic, but useful, advice for clients who are looking to find and hire a logo designer on Google, and the Website in General

If there is one thing I know for certain? It's that it must be a complete nightmare to hire a logo designer that 'ticks all the boxes', not because there are so few of us logo designers around: it's actually the complete opposite.

There are gazillions of potential logo designer candidates worldwide: all of varying skill levels, some with years of experience and some none at all; some experienced without any academic qualifications, and some with; some with a unique 'signature' design style, and others who are very adaptable; some that are cheap, mid-priced, and others that pitch higher than usual.

I really don't know what 'the' usual price level is for logo designers given the sheer scope of factors that can and do determine how much a logo designer can, should, does, or doesn't charge

Some are local for a given search, and some will be geographically challenged; some talented logo designers simply don't advertise, or make it easy to be found, whilst some logo designers have the marketing, advertising, social networking savvy that makes it easier for them to be found; some are well-known, and some are not; and so on.

Just to be clear: I am mostly talking about the self-employed/freelance logo designer, not so much the hobbyist, or indeed the larger design studio/agency. 

However, it's certainly a travesty that certain logo design shops tend to dominate Google's (and other search engines) top rankings, as well as completely gobbling up the sponsored ad spots, which must cost them a complete fortune to run day-after-day-after-day (I can barely afford the minimum for one day).

Typical search terms, like: "logo designer", "logo design", "freelance logo designer", "professional logo designer", "I need a logo designer", and so on, are invariably 'taken' for Google 1st page results.

It's Better Than it Was

For sure, things are much better on Google than they were, even just 2 or so years ago. Google has done an incredible job really, when you think about it, of clearing up the no-good-for-nothing-black-hat-gangsters looking to prey on the weak and naive.

I clearly remember thinking how on earth is someone like me will ever be found on Google: the proverbial needle in the haystack, likely at the bottom, in the middle and buried under 5ft of earth.

It's a Daunting Process To Hire a Logo Designer

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', 'logo designers for $5', 'create your own logo for free online', '300% Guarantee', 'professional logo design for £19.99 in under 24 hours', 'bronze package', 'silver package', 'carbon fibre with titanium and moon rock dust package'.

I need to emphasise that not all the 'package deal' options are to be avoided, far from it. But this is part of the problem, some of these package-dealers try hard to look respectable, genuine and honest, and often succeed in doing so.

Being discovered is seemingly the hardest challenge for the: solo, self-employed, small studio logo designer. The genuine, the sincere, the passionate logo designer will likely not have the funds, resources and audacity, needed to prise themselves to top of the 1st page of search results.

Look Past the 1st Page

All these search results seem to take up the first page, you may be lucky and find a respectable and very reputable logo design studio/agency dotted the 1st page of results, but it helps to know what you are looking for, and what specifically one should avoid.

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, and very quickly out-financed.

You may end up exhausted and frustrated in your search, giving up and opting to go with a logo designer that you just 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.

If you're needs are small, and you simply don't care much for quality, then you'll be serviced just fine, but if you feel the logo and identity is important to you, then it's unlikely the cheap options, but the ones that you'll be served up on the 1st page, will indeed deliver.

Picking up the Pieces

In recent years, I have found myself, more and more, picking up the pieces for a number of clients who thought they'd try their luck with the cheaper logo design option, or crowd sourcing site, such as 99Designs.

Invariably, after being served up their 3-5 logo ideas, they realise how utterly disappointing the experience has been. Then it's usually a case of having to pay yet more money to now find a more competent, and personable, logo designer.

It's quite gutting for me to see the sort of work they were presented, you can just hear the utter disappointment in the their voices. The realisation of how far behind schedule they are, and now having to pay all over again.

Some General Advice to Hire a Logo Designer

The best advice I can give, without sounding too 'use me, use me' is to not rush any part of this process of finding a logo designer to work with. If you are genuinely short of time, then the first option below could be the life saver you need.

RECOMMENDATIONS
Recommendations are valuable, if you know of someone who had a logo designed, then ask them for a name. Twitter is perfect for this sort of method, as word-of-mouth quickly spreads, and you could have a interesting mix of contacts to check out.

GOOGLE
Ultimately, and this really is the moral and purpose of this post: Don't give up looking on Google once you reach the end of Page 1. I can assure you: if you spend time looking through pages: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and onwards, you'll come across some truly talented logo designers.

Just because a logo designer does not appear on page 1 of your favourite search engine, it certainly does not mean they should be ignored. If anything, it's this reason that they ought to be given more of your time.

"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 first 5 pages of search results.

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.

COMMUNICATION
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.

To Conclude

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.

You'll find some super talented logo designers on Flickr, just browser through some of the popular Groups, even basic search queries will provide some good results to check out. Dribbble is another major creative platform that should certainly result in finding a suitable designer to work with.

There are heaps of external portfolio sites, such as Behance, Iconify etc, that specialise in showcasing logo and brand identity projects, and these provide a proverbial gold-mine of talented designers to pick from.

Don't rush your search to hire a logo designer, but do try to be a little more selective on where you conduct the search.

If it's Google, then you'll be rewarded if you generally scoot pass the 1st page of results.

Don't ignore the 1st page, as it depends completely on your search term, but do allow yourself time to give the next few pages of results some of your time.

We are everywhere, if you know where to look.




Shocker-Logo-Designer-didn't-got-to-College

That logo designer referenced in the post title is me. Yup. I didn't go to any art or design based further education, and I get royally narked off when I hear creative toff's toot their own ivory horn about how, "one can't be a successful (define successful for a start) designer if one didn't get the appropriate qualifications to show how awesomely creative one is."

Update: Minutes after posting, a few people were exhibiting signs of emotional distress over my apparent blanket dissing of everyone who did experience further creative education. I've not edited the post in guilty response, just appending this little update. I think it's clear that yes, I have a personal problem with only those creatives that say, "if you didn't do further education, you can't make it in the big world.", and this post gives me a personal outlet to address that, for which I am quite entitled.

However, my main motive for the post is to simply explain, by example, that one can forge a creative career without the benefits of further creative education. I see and hear too many tales of talented individuals believing their route to a creative career is all but impossible, because of their lack of further education. My personal anger is directed towards, and at, only those that openly say one can't achieve a creative career, it's not a blanket dismissal of every creative who did achieve academic qualifications. Just wanted to be crystal clear on that…

It's almost like suggesting that mine/our ('our' is in anyone else who is working in design, earning a living and didn't pursue further academic creative education) collective contribution to the graphic design industry is one massive negative waste of time, and is actually harmful to the precious design industry, and makes one feel uneasy in some head-up-your-own ass kind of way.

However, whilst I didn't do creative cool school, I did do a 1 year apprenticeship at Guildford (that only lasted 4 months until the course was abandoned due to the other apprentices dropping out until it was just me) whilst working full-time, since the age of 17, at a commercial printers down here on the South Coast.

All my experience was hands-on, taught and handed-down by the most talented photo typesetters, typographers, paste-up artists, film-planners (those doing 4 colour film planning were beyond revered), platemakers, and all with not one toffing certificate to show for it.

Each one of my full-time jobs within the print and reprographics, design, advertising agencies, from the age of 17-35, was a small, and painfully, slow step-up the career ladder.

I was privileged, and at the same time, ungracefully burdened, with being in the print and designer industry during the 'age and rapid transition of the photo typesetting, producing bromides to be glued on card grids', as the relentless pace of technology such as DTP and the Apple Macintosh LE's and Classic's etc, forced many a craftsmen to lose their jobs, or face a hard road of re-education. I was made redundant at the age of 21, 3 or so years into my 'apprenticeship', because the company was slow to adopt the DTP side of commercial print. That in itself was one of my most significant life lessons…

Natural Creative Talent

I see, on a daily basis, such amazing creative talent coming from teenagers still kicking out their final High School years. What they lack in, oftentimes in technical ability and other useful skills that only come from living life for a few more years, is often gracefully glided over in preference of such amazing natural creativeness.

School wasn't good for me really, not an academic, and only got a GCSE Grade 'C'  in Art, for the shame of it. But that's sort of my point, in that natural talent, when forced down a restrictive pipe that aggressively narrows down to such a stressful situation as taking exams, is oftentimes not so beneficial for many types of personality. If you have natural creative talent, then the technical aspects can be self-taught over time, by various methods and not without the personal desire and ambition to do so.

I seriously feel like laughing, or being sick, when I see some supposed creative academic with all the arty diplomas one can receive, dishing out such shoddy logo and brand identity work, both aesthetically, and also technically. I have seen better creative and typographic talent on Dribbble, Behance, Flickr, Pinterest, (from creatives that I know are young—trying hard not to sound patronising—relatively speaking) than on many logo and brand identity city agency portfolios.

I'm SO not saying, or implying, or stating, that further creative education is a waste of time, not at all. However, it certainly isn't the only road that can be taken to pursue a career in graphic design, and lets remember please: many families simply cannot afford to send their 'naturally creative kid' to pursue further creative education!

For those arty know-it-all's that preach this poppycock, you are basically saying that those on low incomes, or those that have other family challenges, that makes it practically impossible to extend a kid's education, you are needlessly, and selfishly crushing desires, dreams and ambition. Or are you too torn up over spending so many years drinking and getting in debt? (classic student cliché and stereotype I know, sorry.)

The Moral of this Fluff?

If you didn't get to extend your education past High School, or even A-levels, it's not a foregone conclusion that you'll never make it as a creative of some kind, be it as an employee, or working for yourself.

Please please, just don't listen to those idiots who preach that you can't be a commercial designer UNLESS you did the arty student boot-camp thing.

All my experience was gained on-the-job, and at home doing freelance design work on the side. Don't be fooled: my apprenticeship was basically non-existent, it only existed in the form of such awfully low wages, BUT, the experience was completely invaluable. I took on a number of full-time jobs in my 20's with such appalling salaries, that one can't help but feel so bloody disheartened, but one also has to see that life often works in logical, detailed and seemingly painfully slow ways.

If you have natural creative talent, or have even yet to fully tap into it, or hell, even realise it yet, go with it if you possibly can. For damn sure, don't be put-off by certain individuals, web-o-zine posts, magazine articles, who say you might as well not bother if you did't get past A-levels.

It really is such degrading poppy-cock.

The one thing I know I can say, hand-on-sincere-heart, is that my technical skills were taught, and handed down, by such master craftsman, that I actually feel so very privileged, and that I'm, and with hindsight, not in any way regretful that I didn't extend my creative academic education.

If you want a career in design, no matter the particular niche/specialist area, it can be done off your own back, if you have the heart, passion and commitment.




Designer Expenses: What Do You Claim For?

Been very busy with client work of late, and so I decided to cut back on elements of blogging and twitteresque activities in order to better focus on the job at hand.

With that has come a nice sense of freedom and clarity, as well as leaving more time to deal with the annual accounts of a self-employed logo designer. I have nearly managed to get my accounts done in time for Christmas, which compared to last year is a massive improvement. Last year my poor accountant got my accounts around the 27th January!

This time round I have focused a lot more on 'expenses' and being quite rigorous with what I can claim as an 'expense'.

So, I'm somewhat curious, as a self-employed/freelance designer: what sort of things do YOU claim legitimate expenses for? Feel free to leave comments below as a helpful list for others.

Some things I have added to my 'expenses':
• Paypal Fee's
• International SWIFT/CHAP's process fee's
• Portion of household and premise utility bills (work from home)
• Studio refurbishment (3rd bedroom): decorating materials etc.
• Certain car expenses: mileage, parking, partial cost of buying car etc.
• Client work and consultation.
• Accountancy book keeping fee's. NOT preparation of tax returns!
• Advertising & Marketing: imjustcreative branded printing and stationery costs etc.
• Books & research: Self tuition/learning/training costs
• Computer Equipment & accessories
• Mobile phone bills
• BT Broadband bills
• Stationery & Postage
• Occasional client related expenses: meals, travel etc.
• Directory submission costs: logo galleries etc.
• Hosting & domains: 123-Reg, York Networks
• Web app subscriptions: Freshbooks, Vaultpress, Cage, Flickr, Evernote etc
• Application, software & typeface purchases for: Macintosh, iPhone and Android




imjustcreative-logo design


Here we go with Part 17 of the Logo Design Round-Up, and you can catch-up with Part 16 Logo Design Round-Up. As with Part 16 I am really chuffed to see so many designers submitting their own brand logo designs for this logo design round-up series. Read how I butchered Helvetica to create my own logo design.

Please note that all submissions are included as this series isn't a best-of, or some elitist logo display. In this post the logos are displayed in alphabetical order.

If you have your own brand logo for your creative business then you are welcome to be part of this logo design series.

Take Part

If you would like to join the fun and have your own brand logo showcased with a written description then flick through this post: Submit Your Logo For Logo Design Round-Up Series

All there is to do now is present ten of your logo designs with some juicy descriptions to boot. Enjoy.

Pinterest

I have taken the liberty of pinning all the logos to Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/imjustcreative/logo-design-round-up as well as adding a Pin button to each and every logo design featured.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Logo Design Round-Up Part 16


Beaumont design logo design

Chris Beaumont: Beaumont Design: Logo & Brand Identity Design — http://dribbble.com/Beaumontdesign

This is my current logo to represent me as a freelance designer. I have recently finished a redesign of it which involved tweaking it's proportions, adding the use of the golden ratio and softening the points making it easier on the eye. The result of changes also allowed it to look more balanced when combined with text as well as working better at smaller sizes.

The Mark is a combination of the tip of a pencil and the use of negative space to represent snowfall at the top of a mountain. The reason for this is that my surname, Beaumont, means 'beautiful mountain' in French.

The font I use is Novecento wide in both bold and normal weight. I chose this font as it is a very crisp font with a minimalist style that would transfer the information needed without drawing the attention away from the mark.

The colour scheme is a basic black and white to allow the negative space on the mark to really appear like crisp white snow and to conform with the minimalist style of the rest of the branding.

cutdsgn logo design

Constantinos Dobrovolski: cutdsgn — logo & brand identity design — http://cutdsgn.com

While still on my 3rd year as a Graphic & Advertising Design student, i was looking for a «cool» brand name (since my actual name is kinda difficult to be read/pronounced) that would be affiliated with simplicity and minimalism, as design styles. Since i love the process of subtraction in my work, i ended with the word «cut» & «dsgn», which brought me finally to «cutdsgn». The best part is that the initial letters of the two words, are the respectively initials of my full name.

The actual logo process lasted for a few months of brainstorming, sketching and design on my free time. I have to admit it although, if i would be my own client, i would tie a rock to my neck and i'd throw myself into the bottom of the sea. Yeah, the process hurt a lot since i didn't put a deadline or any design restriction from the beginning.

After a long time, i decided that my goal would be to design a logo mark that would represent «cut» in a minimal way and on the other hand, it would combine the initials of the two words. Being a fan of the «Smith» style, i ended up with a square logo mark that contains in negative space the «c» & «d» characters, that stand from each other with the use of two «cuts». The typeface i used for the naming is a slightly edited Breuer Text Bold, which in my mind it could be the modern child of Helvetica & Din families.

For the moment, i use a neutral grayish color palette which to be honest, it suits me as a personality; although a new color scheme is not impossible to be developed, parallel with the actual website design. Concluding, i'm quite pleased and probably proud with myself as i managed to present an overview of my personality as a designer and as a character into such a simple logo.

David Bauer Photodesign logo design

David Bauer - David Bauer Photography Design

I love minimal and clean design so I knew from the start that my logo would have to reflect that. And since I'm using my name as the name of the company I wanted to include my initials into the design. It did not have to really say anything about what I'm doing but it would have to be usable as a standalone symbol and/or watermark.

I've gone trough like 10 different ideas in the last few months and finally this one grew on me. One day I just flipped my initials to the vertical and there it was! And I was quite surprised to see some things that go together well - a smiling face, 'Victory' sign and a computer mouse. And I'm sure I will find more things in this symbol over the time.

Searching for the right font took me even longer and I finally settled with one of the cleanest ones - Gotham (still have a possible runner up - Avenir). It was used for all the typography as well as for the symbol.

Everything is just black&white at the moment. I'm still working on my website so if there will be any colors, they can be also implemented into this logo.

eric coddington logo design

Eric Coddington: Graphic Designer — http://ericcoddington.com

When it comes to designing for a client I am very focused, straight forward, and on target. Like every other designer I am definitely my own worst critic, which had lead me in the past to be very schizophrenic when designing for myself. Not knowing what aspects of my personality, or style to highlight. I've used so many personal logos over the past 10 years I've lost count.

When I recently moved to a new city (Portland, OR) I decided I need to start fresh again, but this time I needed to create a personal brand that really showed who I am.  Not what I like to design, not what I want to be or become, but something that is just me.

Then it hit me, nothing is more me - than me! At that moment of realization I knew my logo was done, and I didn't even design it, my mom did, with her Polaroid camera, in the early 80's. Whether you know my logo Is a photo of me jumping off the living room chair or not, it doesn't matter.  You can feel that person in the logo.  It's someone you know, or more likely than not, it was you at some point in your life.  And at my core, that's who I am still today… just bigger.

Now, when handing out my business cards to potential clients, no previous logo has had the success at breaking the ice as this one has. It makes them not only want to know about what I do, but also who I am. It gives potential clients a sense of familiarity with me. It's an instant relationship builder. And at its essence, isn't that all a logo really is, a relationship builder.

Kelvinwins Logo Design

Kelvin Farrell — kelvinwins: graphic/web designer — http://kelvinwins.com

I've found nothing more difficult than designing a logo to promote myself as a designer. I could never settle on anything that I felt truly portrayed me in the right light. To be honest, I hadn't even settled on a name for a long time after I'd started designing - I was just using my personal name.

What kicked off my thinking was a jokey phrase that my then-housemate used to say; "I win at life". I thought nothing of it at the time but eventually it creeped in to my vocabulary and I'd mix it up by saying things like "I win at cooking/football/watching TV etc." One night I replied to someone by saying "I win at design", and that's how I initially came up with my brand and domain name, kelvinwins.

From there it was pretty simple to come up with my logo. The idea of playing on that 'win' phrase was all too tempting. I thought of a range of ways of doing it; trophies, medals, podium, but eventually settled on a ribbon/badge as it was a bit more understated. I didn't want to come across as arrogant, which I felt some of the other ideas could have.

The logo has been through a bit of development and has evolved across it's life. Recently I've refined it, given it a bolder font (Frutiger LT 95 Ultra Black) and made it single colour. I'm very happy with it in it's current form. It's cheeky, but more in a fun manner, rather than anything unprofessional.

Lisa Dale Logo Design

Lisa Dale: Graphic Designer — http://lisamariedale.tumblr.com

My logo came about during an exercise on self promotion and I was having such a nightmare thinking of what to design for myself. Seems silly really when you cant think of how to design for yourself but when working with clients the job seems much more straight forward. I looked around me for inspiration at the time and decided that my logo had to say something about me and my personal style within design.

The idea came from my love for Typography which keeps growing, and my logo has a handwritten feel to it which was deliberate and inspired me at the time. The font I used is called Stars From Our Eyes. This font is perfect for my self promotion as my work has a more personal feel to it, like the hand rendered effect from the font.

I have a keen eye for colour and the colour I chose for the typeface is a pastel calm soothing colour. This does not mean to say I wont use vibrant bright colours in my design! My work has a consistent colour theme in terms of light shades and delicate colours. Each colour compliments the other and balances the type perfectly. The good thing about this logo is it works just as well reversed in black and white, and when I see this logo it may appear to be simple and not much thought has gone into the idea but for me its legible, adaptable on all media and professional.

These are the things I want my logo to say about myself. Altogether the logo probably took me a total of two months because I could not find my direction at first. The process was difficult and I found myself questioning at times whether this logo was really me but now it is a working logo I couldn't be more happier with the outcome.

Mandala Studio Logo Design

Mat Ranson & Izabella Bielawksa – Mandala Studio: Art Direction, Design & Branding – http://mandalastudio.net

As most designers can attest, branding yourself is difficult. It quickly becomes clear that you are the best and worst person to do it. You're the best person because you know your business intimately and will spend as much time as necessary on it. You're the worst person because without factors to ring-fence the process (namely self-discipline, a budget and a finite amount of time) it will never be finished. But, we knew this and so we tried hard not to fall into the trap.

So we went through a quick rejection process to arrive at the name and the logo:
• Instinctively, we both wanted to use a basic shape for the logo: either a square or a circle
• We wanted the word Labyrinth, so that was the original concept, and the shape could be square
• We're based in Asia so 'Labyrinth' didn't feel like a word people would be familiar with
• Mandalas feel like the Eastern equivalent of Labyrinths

If you are not familiar with mandalas - they are traditional Hindu and Buddhist images which depict the Wheel Of Life. A mandala is essentially a detailed decorative image and they come in many different designs. We weren't personally concerned with the religious connotations so much, more the shape and the pattern potential. We referenced a lot of imagery to draw them - mostly mandala designs of course - but also pattern work from our huge copy of Owen Jones brilliant book 'The Grammar Of Ornament'.

The type went through a few iterations. We wanted the mandala as the focus, with type that balanced it. Originally we had chosen Erik Spiekermann's Officina Serif in caps at quite a small size. But it was dwarfed by the mandala and not a heavy enough weight. We settled on Clarendon because the serif decoration sits well with the vibrant symbols and it is a heavy typeface with a hint of nostalgia, which gives gravity to the two things together.

Mandala Studio is two people and one's favourite colour is sky blue, the other's is blood red. So that was a simple, but important decision on colour. It also means we have front-and-back business cards: one of us on the blue side, the other on the red and we use the blue for non-urgent correspondence like estimates and mail-outs, and the red, of course, for invoices.

Michael Warren logo design

Michael Warren: Design + Direction — http://makewithmichael.com

Born with a common name, I knew I would have to anchor my brand with a strong symbol. Not only did I want the design to be minimal, simple and easy to read, but I wanted it to reflect the type of work that I produce.

My initials - MW - have many interesting features that helped me glean design cues. Toying with shapes and pattern reflections, I wanted to convey my brand-mark using four simple triangles that would outline the “m” and “w”.

Offset for the quirkiness and creativity of my work, I managed to merge the triangular shapes into a stylized, yet easy to read, symbol of my initials. However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for me during the design process. In seeing that the triangles were pointed, it made my design feel too aggressive, so I added subtle hints of rounded edges to help soften up the symbol.

I wanted to keep my brand in black & white to convey professionalism and minimalism, so the symbol stayed in it’s native conception color. The typeface I use to accompany my brand is Din, for it perfectly complements the modern feel of my symbol, with a nice touch of friendliness.

Rick Raby Logo Design

Rick Raby: Graphic Designer & Student — http://rickraby.tumblr.com

I came up with the logo when I first started my FdA, I was probably no more than 2 months into the course. I was sat in a contextual studies lecture and instead of taking notes I though I'd do some doodling. That night, I went back to my flat and made it in illustrator and I've stuck with it ever since.

The logo is just my initials (My full name is Richard Adam Raby) but it's clean and I love that about it. At the time, I didn't know much about fonts and all I really wanted was one with straight legs for the R's, so I went for Akzidenz Grotesk. At the time that choice didn't really mean to much to me but ever since I've had a tendency to use this type of modernist typeface - I use DinPro throughout my stationary and on every presentation I've made in the last year.

The colour of the logo is a bit of a funny one. When I first started putting work on my blog, it was all converted from CMYK to RGB, so the black was never a proper screen black but I always liked that for some reason. So ever since I've been using this 94% CMYK black in my logo and stationary. It also turns out that its the same colour as the default background in Acrobat Pro - and yes, I did have a mini panic when I found this out and wondered where half my PDF had gone.

We Are Goat Logo Design

Paul Attard: Graphic Design — http://wearegoat.com

Goat is a small design studio based in London, made up of myself and my Russian colleague.

I'll first have to start out with the naming of the studio; to cut a long story short, my colleagues surname is Golev and mine is Attard. We started working on project while still studying at University and felt that we had a very good back and forth so decided to create a name for the collective. We chose to call it goat as a combination of the two surnames put together symbolising the connection of two halves joining together to create a whole entity.

With the name out of the way it was time to start the long process of self-branding, which somehow feels like the hardest job. We settled on the font LTC Twentieth Century which is basically Futura with some fancy alternatives thrown in. We were looking for this slight peculiarity in a font and LTC Twentieth Century just seemed to have something we both completely agreed upon.

We then wanted to include a feature to draw attention to the two separate halves, which later came in the form of the yellow line down the middle. It works in two ways; firstly the separation down the middle, which we then incorporated into all aspects of our brand. Secondly it was inspired by the peculiar pupils of a goat's eye.

With everything put together the final touch was the yellow colour which was decided upon due to the vibrance of yellow. It is a nice contrast from the black and adds something small that stands out.

Wouter Buning Logo Design

Wouter Buning: vormverteller —brand identity designer – http://wouterbuning.nl

As a young creative professional I believed working under one’s own name was a sign of uncreativity: a creative person should have a creative brand name. And I was convinced that potential clients would take a corporate brand more serious. I wanted to stay away from the ’21-year-old-working-from-mum-&-dad’s-attic’ image. So for many years I struggled in finding the brand name that suited me well.

I switched the name three or four times (once because of a pending lawsuit...). None of them endured. I never planned on expanding into a business (it always was going to be just me), so at some point I managed to let go of my former prejudices and finally decided using my own name as brand name. It’s been running for 5 years now and I’m still completely happy with it. Even now, my brand identity keeps growing on me.

Since my brand name wasn’t that creative there was room for a creative job description ;D So 2 years ago I invented the title vormverteller. That’s Dutch for ‘shapeteller’ derived from ‘storyteller’.

About the same time I added a few supporting colours to the existing pallet, enabeling me to promote different design services under separate colours. And in an identity project I always like to create a rich black and grey spectrum that fits the main colour, so each brand has it’s own black and greys. I guess that’s just an aspect of my design-lunaticness.

The logo mark is a typographical design solution. The idea was to create one strong shape for my initials, like a graphical/geometric signature, with an interesting balance between round and sharp edges. While I was sketching, I added a hint of 3D movement within a 2D shape. The rotation of the logo mark suggests looking upward and forward, adds some dynamic and I feel it makes the logo optimistic/future minded. I adjusted the ‘w’ to keep a solid base.

A little joke I implemented was a hint to the old ink dip-pens in the shape of the ‘b’. But the funniest thing happened a few months ago, when one of my students came up to me and said he thought the logo mark was a drawing hand: he never saw the initials. How is that for a bonus!

Stone Soup3 logo design

Andy Valde: Graphic Designer — http://StoneSoup3.com

Hi! My name is Andy Valde and I am a graphic designer for my company Stone Soup 3. Below is the description of our company and we can be found at StoneSoup3.com

“Stone Soup” originated as a French tale about 3 soldiers returning home from the Napoleonic Wars. They arrive at a village where they quickly learn that, because of war times, the villages are unwilling to share, trade or sell any food or supplied. So the Soldiers decide to bring an empty pot to the village square, fill it with water, place it over a fire and drop a large stone into the pot. One villager becomes curious and asks them what they are doing. They explain that they are making Stone Soup even though some potatoes would really make the soup taste much better. After hearing this, the villager decides they have some potatoes to spare. He brings the potatoes and drops them into the pot. As he does this, other villagers follow and contribute what they have.

This is a story of people coming together to reach an over all goal. This is exactly what our company Stone Soup 3 is. Each one of us contributes individually with our expertise to an overall goal. This way we help our clients, like the soldiers from the story,  achieve success for their company. The number three at the end of our logo signifies our company trinity: Audience, Concept, Execution. Eric Lamkins, Heather Murray, and Andy Valde are the current contributors to the overall pot of creativity and execution. Learn more about us by visiting StoneSoup3.com.




Logo Design Round-Up Part 16 is very long awaited. Really rather pleased to see so many designers submitting their own brand logo designs for this logo design round-up series.

Unfortunately there were a few too many submissions to include in one post. For those of you who have submitted your brand logo please be rest assured that they will feature in the Logo Design Round-Up Part 17 which will be posted next week.

Pinterest

I have taken the liberty of pinning all the logos to Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/imjustcreative/logo-design-round-up as well as adding a Pin button to each and every logo design featured.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Take Part

If you would like to join the fun and have your own brand logo showcased with a written description then flick through this post: Submit Your Logo For Logo Design Round-Up Series

All there is to do now is present ten of your logo designs with some juicy descriptions to boot. Enjoy.

Franck Juillot: Brand Designer - http://franckjuillot.com

I feel like I've been working on my personal logo for ever. Countless styles, shapes, logograms, letter combinations - I think any perfectionist designer knows the hard and sometimes painful process of branding himself.

This logo is maybe the first & only version I'm quite satisfied with so far. I focused on curves, stability and space to create this symmetrical logo. Diagonal lines were added in the last step of creation to enhance the "fj" shape, which appeared too plain to me. Besides their graphical purpose, diagonals are also for me a great tool that I use regularly, and reflecting that in my personal logo appeared logical to me.

I use this logo to promote myself as a Logo Designer mainly on the Web, and I use an other identity for my local business in general infographics and web design. I feel each logo should contribute to a specific purpose, thus I designed this one to promote efficiently my branding projects.

Homer Gaines — homergaines: Interactive Designer and Developer — http://homergaines.com

The idea to start Airborneapps came after Adobe debuted Adobe Air back in '08. The idea was to design mobile apps for the AIR runtime under the name. Instead of jumping in head first, I took some time to just design mobile UI's instead. Although I had a catchy name, I wasn't sold on the initial logo designs I came up with so I sat on it in addition to that, it gave me some time to plan out the direction I wanted to take.

It wasn't until after working on a personal design project where I designed cloud icons to represent the current health of a network that I had the "AH HA!" moment for Airborne. Initially I took my cloud icon and added "Airborneapps" underneath it. At that time, the cloud had a smiley face but that soon changed because it just didn't fit. Everything about it felt cluttered. On top of that, I wasn't happy with the type face.

To lose the clutter and excess visual noise, I took the smiley face out and left the name under the cloud. I'm all for minimalism but when I did that, it was just too plain. What am I going to do with this empty cloud? The cloud alone was not enough to support the idea of being airborne and that's when I had the idea for the rocket. a few sketches and 45 min later I had come up with the logo you see today.

Even though I had the design how I wanted it, I had not solidified the type face for the name. I probably spent the next 3 hours looking through fonts on my machine and on the web. The first type face, "Candice" I knew was a place holder. I tried to go the 8 bit route and use a pixel type face but that was a fail mainly because like " Candice ", it just didn't fit. I wanted a type face that would compliment the strokes and shape of the logo and finding one was a beast! Then I came across a font buried deep in my archives called "Days". It fit perfectly. I was so pleased with the results, I spent the rest of the night designing a whole family of logos based on the airborne theme.

Travis Ulrich — Ulrich Design — http://ulrichdesign.ca

Naming my company was a pretty straight forward process: My last name (Ulrich) + "Design". I actually designed this logo back in 2006 but at first it took a different form (see top-right corner of image). It kind of looked like a take on the Nintendo 64 logo but in shades of blue: It was one solid 3D block with a "U" (for "Ulrich") carved into one face and a "D" (for "Design") carved into another.

A year later, I ran into the problem of wanting to be able to have a one-colour version. I didn't want to have just outlines, and filling it all in one colour would make it unrecognizable as anything. So I started thinking about how the light would hit this logo if it actually was a 3D object and took pieces away and when I took away the face of the 'D' and the the inside of the 'U' I found that my eye would still allow me to fill in the missing parts and it suddenly became this logo that was a flat-laying brand mark but also 3D. I kept the original font choice (Eurostile) since I was pleased with how boxy it was, which matched the icon, without having 90° corners.

I also decided to go with a white-on-black colour scheme. While my logo is technically white, I'd say that black is my colour. Black, to me, feels like a blank slate. It leaves interpretation open-ended, though I see it as the colour of "creativity", and everything goes with black and black makes other colours look bigger and brighter.

I get a ton of compliments on my logo and recently, I was told by someone that my logo reminded them of a Rubik's Cube which is a great symbol for marketing: Solving a puzzle and finding a solution. While that wasn't my aim it did sort of ring true about what I do and how I created my logo.

Marvell Lahens — Marv: Freelance Graphic Designer — http://cargocollective.com/marv

After two years as an architecture major, I realized that my true passion lied within branding. As the authority on corporate identity Tony Spaeth states, identity is “an enchanted apple, that spoiled the taste of other fruit,” and I plan on never looking back.

Although I'd much rather spend my days now designing logos, over my days as a CAD zombie in the architecture studio, there are many lessons that I carry forth from my time in “archi-torture.” Most significant of these lessons is the idea of being decisive and bold, while maintaining a level of purpose in all design aspects.

Carrying over ideas of geometry and symmetry, for this particular mark, I wanted it to be bold and be able to stand on its own. Without being as literal as using a pentagon, or, even more so, a pentagram, I wanted the symbol to be as geometric, and a-symmetrical as possible, i.e., the misalignment of the two halves, while still retaining a completely symmetrical shape, i.e., the mirrored halves.

What results is a striking, unmistakable mark that really can stand on its own.

Thomas Murrin — Pixeltuxedo: Logo, Web & Motion Graphics Designer — http://pixeltuxedo.com

The name of my business is Pixeltuxedo.com and I named it that way for a few reasons. Now I have to admit that I don't think a business should be named the way I did it, but I am making it work. I started with the word 'pixel' because I like the idea of one dot in a sea of other dots that make up a digital image. From there I went on the marvelous trek of finding a .com to work with pixel. After a few days and hundreds of possible names I fell on Pixeltuxedo.com. I thought that it was slightly comical, but had an air of seriousness to it. So I chose it and began the branding.

The logo has gone through development hell to get where it has today, and to be honest, it will most likely change it in the future. I didn't have a clear direction of where I wanted to go and I found myself more or less just copying other company designs.

After a few months in business I began to mold who I wanted to be as a business, which is one that creates custom designs. I didn't want to copy the next guy or use a template in my web work. I wanted each project I work on to look and act differently than the last. I wanted to tailor each look to the ideas and dreams of the client I am working with and not the business they admire. This is where I came up with my tagline of "Your digital tailor." A designer in the digital realm that creates custom tailored designs for a client.

This finally lead me to the logo I have today.

I was inspired by my tagline and business direction, which reminded me of the fashion business where they are constantly cranking out new designs. My name, tagline, business model guided me to a clean typeface (Gotham Bold) that can easily be placed on most backgrounds. The spacing between each letter can be interpreted as being open to new ideas, as well as, taking the necessary time to create a design. The red dot points to creativity and a reference to a pixel. That is the history behind my logo and I hoped you enjoyed it.

BrandMooreArt — Brandon Moore: Independent Graphic Artist — http://brandmooreart.daportfolio.com

Sometime last year I started redesigning my personal identity, not because i wasnt happy with what i had, but because i felt it didnt align with the clients i was trying to attract. For the sports design world i needed something more, well, sporty. I think most designers will agree that oneself is the hardest person to design for, so to make this identity makeover easy as possible i treated myself like any other client. I outlined in a project brief with what i wanted to communicate, who my audience was, and why anyone should care.

My new personal logo needed to reflect my style, my personality, my approach to design, and maybe an influence or two. After filling a few pages in the sketch book, I arrived at a concept i liked, placing a stenciled letter M inside of a shield. Any shield design comes with the connotations of respect, honor, and power, and though I wasnt going for a royal or military feel, i do think it gives the idea of being a "well respected, quality designer". The reason for the letter M (as apposed to a B or BM) was simply because the straight lines and angles of the letter fits so well inside this shield design. I also really love the broken lines in the middle of the letter. Because the whole logo is built with lines that are straight up and down, those odd angles add some variety and breaks the boring, ridged flow of the other lines. It's just interesting.

The choice for the orange triangle is simply to fill that negative space (add visual weight) and to have an element where i could add a third color. I like working with odd numbers because Bob Ross taught me long ago that odd numbers are more interesting and organic. Why? because Bob Ross said so. Another reason for the stencil letter (and my color choices of black/white) is a tip-of-the-hat to my favorite artist, Banksy. His work always reminds me that ideas > aesthetics.

Going into this i had pretty much made up my mind of what color palette i wanted. black, white, and orange was clearly the choice for me. (also a touch of grey in some applications). The orange isn't exact, but i wanted something close to Hemi orange, an engine block color from the muscle car days of Dodge and Plymouth. Since i was 14 I've loved 60s-70s American muscle cars and the Mopars have always been my favorites. I felt like Hemi orange would give an energetic, fun, and youthful vibe to my identity. It also was appealing because I haven't seen much orange in other designer identities. So just being different was reason enough to do it.

You'll see 2 different versions of the logo (black shield or white shield) on 1 of 4 different background. This application decision comes from college football where we are seeing more and more that universities are not defined by 1 iconic helmet/logo but their identities are flexible, providing many color combinations for game day. Schools like Oregon, Arizona State, and Oklahoma State have the ability to wear a different uniform for each game of the year but still remain recognizable by the color palette and supporting elements of their identities. i prefer a white background but for places like twitter and dribbble, an icon with an orange background really attracts the eye even at a small scale. its hard to pass it.

I call myself an "independent graphic artist" simply because "freelance graphic designer" sounds so dull and is the common title. Also, Graphic Artist seems to align better with Brand Moore Art which is as much of a statement as it is a play on my name. I've always thought of myself closer to a fine artist than a designer as well. (My apartment is currently lined with canvases waiting to be finished with the table top sporting books on street art and art theory) To finish off, it had to be built with the golden ratio. You cant go wrong with the golden ratio, it is built into our DNA to be attractive. I check my proportions and alignment with the golden ratio on nearly every project.

I'm not sure if my whole identity will ever be finished, I'm always changing something about the word mark, a background, a secondary font, etc. I am quite happy with this logo though. I think i was able to communicate everything i wanted. Since i made the switch to this, business has picked up, so i guess it's working. :)

Angus Ewing — FUZE: Design Director — http://fuze-sa.com

The main theme behind our brand derives from the idea of four creatives joining forces to deliver a single, convenient and comprehensive marketing package to the business environment – ‘the whole enchilada’ if you will.   The unanimous agreement to name this collaboration “FUZE” ignited the brand’s motivation.

The process of building the brand identity was swift and painless – two weeks as opposed to the preceding three weeks spent selecting a suitable name.

Our initial commitment to a using a black background wavered initially, but soon won when it became increasingly apparent that this option was fat more striking than its plain white counterpart.

The FUZE brand reflects a ‘fusion’ of marketing media and disciplines.   The original image was one of four energy cables fusing into a single dazzling image of inspiration and creativity.

The preference for a circular device as opposed to one with corners reflects a desire for a more streamlined wholesome image more representative of unity and completeness.  It’s naturally repeating cycles also imply continuity.

The black background was felt to be more sophisticated and symbolically more representative of the environmental noise and confusion within which FUZE crafts its magic.   That said, occasionally for the sake of convenience, FUZE’s logo also has to ‘shine’ on a white background which it does courtesy of the striking red and orange colours.  The beauty of the design is that the role these two fiery colours play also duplicates quite dramatically on the black background without any additional amendments necessary.

The simplicity of the overall design is also representative of FUZE’s work ethos.  A more simplistic and crafted design is usually preferred, and is often more dramatic whilst less confusing.

The four circular frons emphasize the integration of talents and skills from the four creative partners.    Another fortunate facet of the name is the typographical aspect of the name – four letters like the four partners, each equally dramatic and ‘fused’ to represent how the collection of talents synchronize.

One font was used in our logo, namely ‘Big Noodle Tytling Regular’.

Sam Thompson — Shrinkpad Designs: Graphic Designer — http://shrinkpad.com

With nearly twenty years of experience and dedication to bespoke graphic design (contemporary and traditional), Shrinkpad Designs works not only with well established companies, but also with start-ups. All with the same passion and honesty.

So what is Shrinkpad? I get asked this a lot. Well Shrinkpad is me, a made up name by my older brother of nine years when I was born. A reference to being a small and cushion like baby. Yeh – go figure!

Established (born) in 1975, Sam ‘Shrinkpad’ Thompson didn’t become Shrinkpad Designs for 19 years, after studying at The London College of Printing and Distributive Trades.

I have always used the name when freelancing in my spare time whilst working for other studios, but didn’t create the logo until I decided to head out into the world by myself. This was about eight years ago.

Having mainly worked in print based design companies, I have always had an appreciation for mono produced work, hence the simple black and white. My first website was indeed all black and white. The logo uses Georgia as a traditional serif font, whilst using range right lowercase to lend itself to a more modern design. Playing with leading and kerning to unite the two words.

By applying certain printing techniques, the logo can elevate the overall brand. My business cards are a gun-metal foil on Colorplan 700gsm (American Psycho, eat your heart out!). Although I used a classic printing method, my logo filled three quarters of the card, again playing on contemporary and traditional design. Like all good designers, it is important to have the end use of a logo in the forefront of your mind.

Mark Gongalski — Unruly Brewing Co: Designer. Builder. Brewer. —  http://unrulybrewing.com

After a few pints of mitten-made craft beers while meeting with my trademark attorney, I was asked to be a partner in a brewery development here in Muskegon, Michigan. Now being an award winning home brewer and a lover of handcrafted beer, of course I said yes.

He named the brewery “Unruly Brewing Co.”  - I was hooked.

Brand identity is a passion of mine, I truly dig it. So of course, that night I sat down in front of the laptop, opened illustrator, filled another pint glass of my favorite brew for inspiration and started to brainstorm Google for all things unruly. Now this attorney involved in the development moonlights as lead singer/guitarist for a punk band. I Google’d “punk band” then “rock and roll” then “crowd.” Clicked to view “images” and then it came to me.. the rock hand.

Copied a pic over to illustrator. Live traced it. Set it aside.

Scrolled through Adobe’s font list for something bold… Impact lit up like a lighter in the dark at a rock concert. Then I laid the UNRULY BREWING CO. text on the screen, outlined, scaled to fit and then moved the rock hand illustration over next to it. Something didn’t quite “fit” right. So I dropped the “U” in UNRULY, adjusted the rock hand to appear more like a “U” and now things were much better. Added rounded corners to all the text complimenting the profile of the hand and then added the “TM” symbol. It still needed more edge to it, so I rotated the whole thing 5 degrees. The logo was edgy –punk even. It was complete.

This really was a fun logo to design. In two hours, concept to completion, a kick-ass logo had been created for our new brewery. It was exciting and extremely fast paced. Sometimes a design takes months, having countless hours of racking brains and proofs and redesigns to come up with something one is still not completely satisfied with. Other times, it just seems like things come together seamlessly for a perfect product. Maybe I should charge clients by the amount of 16oz pours had during a design session rather than charging by the hour. Although, I don’t think I would have made much money on this two pint logo  :)




imjustcreative-logo design

A while back I ran a series of posts that collected and displayed designers' logo designs as a way provide a nice platform to show and provide a write-up of how the logo came to be. Now collecting your logo for part 18.

These would be the logo designs that you use to brand your own: freelance, self employed, studio, agency, company business. Look back through the last few years worth of collections to get an idea of how the logos were submitted and presented in: Logo Design Round-Up Part 16 & Part 17.

I would now like to collect your logo for Part 18 & 19 of: Logo Design Round-Up – How Designers Promote & Brand Themselves.

What This Collection Is Not

This is not a competition, it's not a best of, it's not a who has the best logo nor is it a collection of logos that I have chosen. The logos are kindly supplied by those that wanted to be part of this series.

If you are interested in taking part in this series then there are a few guidelines to follow:

The Logo Description

This is a chance for you to provide some insight into your own logo design. How did you come up with the idea? How long did it take? Was it hard or quite easy? Where did the inspiration come from? What fonts did you use? Is there a corporate colour palette?

If you have a tagline then feel free to write about how you came up with that as well.

Use this as an opportunity to put your own logo design into context as well as getting some exposure for yourself.

Please feel free to write as much as you want. I am not looking for brevity, quite the opposite. In my experience people really do enjoy reading the design and thought processes involved with a logo design.

Two to three paragraphs is usual, but some people have provided 5-10 paragraphs which is a good amount of text.

Personal Details

Please supply your full name, business name and job title with full website URL: 'Graham Smith—imjustcreative: logo and brand identity designer — http://imjustcreative.com' This will be the caption for each logo submission.

Specifications for the logo file

  1. The image size needs to be a minimum of 650px wide, and 414px deep. You can copy my logo above as this is the correct size and is named appropriately. Please look through the previous series of posts for ideas on cropping, background styles etc.
  2. Please supply a JPEG with Maximum compression.
  3. Use following naming convention : '{yourbusinessname}-logo-design.jpg'. So mine would be 'imjustcreative-logo-design.jpg'

Deadline

Man, I hate deadlines. So there isn't one really. Sort of an ongoing series, so as and when.

Where To Submit.

Please send me any images and text file to : imjustcreative (at) gmail (dot) com




The Expectation  Of Value & Quantity With Hiring Freelance Logo Designers

The Expectation Of Value & Quantity With Hiring Freelance Logo Designers

Just had to add my own thoughts to the excellent article over at IDApostle by Steve Zelle:  Logo Design and the Misconceptions of Unlimited Choice with freelance logo designers.

Steve touches on some excellent points that we could all do with being aware of in a very concise article. I'm just going to add my side and expand on what Steve has written.

Value = Choice?

As consumers we often associate 'value' by what we are getting in return, and that in spending our cash we have a notion that value often equals quantity, choice, selection and variety etc. If we don't get the choice or selection we were expecting, or assumed to be to be getting, then we can feel we didn't get value for money.

Logo design is one area where this illusion/expectation of: choice, selection and variety equals value.

Online logo sweat shops—I can't even bring myself to call them logo designers—offer unlimited choice and reversions until the client is pleased. This is wrong on so many levels and I urge you to read the article by Steve if you have not done so already.

Logo Design Is Not About Choice

Logo design is not about getting a mammouth choice or selection of ideas to choose from. That's not where the value is. The value is what you are getting as a finished design by the logo designer your hired. If you feel the freelancer logo designer has failed you by not offering a selection of ideas then you don't quite grasp the notion of what you are asking that designer to do for you in the first place, as well as the designer being at fault for not setting expectations clearly at the outset.

One Idea

I am a firm believer in working hard to find that one winning idea from the outset rather than laying out a pretty selection of 4-6 differing ideas. This idea I will present can sometimes be the first idea or it can be the result of many sketches and brainstorming sessions. I have to be 100% behind this idea before showing any part of it to the client. If after the presentation the client has valid reasons for not liking it or not finding it appropriate then we start again.

To put your valuable time in finding 4-6 different ideas from the outset I believe, as does Steve, is a colossal waste of time and energy which would be better spent finding that one winning idea and perfecting it.

When Hiring Freelance Logo Designers

When you hire a logo designer try not to associate overall value of your investment by how ever many ideas and variations you might be getting ready to see. The value of what you are getting is not directly related to quantity but IS related to quality, and this expectation should be set out from the outset.

A very famous logo designer going by the name of Paul Rand had the right idea, and I briefly talk about his process in this article: Paul Rand Has The Right Idea Design One Logo Only.

One of the quotes by Paul that I particularly find interesting is:

"Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations."

Apply that line of thought to client expectations, ensuring that their expectations are modest from the outset, can only be a good thing for the end goal and overall sanity of both designer and client.

If you are confident about what you do then you should have no problem in steering your client towards an acceptable and agreeable expectation of value for money. The value is a logo design that reflects your business/product/company/consultancy in a suitable and appropriate way.

As Steve points out: Invest in the (designer-client) relationship, and a talented and well informed designer will deliver the one effective solution you need.

Hiring Freelance Logo Designers

Pinning down these details is all the more important if you are self-employed or work freelance as a logo designer. Being able to focus your energies on the main idea at hand is so much more productive and beneficial to your energy and motivation than trying to come up with the first round of 4-6 differing concepts.

Even if you can come up with 4 awesome ideas this doesn't particularly prove anything, or helps you in any perceivable way–except if you like showing off how cool you are with your fast and creative spinning mind. I'd much rather have one awesome idea on the table, one that I have put everything into, than trying to choose one of many.

In the post about Paul Rand I show a few examples where I have focused my energies on early ideas rather than try and impress my client with a selection. In all these cases the client was happy and we were able to spend every minutes tweaking and perfecting it rather than play spin-the-bottle.

It's up to you to change this expectation to something more humbling and modest just as Paul Rand hints to.

But It's Not Always That Simple

This isn't to say that this notion of only working on one idea is always feasible or workable. I still end up getting sucked into a project where my best ideas were turned down and I end up desperate to please. This will mean I might be 20 even 40+ ideas into the project with no end in sight.

This is the worst possible place to be but can be hard to drag yourself out of. Standing your ground with a client can be tricky and uncomfortable at the best of times so this is why it is so very crucial to lay down expecations right at the beginning and try try try not to deviate from that.

If you often find yourself with a reasonably clear idea or thought for a logo design at the beginning then you ought to consider making this the rule rather than the exception and adjust your work-flow accordingly.

Quite often I will get an email from a new client where they are looking forward to seeing a number of ideas. When I get such an email then I will have to reply back and re-calibrate their expectations. It is often hard for a client to accept the idea that they might only get to see one idea with a few variations but this comes down to you the designer to convince them and make them feel secure that this is how it is done.

If Not The 1st Time

It's important to stress that if the client has valid and genuine concerns over this first big idea, that it's so far off the reservation that it's in another solar system, then you will of course listen and re-calibrate your own vision.

It happens and just means that your initial perception or understanding of the brief was just way of, and hopefully the next time round you will be much closer to hitting the target. It's about setting expectations, being firm, and also giving the reassurance that you are also fair, reasonable and realistic.

What's The Aim

The overall aim with the idea of focusing on one general direction opposed to providing 4-6 different ideas is: a client unable to choose or tell which is the right option out of their choices; choices are notoriously hard at the best of times so asking a client to make a choice like this can lead to frustation and confusion; to focus the designers mind on working with that one direction and taking it all the way rather than splitting their focus x6; it forces the designer to really work on understanding the company and the brief in order to best meet the clients' requirements and satisfy any of their personal preferences; wastage of funds based on 3-5 unused ideas that took time and energy to put together, so far better to exert that time and energy in better understanding the brief and their needs the first time around; not having to explain to the client why all 4-6 of your ideas are perfect and worthy of their consideration because they're probably not, so why did you do them?

To end with.

A designer is not always right and equally the client is not always right. There is room on both sides for the mid-ground.