I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with Perth beauty therapist Abbie Bradley from Simply Gawjus. This project was right up my alley as Abbie wanted a simple text-based logo that had a feminine touch. She sent me these images of interior decoration that she liked to help me in the design process. The images full of hearts, pretty patterns and lovely blooms were helpful in deciding fonts, supporting graphics and colour palette I should experiment with.
As part of the final files I supply the client after I’ve finished a logo design, I create a specification sheet that outlines the fonts and colours I’ve used for their logo.
A close up of the hearts that replace the dots of the i’s. If you had a look at the inspiration images Abbie sent, you can see why the hearts were an important addition. This heart and its pattern is now part of the Simply Gawjus branding and is a good supporting graphic that can be used for other material.
Here is the single sided business card I designed for Simply Gawjus, you can see that I’ve used the supporting graphic pattern by itself on the business cards.
I’ve been wanting to do this post for a long time because I seem to run into a common problem with a large proportion of clients having the misconception that in order to have a unique or memorable logo – every element has to be BIG and BOLD, it has to have countless embellishments, wacky shapes, patterns, a multitude of graphic effects and wild colours.
Source Colour Me Katie
However, in creating an overly complicated logo – you are actually doing the opposite, you are overloading people with too much visual information. The more detail your logo has, the longer it takes for the viewer to process it and, it becomes harder to remember in full. If you have heard the motto ‘less is more’, this is something that I truly believe applies to logo design. Simple designs are far easier to recognize and remember, especially in this day and age when we’re bombarded visually with all sorts of advertising and media.
Another thing that I think you have to be wary of is adding scrupulous amounts of detail and graphic effects that may make your logo look fancy-pants and snazzy now but, will it make it daggy and dated in a few years time? Iconic logos like Coca-Cola have withstood the test of time and has not changed much from initial concept to now, its success and broader appeal is largely in part of its simpleness and versatility in design. Extraneous visual information can also make your logo less flexible when it comes to printing on different material and being displayed at teeny weeny sizes where you can lose some of the detail or the design becomes muddy – more simplistic logos are less likely to be affected.
Here are some examples of very complex logo designs
Which set do you think is more memorable?
I personally find my eyes are straining when it comes to the first set, it’s so busy that my eyes are darting here and there trying to soak up all the detail. The second set gives my eyes some respite because of the simplicity and, I don’t have to look at each logo for long to remember what they look like in full. For me, each logo from the second set seems to stand its ground – each has conviction and presence.
So there you go, I hope this is useful for those of you starting up a business or revamping an existing business. Your logo is probably the most widely seen out of your branding elements, it’s on your business cards, brochures, flyers, website, facebook, twitter etc. Make sure that you are presenting your company at an advantage not a disadvantage!
For a while now I’ve been considering the idea of creating a series of posts sharing some of the useful things I’ve learned over the years to do with owning a small business, freelancing and other industry related experiences. I’ve kind of shied away from actually going ahead because I feel like maybe I’m not adding anything new – there’s already heaps of valuable resources available online from fairly established designers and really, I’ve only been doing this for a few years – what would be the point. However, I guess there’s no harm in sharing what you know and if there’s one person out there that finds it helpful, I’m happy with that!
As a freelance designer, I offer services in the area of identity & branding, graphic design, web design & development and also, illustration.
I thought as a first post, it would be great to run through some of the questions I ask clients before starting a project. So for those of you looking to get something designed, this might be of interest to you too, these are the sort things you may want to consider before approaching a graphic designer.
These are generic design questions that I use as a base, I sometimes throw in specific ones depending on the client’s particular project.
What is your budget?
As a designer, this information is such an essential part of forming the quote – you need to know what the client can realistically afford and decide what the scope of the project will be. If you are a potential client with a limited budget, the designer may limit certain parts of the design process to accommodate for your project – like maybe present less concepts at the start to choose from, reduce the number of changes you can make during development or decrease the licensed duration for the usage of the artwork.
What is your deadline?
This also helps with forming the quote because if the client needs a project done in a hurry, as a designer you may want to charge a rush fee to (a) prioritize it over everyone else’s project (b) you may have to work on it outside of work hours (c) you’re working a hell lot faster to get it in done on time = stress!
Did you have any specifications for the project?
This is another question that helps to form the quote. From experience, it’s definitely better to discuss with the client any expectations that they have of the design process or final outcome as you will need to consider the time and/or costs. For example, if I’m doing a website, I tend to narrow down with the client how many pages they are planning to have and how much content, if there are any features like slideshows, galleries etc. they are interested in integrating to the website, whether I need to source stock photos for them and so on.
What services or products does your company provide?
I only make this question part of the initial questionnaire to new clients. It’s important to get a good grasp of what they are about right from the very beginning.
What are some keywords to best describe your company?
I find this part useful because keywords usually invoke strong imagery, for example recently I designed a logo which the client used words like serenity, calm, peaceful to describe what she wanted – I instantly thought of clouds, doves and white.
Competition and Target Audience
Who do you think are your competitors?
This is something I still like to include especially if the new client is in an industry I’m not overly familiar with. It just helps to know the competition, so you can design something that sets your client apart but isn’t too irrelevant to what they are doing that people don’t associate them with their service or product. If you are a potential client, it’s probably valuable for you as well to do this research to see where you sit on the market and how you can differentiate yourself.
Describe your target market
I think it’s common for a lot of clients to just answer this question with everyone. However, I think you can probably guarantee that most clients have an ideal customer. This is such a useful piece of information because it can help with so many design choices such as font, colour, graphics and the list goes on. For example, I recently did a logo for a client who was starting her own floristry business, the majority of her clients would probably be weddings – women in their mid 20s upwards. Because of that information, I wanted to steer more towards using elegant, feminine, script type fonts to manipulate for the logotype.
What is your project trying to communicate or achieve?
As a designer, you will want to know what the client wants to communicate or achieve with the final piece because this will obviously dictate the design of it. For example, I recently designed an information pack for a client that she wanted to send out to potential stockists of her products. Basically the goal was to introduce her company and the products she offered to the potential client. In terms of the ideal reaction from the recipient, we wanted it to feel warm and inviting whilst still delivering the information from a professional standpoint – it was this that drove the design to the final outcome.
Do you have any preferences for colour, fonts, graphics etc.?
I always ask this of clients because otherwise I kind of feel like I’m stabbing in the dark, it just helps as well for the client to feel like they have some sort of input into the design.
Please attach links or images of designs that you like and have a similar look/feel you want for your logo (does not have to be in the same industry or same format). Please provide at least 4 and reasons why you like them.
I like to include this in the questionnaire because it gives me more of a visual clue of what look the client is after. The one thing with design that I find (sometimes frustrating) is that it’s all subjective. I had this experience recently with a client, where they mentioned that they wanted something modern but when they showed me examples – it wasn’t my idea of modern at all. I think it’s important to get rid of as much ambiguity as you can at the start.
These are just some of the areas I tend to cover at the start - hopefully it’s something that you may find useful whether you’re a potential client or fellow designer. If you have any questions about anything from this post, please just leave a comment or e-mail me via hello[at]nevertheless.com.au. I would also also love to hear some of the questions you ask your design clients!!