I think I need a logo, now what?

You’ve just created a new business, decided it’s time to get serious about an old venture or just need a change – but now what? You know you need a logo, but where do you look and what are the steps to getting something you love? Here are some tips to guide you through this exciting adventure.

But first…Do I really need a logo?
If you plan to market, then yes. If you have something – a brand, a product, a service – it deserves in identity. I know, I just threw out the B(rand) word, but not to confuse you. It is important to note that a logo is not a brand. A brand is a reputation, it is who you (or your “something”) are. A logo is the mark which represents that brand.

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Tip #1: Start with a creative brief.

Creative briefs take many forms, but their purpose is to start putting your ideas on paper. Describe the intentions, restrictions and overall feel you wish for your identity mark to convey. Create an outline defining the purpose along with any inspiration or parameters you have. Get started with these questions:

  1. Are their specific words, images or colors that need to be included?
  2. What things do I want to avoid?
  3. If someone had to describe my brand in 5 words, what would they be?
  4. What other logos or designs have I seen that I love/hate?

Tip #2: Know what you need.

You need a designer. You have general ideas but you’re looking for help to transform your collection of thoughts into a single logo. You can find these in many places and they go by many names: graphic designer, design agency, creative studio, marketing firm (this is a loose use of the term), etc. You can even find logo designers as part of web agencies, printing shops, etc. They vary from a one-man-shop to a team of professionals. This is where our team at Moonlight fits, so if this is what you need, give us a ring, and we’ll take you from there!

You need a production artist, or perhaps even a student to help bring your dreams to life. You’ve been thinking about this for a long time. You have sketches, color schemes, reference material and a solid direction on style, typography and composition – you can see it in your head you just need someone to make it happen. Reach out to a production artist or even a student majoring in design. Contact your local university to see if they can put you in touch with the right person.

What about those online services? I know what you are thinking – seems simple, cheap and painless. We get it. But good, cheap and fast, don’t often mix. Also, these services tend to produce results that are more generic and less honed to your specific needs.

Tip #3: Get to know the process.

The process to contract a logo designer varies, but goes roughly something like this:

  1. You contact group X and tell them a bit about your project. (This is a great place to hand off that creative brief.)
  2. You chat (via email, phone or in-person) about your needs, dreams and company fit.
  3. Group X then takes some time to prepare an estimate for your services.
  4. Once the proposal (cost, timeline and terms) are approved, the design process will begin.

Tip #4: Be prepared for an investment.

We’re not saying you need a million dollar logo. But remember, logos are meant to last for a while and have loads of purpose. They’re important for brand recognition, credibility, promotional qualities, etc. and because of this what may seem simple, is actually a complex task. Creating your business identity happens in phases (we rarely jump directly into designing). From research, to concept, to creation to application, it takes time and resources. But it is an investment in your future that will last.

Tip #5: Ask questions + get feedback.

Don’t be afraid to ask your designer questions you have. If you’re not sure about why something is the way it is, ask! Good designers do more than just “make things look nice” and will help walk you through their decision-making process. Gather a few trusted advisors to give input. This may be your boss or it may be a friend who knows your opinions well. Give your logo a test run and collect feedback (always keeping in mind that you don’t have to/shouldn’t incorporate everyone’s ideas).

Designing or redesigning a logo can be a personal process and we hope these tips will give you a starting point for finding the right designer or team you can trust to help create an identity you love.