A Brief shouldn’t be Brief

So you send your brief for your logo to the designer. And what you get back is a bit baffling. You asked for purple but got burgundy. You asked for simple and clean, and well, got lots of alarming white space. (btw – lots of white space is what us designer’s live for! And white space IS simple and clean).

Always ask the designer you will be working with, how much information they want. Some will ask a simple bunch of questions and be satisfied. Others will ask you to fill in a briefing sheet, which if set up properly by the designer, will be easy-peasy to fill in. Some like to just wing-it.

These are the tips I give my clients:
1. Don’t be afraid to say exactly what you like and don’t like. Send 2-3 logos you like, and 1 or 2 that you don’t. Say why, briefly. Note: 2 or 3. Not 20 or 30. Even you will be confused.
2. Do you want an “icon”, or just your name? Some great logos have just a word, e.g. Virgin, Google, Coca-Cola. Here, the emphasis is on the name and a font.
Great logos with simple icons: Nike, Apple, Android. Are you looking for an “emblem” type logo? e.g. Harley Davidson, Sharks. And, of course, if you are not sure, your designer should advise you.
3. If you feel strongly about a colour, put it in the brief. If the designer is worth his/her salt, they will use that colour, but then also suggest other, perhaps more suitable, or more attractive colours.
And remember – blue to you is 74 shades (from “spindrift blue” to “turquoise” and beyond) to a designer. Rather find the colour on the web and send them that photo/picture.
4. Be careful of using words like “funky” and “retro” to describe the overall look and feel you want. Make sure that those words are what you really want. And don’t ask for “funky” and “elegant”. They don’t go together.
5. Also give the designer your slogan/tagline. This does not have to be part of the main logo, but it needs to be factored into the design process. Don’t wait for the final logo, and then send it through. The designer then has the right to charge a “2nd briefing” charge. And put a photo of you on their dartboard and start throwing stuff at it.
6. Finally, tell the designer how you wish your name to be written, e.g. desdesigns is one word, not des designs, not Des designs, not des-designs.

As much as the designer will want to please you using the above information, your requests may be simply mad! Your colour choice could be completely wrong for the industry you are in. Your icon choice could be just plain unsuitable. Who is your target market? What message are you wanting to convey with your logo? Your designer should have sufficient knowledge of the branding/marketing industry to give you good, solid, kind advice.

Another question I am often asked: how many options will you be giving me? Hard to answer for other designers – I like to do 3 completely different options, and then play a bit with those. So you could end up with 6 or 12 or 20.