Beyond the Brief – Undertanding a Logo Design Client
After first getting the initial details of a new logo design project, the first thing most designers want to do is fire-up Illustrator and start playing around with concepts. I know instinctively, that is what I usually want to do.
In order to develop a logo that is truly representative of an organisation however, it is essential to gather as much information about your client as possible. In fact, I would argue that when it comes to designing a logo the more information you can gather, the better.
While a succinct and well-written design brief should be the primary tool for obtaining information from a client, to rely on the brief exclusively can be short-sighted.
If you are a serious self-respecting logo designer, going beyond the brief, and conducting further investigation of your client can go a long way to helping you create a more relevant and successful logo design.
Interview Your Client
In my experience, often clients either fail to understand the importance of providing detailed information in the design brief, or are just straight out lazy so don’t complete it in full. This is when interviewing can come in handy.
An interview gives you the opportunity to fill in any blanks that may have been left out in the design brief. Additionally it is a chance to ask the client for more detail on any ambiguous points.
I also use an interview to get more of an intimate sense of the likes and dislikes of the client. Ultimately, whether we like it or not, the taste of the client is going to play a large role in the selection of the final concept. The more I know about how the client thinks, the less time and money I am going to waste coming up with inappropriate concepts.
Obviously face-to-face interviews are usually preferred. Telephone, email or video conferencing can also be used where distance is a problem.
Depending on who your client is, the amount of research you can do may be limited. Obviously if your client is a start-up there is not going to be much information available. Regardless, Google is your friend.
Once I secure a new logo design client, the first thing I do is begin researching to gather historical information about the client (if any). While much of this information may not directly influence the design, the context it provides can influence its imagery and character.
Apart from researching the client, it is imperative to also gather as much information as possible about the client’s competitors and target audience. Understanding these two factors helps to get an idea of how the logo design should be positioned in the market.
Pay A Visit
With most clients located hundreds or thousands of miles away, it is usually impossible to physically visit their office in person. When it is possible however, the information you can take away can be invaluable.
I find that almost every organisation has a unique atmosphere to it. Something that is quite intangible and impossible to understand unless you spend a little bit of time immersed in it. For me at least, 30mins to an hour onsite is usually enough time to pick up “the vibe”.
Another great thing about visiting a client’s office is that you can start to look around and see how the new logo could be integrated in the environment. You never know, you may spot something unique in the surroundings, that could ultimately inspire the final logo design.
Going the extra mile to understand your client can greatly improve the relevance and effectiveness of the final logo design.
About a week ago, I read a great post over at Processed Identity titled My Clients are Paying for the Process First and the Logo Second. It is a great read and I strongly recommend that you check it out.
In the current environment where we are flooded with $99 logo templates and design competitions, it is important to remember that it is the culmination of steps taken during the logo design process that separates the good logo designers from the bad.
Share your opinion
How do you go about gaining a deeper understanding of your logo design clients? Do you think that a design brief is enough?
Photo by karmablue