We all want to be creative rockstars. No one ever said designing a logo was ever going to be a piece of cake. If they did, they were lying, or they simply lack understanding of what goes into quality logo design.
It’s true many things have to align in the universe to really knock it out of the park. But I’ve designed 100′s of logos over my 20+ years in the industry and I’ve learned the hard way there are certain things you need to be aware of. Let this article be a warning to all of the graphic designers out there, both newbies and veterans alike.
Mistake #1. Designing Without Protection
Never start on a logo project without a signed agreement in place. BIG mistake I see young freelance designers make is working without a net. Here’s a more detailed blog post on how to write a winning proposal. You need to make sure the client signs off on the Scope of Work you’ve define in your proposal.
If you want to work without a contract, or on Spec, then you run the risk of not getting paid for your work. By the way, if you do NOT yet know this… Say HELL No to Spec Work!
Mistake #2. Don’t Forget the Money Honey
Never ever ever start on a logo project without a 50% deposit check in your hand, period. If the client resists signing your contract and committing to paying a deposit, then you do not want to work with them anyway. Trust me on this. Enough said, let’s move on.
Mistake #3. Asking a Client What THEY Want
Who cares if the client LOVES lime green? Their target market doesn’t, so why should you? NEVER ask the client what they want. Yes it sounds crazy, but it’s true. More to the point is never ask a client what THEY personally want to see in the final logo. The opinions of the client personally usually have NOTHING to do with their audience.
Are you designing a logo for the client, or are you designing a logo for the clients AUDIENCE? Think about it. I see this problem all of the time, and it drives me crazy. This is one of the biggest mistakes Logo Designers make. During the Creative Discovery phase, designers ask the client what logos they like, and when all is said and done, the final logo does not stir the souls of their audience – the entire point of the logo – they are designed for the client instead. Big mistake.
Dig deeper, create something that serves the business goals of the logo, to capture the interest and attention of the target audience. Those are the real eyeballs you are designing for. Do not forget it, and your work will positively impact the clients’ bottom line for years to come.
Have a point of view. Do not be dictated to by one set of ideas. Bring something additional to the table or risk being a machine that just follows orders and adds nothing unique to the universe.
Mistake #4. Showing Too Damn Many Concepts
Once you have your Discovery questions all answered and get your 50% deposit, you can dive into the creative. Yes it is easy to fall into the creative zone and bang out 25 ideas when you initially get inspired. Avoid show ALL of your concepts. Do not let your ego guide you!
Self editing prior to presenting to your client is critical. It is self serving and inefficient and a potential nightmare for the project if you give the client too many damn options to choose from. It is your job to narrow down the ideas prior to presenting to the client. The recommended approach is to present no more than 2 or 3 of your best concepts.
This is not about you or how many cool sketches you can generate, just get over yourself and be a professional Designer by focusing on your best concepts. You can always go back and share earlier versions if the client is not in love with your first designs. Keep them in your back pocket just in case.
Mistake #5. Never Over-Promise and Under-Deliver
ALWAYS set yourself up for delivering more value than what they expect. Whether it be that you deliver the work sooner, or do one extra client revision, whatever it is – Never miss an opportunity to kiss some client ass. You heard me right. Once you protect yourself with a good contract, you can be that person that stands out from the crowd and make them feel as though they are getting a bit more from you.
That being said, you teach people how to treat you in this life. If you do not protect yourself with a sound agreement from the beginning, you’ll get less respect from the get go and allow clients to run your life, keep you up at night, and keep producing mediocre work.
What is nice about this is that if you have defined the structure of the agreement correctly, they will know when they ask for too much, or exceed the project scope, so you can use your discretion for each opportunity. Pick and choose when you want to be charitable so that it’s recognized as such.
You’ll become more valuable to the client for future work if they feel taken care of, and you’ll be on the top of their minds when they have creative projects in the future. More about landing CLIENTS vs PROJECTS in this post.
Do you want Fries with that Logo?
You might as well be working working at McDonalds if you ignore my advise. You’ll make the same low wages, or even worse, risk not getting paid at all… Avoid falling into these potential traps and take heed of these 5 tips. You’ll be happy you did, and may even thank me for it later.
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