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paul
Designer, My Profile
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Is the client always right?

I sat in a meeting recently where a client said, “I want our company logo to be as recognizable as the McDonald’s logo…but it has to be neon orange and green.” Clients are often unsure about what they want, but less often do I hear from clients who sabotage their own logos before the first designs are even produced.


The golden arches of McDonald’s are recognized by billions of people. They’re recognizable because McDonalds is a huge international company that serves millions of people burgers every minute. However, in this case, the client was an owner of a tiny company that nobody had ever heard of, in an even smaller niche industry. No matter what the logo design would end up being, a few seconds of simple, rational thought by the client would prove that his company’s logo would never be as recognizable as McDonald’s golden arches.

The client had the idea that a good-looking effective logo would be the key to his success; that his brand would BE his logo. He didn’t want to hear that the logo is a piece of his brand, and that the real key to building a large business like McDonald’s was a great product, not his logo.
And then there is the issue with the color: The company was so new and so tiny that they didn’t have a company color. The industry had no recognizable color either. It was more than a little surprising to hear that a client wanted orange and green colors for a logo, but could give no reason for it, other than a personal preference. Orange and green would be fine for a logo if there was something, ever so small, that made using neon orange and neon green a good choice.
In a world where client is king, this particular king would never be happy with whatever logo was produced for the very reasons that was used to describe what he wanted the logo “to be”. In this instance, don’t spend too much time trying to please the client. Come up with a few options and move onto a project where the client actually collaborates by listening to you. Every designer has had difficult clients, but the key is to pick out, early in the process, those clients that will never be pleased. It will save you time and your creative sanity if you begin to recognize the signs of crazy!

I will contrast this with another client we had in the early days of BusinessLogos. His brief had no preference on color, but preferred to see what we recommended. He knew his target audience, and he knew what “feel” he wanted; fun, modern, with a hint of classic nostalgia. He was a frozen yogurt shop that was opening in an area with small competition in that market, and he wanted to build his brand around a quality product with nutritious and handmade ingredients. The brownies people add to the yogurt are made right there in the kitchen, for example.

This man knew that his product had to be great, and that the logo would be his signature. We gave him a great set of concepts to choose from, and then we tweaked it a little to his satisfaction. We also did his stationery, website, and other marketing pieces.

Sales have exploded. He just opened his third store, and is opening his fourth soon. He is starting a mobile unit. He is treated like a business rock star by his customers and peers. They just had a wedding in one of their locations. I love talking to him and we continue to work with him to create an even better website and marketing pieces. This type of client experience is the reason I wanted to be a designer.

What are your clients stories?

Faux-gos

Like these logos? I did all three of them in about an hour. The reason it was so easy is because none of the companies exist as far as I know. I just made the art, then added a company name that fits.

This has been something that’s been a slight pet peeve of mine. I see a lot of logos that look amazing, and fit the company name really well. I think, “How did they ever come up with that?”

Then I find out by doing a little research that the company doesn’t exist.

The designer showed a lot of imagination, but never had to deal with the client request to come up with something unique to brand the company.

We’ve all seen 99% of the time, the client will choose the logo that we would LEAST recommend. This makes logo portfolio sites a graveyard of discarded ideas. I’m fine with that, because at least the designer was working within the bounds of the client’s brief.

But I wonder what percentage of the logos you see in portfolios like Logopond or LogoLounge are for actual companies. I don’t know if that’s ethical or not…on the one hand, it’s a great way to build up a sweet portfolio. Young designers just starting out have a hard time getting a portfolio without experience, and this is an easy workaround for that.

But, on the other hand, it’s showing work that never had boundaries…it’s more like showing a piece of art, rather than design.

What do you all think?

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paul
Designer, My Profile
Filed under Uncategorized.

Logo Review-Krimson Kings

Today’s logo comes to us from Ernan. The company is called Krimson Kings. What does everyone think?

My opinion is that it’s a very nice, balanced logo. You could maybe add a simple crown above the diamond shape. I like the customization of the Ks. It’s simple, and it would look good on the front of a hat or t-shirt. Well done.

paul
Designer, My Profile
Filed under Uncategorized.

Logo Review-Design Steel Joke

Today’s logo for critiquing is sent to us by Xoni, a non-designer that created this for Xonistel.

Sorry, Xoni, this…this is a mess. I would start over from scratch. It makes no sense. It looks like something you’d get from a crowdsourced design place…it’s just a mixture of words, colors, and elements.

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The 5 Biggest Mistakes in Logo Design

The designers here at BusinessLogos have designed thousands of logos, and have had the chance to critique and revise thousands more. Every day we see these common mistakes that customers and designers make, which cause their business to look weak, unprofessional, and will end up costing the companies sales, respect and profit.

You don’t have to have a huge budget to get quality design, but you DO have to pay for experience, so that you can avoid these mistakes.

This icon is available through stock art stores like Shutterstock, and also through most of the designers on DesignCrowd.

5. Uncopyrightable Design

You find this with crowdsourced design companies like 99designs or DesignCrowd. The designers can’t spend a lot of time on each logo, so they recycle clip art or re-use designs they’ve made for other companies. There’s no system in place to prevent the same art being used my multiple companies, so there is no way to copyright the logo. We’ve spoken with many upset customers that have found this out the hard way.

 

 

4. Too Many Elements

“Great, now we just need some napkins, because that’s another thing we provide.”

The idea of the logo is to put a professional “signature” on your business. It is not your entire brand message, nor a sales brochure for your business. It should not bear the burden of communicating every aspect for business (that’s what your marketing is for). But too many business owners want to make sure every product, service, or design idea they can come up with is included in the logo, making it a convoluted mess.

This also happens when business owners receive their initial concepts form a design company, and want to “add value” to their design purchase by piling on ideas. Again, this makes your message LESS clear, and will turn off clients and potential business partners.

 

3. Amateur Design 

It’s a trusim in every aspect of the business world: you get what you pay for. If you have your 10-year old niece draw your logo’s character for $5, the value will show. If you get 100 designs for $50, the value will show.

 

 

 

 

2. Unnecessary Text

If you need to have a tagline, great; just leave it out of the logo. Let it be a part of your business card or website. The idea of a logo is to get it stripped down to the essentials, and your address and hours or operation are not essentials. LLC and INC are legally required in your legal documents, but not in your logo, and they tend to make your logo look less professional.

 

1. Not Designing with All Uses In Mind

The reason logo design is all about simplicity is because your logo needs to be flexible. It’s going to be used in different ways, like embroidery, web and animation. It’s print requirements will be different from it’s web requirements. So it’s not a good idea to use too many gradients and complex illustrations, because that doesn’t translate well to embroidery, for example. Experienced designers know how to design logos that will work for all forms of media that you might use.

Getting your logo done right is a very important part of starting your business. It’s worth the cost to have it done right.

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