Who should be creating your logo, yourself or your designer? I’m Aaron Belyea, and we’ll discuss this today, as well as working with the design studio and having an effective line of communication with them.
I know it may be tempting to try and solve the problem for your designer, but let them do their job. A good designer will listen to you, take your direction, synthesize aspects of your business, and create those concepts for you. Many times they’ll show you different ways of solving the visual problem that you wouldn’t have considered, because that’s what they and what we do day-to-day.
Give Critical Feedback
Your job is to give them critical feedback and help redefine where the direction is going. Are there elements within each of the treatments that you respond to? Is there a color palette that you would like to see? Would you like to tweak some of typography? You need to be able to respond to them as effectively as they are to you. Every once in a while you’ll get to a specific point in a project where either designers or clients will dig in and just having those great lines of communication and transparency is going to be key. In the case with the Launchware logo, the client loved everything about it. They said the only other thing I need you to do is draw the other side of the rocket ship and just close it in. To which point I said I think were going to really negate the power of this mark because we’re using the negative space of the L, the counter as it’s called, and I think it’s no longer going to look like an L. And they said you are totally right but let’s just do that. When we eventually revealed it to them with their recommendation, they said yeah this doesn’t work at all and we went back to the original iteration.
So sometimes being able to be just flexible enough to explain and maybe show why direction is not going to work can be helpful. Another example that was interesting along way was the Mud Dog logo, when we met with the clients who are starting this retail space. They said the name of the company is Mud Dog, we don’t want a dog. We said interesting, are you sure? And they said yes. So we developed four or five treatments that did not have a dog, and we played off the aesthetic they were going for, but really felt compelled to have a really beautifully drawn I think a French Bulldog is what we eventually landed on. As we were revealing the treatments to the client, they liked everything they had seen until we got to the dog, where they said that’s it that’s our logo. And I reminded them of the initial direction, and we fought our instincts to a point, obviously didn’t want to step on any toes, but our initial conceptual thinking made perfect sense. It turned out that this was the same dog that the owner had, so for that other reason it was a winner. I’m often asked about costs. Costs can widely range from $1500-$15,000, depending on who you’re working with, the scope of the project, and at what stage your company’s at.
Understand Your Designer’s Intellectual Property Policies
IP is a question that is often brought up. The way I’ve always worked is I release all intellectual property to clients. It’s their responsibility to trademark or register any aspects of their branding. But you should know and be well aware with your designer what their process is or what their protocol is. We spoke about timelines earlier, but it’s critical for you to know where the milestones are, when you can expect to see initial treatments, how long things take. That, also like the cost of the logo, ranges dramatically and hopefully your designer will be able to give you a hard timeline of when you can expect to see treatments and revisions and final assets. For a new business or startup, creating a budget for a logo can be a lot to tackle. What you have to keep in mind is that a professionally built or designed logo should last anywhere from 5 to 10 years, so it’s really an investment in your future success.
About Aaron Belyea
Designer + Brander
Alphabet Arm Design
A self-taught artist, Aaron launched his graphic design career while performing in numerous bands in Boston for which he would create a visual image that complimented the band’s music. Aaron later honed his artistic talents at The Planetary Group overseeing the design department for this artist development company. His ability to successfully develop identities rooted in decisive visual concepts led to the establishment of his own studio in 2001. The company name comes from Aaron’s design moniker, “Alphabet Arm”, which refers to the alphabet tattoo wrapped around one of his arms. Aaron can often be found speaking at colleges and universities as well as teaching classes and presentations for various entrepreneur / start-up organizations. When not holding things down at the studio, he is often happiest spending time with his family, drinking beautiful coffees, riding his bike, playing music, watching football and eating avocados.