Addressing client concerns about logo design is an essential part of a graphic designer’s job. More often than not educating the client about the process proves most useful in alleviating their doubts. In all the years I have worked with logo design clients, I’ve come across many questions. Below are 3 common doubts clients have about logo design and how to address them.
"You’re Not an Expert in Our Industry"
I reached out to a potential client about redesigning the logo for their level sensors manufacturing business. I heard back from them not long after, completely dismissing the idea of a logo redesign strictly because I was not a level sensors expert. Their concern was that I would be unable to create something worth their investment without me being an “industry expert.” I then pondered, how many graphic designers out there are also level sensor experts? The answer is likely not a lot, if any.
It’s almost like saying: I won’t go to this doctor because he’s not an expert in graphic designers. Clients hire a graphic designer because they are indeed experts, but having specific industry knowledge or experience is not a requirement. If that were the case, then many industries would be underserved and would suffer from lackluster design (I’m thinking waste management and funeral homes). Perhaps that is the perception that the less popular industries have and the reason why they hesitate hiring a professional graphic designer.
It is indeed important to understand the client’s business and industry when designing their logo. However, there are ways designers can acquire this valuable information such as interviewing the client, doing research, and studying other businesses in the industry. Then designers can use that research to design something with meaning and relevance. A common misconception people have about logos is that they must illustrate and describe their business and / or products. But that isn’t exactly the purpose of logos. Famed graphic designer Paul Rand once said, “A logo is rarely a description of a business.” The purpose of a logo is to identify and differentiate a business.
Take Apple as an example, they sell computers and handheld electronics, but their logo is not a computer nor a smartphone. Instead its logo is a charming and creatively crafted apple icon. The purpose of the Apple logo is to convey a specific image that resonates among their target customers, communicates meaning, and differentiates them from other brands. In short, an expert designer knows how to create relevant and genuine logo design no matter the industry.
"I Have a Hard Time Investing in an Unknown Result"
This is a legitimate concern clients have when designing a logo because the outcome is indeed unknown. The creative process is neither simple, straightforward, or consistent. You can hire multiple designers to create a logo and each would come up with a different result. “Creativity is like washing a pig. It’s messy. It has no rules. No clear beginning, middle or end,” advertising legend Luke Sullivan describes in his book Hey Whipple, Squeeze This. Addressing this concern is important as it will help you reassure the client and close the sale.
I tell clients who express this concern that their worry is valid. However, a good way to gauge or estimate the outcome is to study the designer’s portfolio. This is one of the reasons why you should have a solid portfolio ready. Ultimately, you will attract more clients because of the work you have completed before than not. But, if the client does review your portfolio and is still not convinced, then it isn’t meant to be. I know that’s probably not what you were expecting to hear. However, it will save you a lot of time and energy if you simply part ways than try to persuade them to work with you. It will be much harder to please them when you don’t inspire them from the start.
Related: What Makes a Logo Great?
"Your Fee is Higher Than my Budget"
What happens when the client loves your portfolio, they request a quote, they want to work with you, but your estimate is out of their price range? The first thing you need to understand is that their concern is not simply about money, but rather justifying the expense. In order to address this issue, you must communicate the value of your service.
The first thing I do is to discuss my logo design process. I talk about crafting a creative brief based on their needs and objectives, doing research on their industry and competition, sketching ideas, developing 2-3 original concepts to choose from, preparing the presentation, and how feedback and edits work. This clarifies any doubts they have about the process, demonstrates professionalism and expertise, and reassures them the outcome will be tailored to them. Educating the client about the logo design process adds value to your service.
Next I talk about the deliverables in detail. Even though I usually list these in the proposal, most clients don’t understand what it all means. Therefore, taking the time to explain what a vector file is, high resolution vs. web resolution, and the utility of a logo style guide gives them the knowledge to understand the purpose of each deliverable and by extension adding even more value to the service you provide.
The more the client knows about your service, the more they will understand its value. Consider the following analogy. You get pricing from two bakers to make a strawberry cake for a special event. One of them quotes you a price that is significantly higher than the other. The baker with the higher price tells you they use Norwegian strawberries. You probably think, strawberries are strawberries, what’s the big deal about Norwegian strawberries? The baker then explains to you that Norwegian strawberries are world famous for their “tiny bursts of the most intense, delicious and intoxicating strawberry flavor.” They are grown during a very specific time of the year when they receive almost constant sunlight, are exposed to the perfect climate conditions, and are harvested for just a few weeks out of the whole year. In a few words, they are the perfect strawberries. All of a sudden you think strawberries aren’t strawberries if they’re not Norwegian!
Related: The Logo Design Process
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