A logo plays an important part in marketing your business. Some logos include the name of the business while others use business initials. Ideally you want a logo to be instantly recognizable. Logos should tie in or relate to your business in some way. The link between your logo and what you do helps people associate them together.

Unless you have designers on staff, you will likely hire out logo creation to a consultant. This post covers what you need to know before, during and after you hire a designer to create a logo for you. It is important to clarify what you expect and to get all deliverables before paying in full. This helps set expectations and protect your business's intellectual property.

What to Ask for When a Designer Creates a Logo for You

Before you start the logo design project

Before the project starts and before you find a designer, there are things you need to do first. Defining expectations first will make the work more efficient and should ensure the end result is what you want. Like any project that is creative, a logo, a website or a marketing campaign, the more you can communicate about your desires the greater your chances of being satisfied with the end result.

Once you have the important details listed below, provide them to your chosen designer or as a way to find the best designer for you. These details include:

  • Name of the company
  • Tagline (if you have one)
  • Type or purpose of business if not obvious
  • Demographic
  • Target market

Some other things to consider:

  • Design concept
  • Color scheme - important if you are already using specific colors with your business or there are certain colors that relate to your business type specifically. An example would be using green with a green energy company.
  • Logo type
  • Fonts - important if you have existing marketing materials or if you have a strong preference.
  • During the logo design project

    Be honest and as specific as possible with your feedback! This cannot be stated strongly enough. Designers are happy to accommodate your requests because they want you to be happy with the results. However, if they send over a proof and you say "It's not what I had in mind", and nothing more, you leave them little room to work with. Any designer can get worn out continually trying to come up with new and creative ideas for a single design when given vague feedback.

    Instead, give feedback more like:

    • I prefer the lettering be bigger compared to the size of the image.
    • I think the color is too dark, too blue, too bright.
    • Can you show me what a thinner / taller / wider font would look like?
    • Can we move the image next to the wording rather than stacking them?

    These are simple examples of appropriate feedback that will save both you and the designer time and frustration. The better your feedback, the quicker the designer can implement your changes and get you a finalized result, one that you will be happy with.

    At the end of the project but before paying the balance

    It might seem like you are done once the final version of the logo is complete. However, there are still a few things to consider and they are critical to your business.

    When your logo is finished, ask for the following items:

    • File formats - the absolute most important detail! Be sure you get your logo in the following formats:
      • Adobe Illustrator (.ai) - should include vector art and embedded fonts
      • Encapsulated Postscript (.eps) - vector file, one transparent and one opaque if possible
      • Portable Document Format (.pdf)
      • Portable Network Graphic (.png) - best for use with websites as they are quality images without being overly large file sizes
      • Joint Photograpic Expert Group (.jpeg) - for use when the quality is not as important
    • Font names - exact names of the fonts used in your logo. The fonts should be embedded in the .ai file, but knowing their exact names is critical so you can use the same font in other places like documents, brochures, printed materials, swag, etc. Keep in mind, not all fonts are free. Some can cost hundreds of dollars so if this is something you do not want to spend money on, explain this in the font section of your brief so only free fonts are used.
    • Colors - ask for the pantone color numbers used if applicable. Otherwise, ask for CMYK values and RGB/HEX colors used. Again, these are so you can match the colors later on your website and other materials like newsletters, etc.
      NOTE: If your logo is color, you may want to ask for a black and white version as well in case you ever have a need for it.
    • The reason it is important to get an .ai or .eps file is that they are the only file types that are vectors. Vector graphics can be resized either larger or smaller without a loss of quality. If you can only get one of these, ask for the .ai file as you can create an .eps file from an .ai file. If you do not get an .ai file, you may be forced to go back to the designer EVERY time you need the graphic sized differently for new projects.

      Demonstration of the differences between vector graphics and other types of graphic files.

      After you have the logo files

      Once you have the finished logos, save copies of them in multiple places, at least 3 to be safe. Also, make sure one of these places is a cloud based location. NEVER modify the original files! This cannot be stressed enough. If you need to modify a file for any reason, even if it is just a change in size, make a copy of the file before making any changes.

      It is in your best interest to control access to the original files to as few people as possible. It is far too easy to make a change and mess up a file without realizing it if you give open access to the originals. Plus, if you do not have file backups that support file retention, your originals will be lost. Keep copies of the originals in a folder where web designers, marketing and social media staff can access them. Never allow anyone access to the original files.

      Lastly, when creating new logo files for different marketing situations like the website, brochures, promotional products, etc., take the time to name the files appropriately to their use. This encourages everyone to use the files consistently and prevents people from wasting time creating new logo versions when they already exist. You may also want to add the size of the file in the name. For example, web_logo_300px_150px.png or something similar. This helps people find the right sized file more efficiently.

      A logo is an important part of any business. Before hiring a designer, take the time to detail what you want out of a logo. This can include font types, colors and more and the more specific the information the better. Give detailed feedback during the design process. Make sure you get all the information you need about your logo once it is done, including font names and color codes. Lastly, maintain the integrity of the logo files.

      As always, knowing what you should ask for will save you time and protect your investment!