What’s in a good logo design brief? And why do designers need “so much” information before designing a logo?
Today the topic is all about the questions you should ask your clients before you even start on their logo design for their visual brand. Why is this step of asking specific questions so critically important? I’ll tell you why! The logo design you’ll be designing is the foundation of your client’s visual brand. If you don’t have the facts upfront – about their company’s needs, their target audience, and even what they like – how will you be able to capture everything they need in one solid mark that will represent their entire company? The logo design you create will most often be the first impression they make to their consumers.
As graphic designers, our main job is to be excellent visual communicators. With that in mind, if the right questions aren’t asked ahead of time – then how can you best serve your client, if you don’t know what their company is fully about or who they need to communicate to?
This is where our lovely little friend… the design brief comes in.
Let me walk you through each of the 11 questions I ask every single one of my brand new logo design clients to fill out. You may use these same questions for your own design brief, or modify however you’d like! I want you to be well equipped so you can reach the highest success in your own creative business or graphic design freelancing career.
Full name of your company as you would like it to appear on your logo:
This question is an obvious one, yet can oftentimes be overlooked! A time could come where you may assume your client’s company name is spelled one way, and then once you get the design brief back, you see that it was actually spelled quite differently than you imagined during your consultation with them. Asking this question will surely save you an episode of embarrassment and unprofessionalism somewhere down the line – I know it has for me!
Do you have a tagline/slogan that you would like to include under the company name within the logo? If yes, please list.
This question is good to know, as some companies require a tagline and others don’t. By asking this question, it eliminates you having to incorporate another new typographical element into your design, after you have already done the work of carefully planning and executing your design mockup one way – and then later having to introduce a whole new line of text into the design that you didn’t plan for. It’s good to have all elements upfront, so you know what you’re working with to best plan out the design composition from the beginning.
Do you have a website? If so, please list:
This question is very helpful. If they do have a website, you will be able to go to the website and possibly find out even more in-depth information about their company. If they do not have a website, perhaps that is another service you will be able to offer them down the road to expand their visual brand across the web and put their new logo into action! See what we did there?
Please provide a one – two paragraph clear description of your company:
This is a great question to ask your client, as it will give you an even clearer view of their company than you may have gotten from them during your design consultation, or through prior email conversations. It will also help to have this specific paragraph to read while brainstorming ideas to communicate what the company is about.
What is the story behind starting your company? story of choosing your company name?
You will never know that some of your client stories will be very inspirational to create their logo design. Also it will make the design have a story and be a part of their mission and their business story.
Vision and/or Mission Statement of your company in one sentence:
This question is insightful and important for your client to really hone in on. Since your job as a designer is to help your client propel their business into the next level with their new visual branding, it is helpful to know where your client sees their company going in the future for growth. As a designer, you want to help your client bridge that gap through the clean, modern logo you create. Knowing what their company vision and mission is, will help you so you can best serve and support your client’s future goals through your final logo design solution.
Please list at least one (or more) competitor(s) that are along the same field of work as your company and list their website(s) for reference:
It’s good to see what competition is out there from already established brands. As a designer, having the specific web addresses of your client’s immediate competitors will give you a good sense of how strong their competition is, what’s working already in their industry and will help you dig deeper so that you can find the best leverage point to bring your client to the next level in their business and give them an edge-up on the competition.
Who is Your target audience?:
This series of questions is quite possibly one of the most important questions you can ask, as this audience is who you are designing the logo for in order to best serve your client. Knowing the ideal “person” you are designing for will set the tone for the logo. It’s good to get as specific and well defined as possible for the best setup for success. Do you need a playful logo to fit the audience? Or a more serious, mature logo? Are your consumers younger or are they of the older generation? Knowing these things will help you to define the feel, and then design the best solution for your client.
Do you have specific colors that you would like to see within the logo/branding (please indicate if the colors you list are a guideline or if they are a set choice that must be worked with):
Perhaps you are involved in a re-branding project, and the brand already has specific colors they are working with. This is good to know so you can stay consistent with the brand. Colors are one of the most essential elements for immediate communication. If your client has a specific color in mind for their brand, and it aligns with their company’s message, then it would probably be most beneficial to work in those colors. However, if you feel that a particular color is an even better solution for the company, then keep in mind that you are the professional, and it would be to your client’s advantage for you to provide them with the option they would like to see as well as your color choice as an alternate. Also, explain your reason why you chose the colors that you did so that your client can see your vision and decide between the two with some thought.
3-10+ keywords of the first impression you would like to make to a new viewer when viewing your logo/branding -what emotions or reactions do you want your logo to evoke? (ex.: bright, professional, friendly)
The keyword list is excellent to have and is actually a quite new addition to my own design brief. I have found it incredibly useful the past few months as the keywords my clients have given me have ignited sparks which led to many great and new design ideas. This all happened just by visualizing the meaning and emotion behind a single word or two. Once I have that spark or feeling from a particular keyword or combination of keywords they listed – I work to integrate it with the logo design I am creating for them. This exercise brings me back to my time in the design program, when my classmates and I immediately had to paint the first thing that comes to our mind after our professor said a specific word. Coming up with an illustration of what the essence of that word was visually is one of the most fun and creative tasks to work on.
Please list two logos/brands (and their websites) that you admire for inspiration for your logo design and indicate the specific reason why you like them.
It great to ask this question so that you can see what your client’s specific tastes are and to see why it is they like certain aspects of the designs they have chosen to share with you. It is also good to go out and gather more inspiration on your own as well so that you can look to other design treatments which oftentimes leads you to explore another whole realm of ideas that may not have come to your mind otherwise.
Anything else that you believe may be helpful for me to know before moving forward:
This is a highly important question to ask, as most often there is always something that your client will still want to express to you about their logo design, that they may not feel is appropriate to tell you at any other time. Giving them that open ended question will allow them that free opportunity to tell you whatever they would like to share with you before you begin work.
So, what did you think? Did that help you out? Are you going to create your own design brief today and implement some or all of these questions? If so, tell me about it by leaving a comment in the comments section below!