13 Key Questions to Ask Before Starting a Logo Design

A successful logo is created by having excellent communication between the customer and the designer. To provide the client with several relevant logos to choose from, it is crucial that the designer understands the preferences of the client. The best way to narrow down a client’s preferences are by asking the right questions before the design process begins.

1. What is the name of your company?

To start, it is obviously important to know what the name of the company is that needs a logo. In some cases, the name of the company is the logo; in other cases, the name is often incorporated into the logo design. The length of the name also has to do with the type of logo that is created.

2. Do you want to emphasize specific words?

This is a great question for those companies with longer names, made up of multiple words. The client may not want to give all the words the same importance in the logo. Sometimes a client will prefer that words stand out to emphasize certain parts of the company name. Companies like “YouTube,” for example, keep the text the same size since neither word is more important than the other.

3. Do you have a tagline that you would like to include?

While it is not recommended to add a tagline to the logo itself, it is still an important question to ask upfront. If you would like the tagline included, I recommend having a logo version with and without the tagline, so you can use either as necessary.

4. What type of business does your company do?

This is not always clear based on the company name, and it is imperative that you recognize it. Different businesses call for different types of logos. From first glance, one should have an idea what the company does and what it is about. This does not necessarily mean you need to have a specific image related to your business, but it could refer to the straight lines of an architectural logo or a fun and playful candy company logo.

5. Who is your target audience?

Designing a logo that the client’s customers are attracted to is just as important, if not more so, as creating a logo design that the client feels is appealing. The overall taste of your logo should differ based on your audience. If you have a toy company, you are going to want several bright colors to appeal to the kids who would want the toys. If you are a corporate business, I recommend a clean and simple design with one or two colors. 

6. What sets you apart from your competitors?

Each logo needs to be unique to make your company brand stand out from the thousands of others in the same field. If you own a coffee shop having a coffee cup in your logo is not going to make you stand out. The mermaid in the Starbucks logo has become internationally recognized due to its deeper meaning than another “coffee” logo. Base your logo around the specifications of your company or something that distinguishes you from your competition.

7. What do you like (or dislike) about other logos you have seen?

Sometimes clients have no idea how to put their preferences in words, and a designer needs to figure it out. If clients can identify that they prefer a certain style (bold, masculine, classy, retro, pretty, simple, clean, etc.) or if they know they he/she definitely do not want specific font styles or imagery, all of that is helpful for the designer. Still having a hard time? Get together a few other logos that appeal to you as the client and send them to the designer working on your company logo. It also helps to identify your favorite logos. Typically, clients want their logos to look like the other “favorites” they have identified. While you might have a difficult time pinpointing what you like, it may be evident when the designer sees other logos that attract you.

8. Do you have a color preference?

What colors do you want (or not want) in your logo? Do you prefer one color or multiple colors? Even if you have no idea, the designer can show you multiple color options for you to compare. I typically design a logo in black and white until a final design is approved, so the colors do not distract clients from choosing the logo design they find most appealing. Once the final design is approved, I will send options with multiple color combinations or hues.

9. Do you prefer a logo that is all text, just an icon, or text with an icon?

This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself as a client, before going to a designer. In order to make the best use of your time and ensure that the designer is sending you what you would like to see, narrow down if you prefer logos with all text (i.e. Google, FedEx), an iconic logo (i.e. Apple), or if you would like the text and icon incorporated together. Text and icons can be incorporated like the Make-a-Wish Foundation graphic or an icon can be separate from the text like the NBA logo. Logos can also be made to resemble badges or seals. Make sure you go over with your designer the logo style you have in mind.

10. What are your thoughts about abstract graphics and graphics related to your business? What about a logo based on the company initials?

The Nike symbol is an abstract graphic, but the NBA logo’s inclusion of the basketball player is a logo with a business-field related graphic. Logos based on the company initials are many of the designer brands like Coach, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel. These are the three types of ways to include a graphic with a client’s logo.

11. Where is your logo going to be used?

This might sound like an obvious question–everywhere, right? Well, what the designer really needs to know is if you are going to want your logo embroidered, on promotional products, or just online. Embroidered logos require a simpler design that will still look clean through embroidery. Colors are also usually limited, and effects like gradients and shadows are much harder to display, so one to three solid colors are best. Promotional logos might be used on something as small as a sticker or a pen and as large as a billboard, so the logo needs to be easily scaled and reproduced. A good rule of thumb to is to make sure your logo looks good when it is only one inch. Logos typically are not smaller than that, and if it is hard to read at that size, you should simplify your design to make it more universal in its usage. Logos that are solely used online, however, can use a much wider color palette and effects such as gradients, shadows, or three-dimensions.

12. Do you have an existing logo? If so, do you want to keep any of the same elements?

If this is your first logo design, you can skip to the next question as this does not apply. If you are rebranding your company or just looking for a completely new logo, talk with your designer about whether you want to keep existing elements from your previous logo. You could keep anything such as the layout, colors, icon, text, etc. You have the option to forget your old logo completely or to refurbish it to make it more timeless.

13. Do you have any ideas of something specific you would like to see?

Many business owners think about ideas for their logos before even approaching a professional designer. Sometimes clients have specific ideas in their head that they would like to see, or they have a general concept but are not sure how it would turn out. Whether you have your own ideas or are leaving it completely up to the designer, both are viable options. Bringing your ideas to reality is part of why you are hiring a designer, so do not hold back if you have a specific idea.

Even the most experienced designer is not a psychic. Let’s be honest–everyone has different tastes, so getting into the mind of a client is not as easy as you might think. By reviewing these questions with a client, the designer will be able to better determine what the client is looking for in a logo design. An initial proof will be sent to the client for review, and any requested changes will be then be done.

To get started on your logo design or company rebranding, contact Madeleine Romano at info@madeleineromano.com. We can go over your project goals together. Cheers!

Madeleine Romano is a graphic designer, based outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was recently designated the Best Graphic Designer of 2020 by Bucks Happening Magazine. Madeleine works with companies throughout the United States.

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