How do I present logo concepts to a client? In reverse order how I received the job.
In college, I found that I wasn’t very inclined toward math (I flunked intro to math), but found that I could dodge all math courses by taking philosophy classes such as Intro to Physics, Intro to Philosophy and, most importantly, Principals of Argument and I excelled at these.
While I never would have used the math skills taught in my marketing/design future, I actually use the basics I learned in Principals of Argument every time I secure a new project, in particular logos, as they are so integral to building someone’s best brand.
Principals of Argument teaches that if you find the basic premises that someone wants to communicate and you irrefutably supply the conclusion to those premises, than you’ve solved the problem. With design, however, you also have to have the skill to supply the one intangible: aesthetics.
Suppose you have a commercial telecommunications company that is looking for a new logo and you’re lucky enough to be contracted for the job. In your interview, you want to have a thorough conversation with them to find their deepest passion behind their company and biggest strengths and desires — so you need to ask the right questions and LISTEN a lot.
When you feel you have the answers to these questions, you repeat them back to them to make sure you all have clarity. It may go something like:
“You expressed that you want your logo to represent:
Technology/innovation. You want to look like you supply state-of-the-art solutions.
Connectivity. You need to communicate the importance of corporations to be connected in every way possible to their team, clients and prospective prospects.
Professionalism. You need to look like a brand with staying power, not a mom and pop shop that may not be around to service them when tech updates 3 years from now. “
When you adjust this to the key players liking, you now have your mission. You must design several versions of their logo that fulfill all the above premises, and if you can do that in an aesthetically pleasing manner, you will succeed.
The process of developing a logo that fulfills client’s desires AND is aesthetically pleasing
Doing this is easier said than done. For me, it takes a lot of throwing up all my trite ideas on paper, work past those to develop more interesting concepts, then refine the ones with potential in Illustrator. Then refine and refine some more. Simplify. Then whittle done my good ones so that I present 3–5 versions.
Don’t give a client too many choices
Otherwise, you’re asking them to play art director and you’ll expect them to have more influence over the design than you: Disaster!
I typically present my Big Three (or so) headed by the Premises agreed upon, and then I make a few notes alongside each solution explaining how it solves the problems (premises) presented perfectly.
I explain how 50% of the time clients will fall in love with one and we’ll be done with this initial phase of brand development. And 50% of the time the client will like certain things about one version and certain things about another, I then go back and revise accordingly, and we can usually wrap up from there.
And my contract ALWAYS states that there are a maximum of three revisions. After that, we go hourly. This again prevents the client from having his/her spouse, colleagues and siblings play a role in becoming pseudo-art directors from hell. I go into avoiding people taking over art direction in more detail here.
And today, I always present my concepts virtually. I’m not going to Mad Men it” with presenting printed concepts on an easel unless someone is going to pay me well to do so. Recently, I created a personalized video of my proposed logos, because, as I told my client, I thought they had some deeper concepts that I wanted to make sure I conveyed.
Final thoughts on logo presentations
I always say that a logo is often the first impression of your business and bad first impressions are hard to overcome. So, I think your logo, and entire brand, should be taken very seriously. But budgets also have to be considered. So, a company that is smart enough to contract a professional to develop their brand, will usually see the value in having their concepts presented virtually, in a thoughtful and professional manner. But you may want to back up your recommendations with some quick, easy and fun market studies to show your real professionalism.
- I originally wrote this article in response to a question on Quora, “How do you present a final logo to a client?”
Over 50 Starting Over is my DIY program for the not-so-technically inclined that want to create their own lead generating online presence. It is powered by my years of experience providing these services with my company EdwardsCom.net. Barry Edwards, author.