That’s my phone vibrating (I hate ringtones and random phone noises so my phone stays on vibrate mode). “Hello, this is Jeff.”
“Hi Jeff, I need a logo designed, it’s for my non profit, so we don’t have a large budget. The name is Get Over It. I just need something simple, with a dog, a couple, and an ice cream cone. Do you have something you can show me?”
Believe it or not, I get this kind of call a lot more often than I’d like to admit. I don’t get upset or frustrated because I know the caller simply doesn’t know the reality of how logos are created. So here, I’m gonna give you the reality, versus what you believe to be true about what it is that I do. Im gonna do this by breaking down the imaginary phone call above and giving the real life anatomy of the conversation.
First of all, the caller understands that I don’t simply throw stuff together and call it a logo. She says, “I need a logo designed” indicating that I will need to take the time to actually put thought into the logo and design it. Steve Jobs said “design is not just what looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” My job as a logo designer is to create something that not only looks good and makes my customer (the caller) feel good. My job as a logo designer is to create something that will work to create a visual representation of the company that will allow all viewers to know what the company is about and brand that image into their brain and memory cortex within the first 5 seconds of viewing it. The only way that I know how to do this is that I will email the caller a questionnaire (or they can get it from the Works page, here on the site) which will answer most of the questions I may have to ask. After I receive the completed questionnaire, then we’ll have a conversation so that I can ask any additional questions I may have and also get a sense of the caller’s passion for what they do. As well as give her a chance to ask me any questions. Then I start researching, sketching, digitizing, and proofing, but that’s for another blog post.
The next part of the conversation says “it’s for a non profit so we don’t have a large budget”. I totally understand the concept of non profit and their budgets. And I’ll be honest, if it’s a cause that I support then I’ll find a way to help out. But 95% of the time, even though I may be in agreement with the platform of the organization, my business is FOR PROFIT and I can’t offer a discount on my time. When I design a logo what my customer is paying for is my time, my experience, my expertise, and my creativity. None of these things can be returned or discounted so it’s very difficult to offer a lower rate regardless of the status of the company. I require a 50% deposit in the event that after I have used my time, experience, expertise, and creativity the caller decides to back out of the deal. This way, I am at least left with something to show for my time, experience, expertise, and creativity. There’s a site that will sell you a generic logo for $5. Of course it won’t be customized to fit your business and anyone with $5 can have the exact same logo as you. Not to mention they’re very rarely any good, you get what you pay for. I don’t work for That company and my work will show and prove this.
The next part goes back to the questionnaire. There are about 12 questions on the questionnaire that will tell me what the needs, wants, and don’t wants are for the customer. These include the name exactly as you want it to appear, icons and images you want and don’t want on your logo, and more. So while I appreciate the passionate way the caller described what she wanted, there’s a very real probability that I didn’t write it down and it will get caught up in the myriad of other information stuffed into my mind that day and be forgotten. Please just fill out the questionnaire, it’s more beneficial for both of us, I promise.
Now to the final part of this made up (wink wink) conversation. ” Do you have something you can show me?” Wait, you literally just called 7 seconds ago. Before this. I had never heard of you or your organization. How would I have something for you to see? I don’t do templates, and I don’t do resales. Each logo is crafted to fit the company, their views, their mission, their target audience, and their needs. No, I don’t have anything to show you after a 7 second conversation. Do you want it done fast or do you want it done correctly? Rarely will you get both. Just fill out the questionnaire, pay the deposit, and then sit back and let me do what I do until you get that text from me telling you to check your email.
Well I hope this has helped you a little to understand the anatomy of a logo design commission. Now, to what email should I send the questionnaire?