How to hire logo designers
With so many talented logo designers around, how do you find the perfect one to design the logo of your dreams?
Having a logo designed isn’t too different from other custom work: Building a home, designing a wedding dress, or commissioning a family portrait. You have a vision, but ultimately whom you choose brings his or her own touch. If you can find someone who has the essence you’re looking for, that’s your sweet spot.
Of course, it’s important to find the right fit when engaging any talent for your business: Someone who communicates well, is easy to work with, and is good at what they do. But for projects as tactile as logo designs, there are other things to consider. A logo designer who’s a dream to work with will be able not only be able to interpret your ideas and your feedback, she’ll incorporate her own aesthetic to deliver exactly what you’re looking for.
We always emphasize laying the groundwork with a thorough job post, but for projects like logo design, what else can you do to find the best for you? Here are a few tips to zero in on the right talent for you.
Defining your logo design needs
Whether you want your existing logo tweaked for a fresh look or need a new logo from scratch, the key to a successful design project is a clear, thorough creative brief. Take a look at these 10 questions for successful logo design to give you an idea of what to mention in your design conversations.
The brief should also outline all of the goals for the logo you’re creating, including scope, timeline, and budget. Your logo design project will likely lead to a number of other design projects and changes, so factor that into your project roadmap as well.
Consider including any of the following logo logistics:
- Background information. What is your company or business? What products or services do you provide?
- Business goals and scope of the project. Explain the purpose of the logo and the logic behind your brand that should inspire it.
- Explain how the logo will be used. Will it be on letterhead, on a T-shirt, in a newspaper ad, or on the side of a building? This will dictate production of the logo, which can effect how it’s built. Will you need black-and-white versions, inverted designs, or simplified versions that can be used for multiple applications?
- Include your timeline and deliverables. Be sure to build in time for feedback and rounds of revision. Be specific about what file format you want the logo delivered in and any additional versions of it (e.g., RGB, CMYK, one-color, two-color, EPS files). Maybe you even want a kit like the example below that shows versions and where they can be used, with your color palette and any other guidelines.
Decide on your logo design style
Once you have the logistics of your logo out of the way, it’s time to nail down the style you’re looking for. Whether you or your designer creates a digital mood board or provides a handful of examples as a jumping-off point, it’s important to get visual. Familiarize yourself with the differences between emblem, lettermark, or wordmark logos so that you get what you’re envisioning.
Trying to describe your brand’s “style” if you’re starting from scratch can be overwhelming, so be sure to find someone with some branding expertise. Include a few of the following in your mood board:
- Photos that depict your style
- Shapes, borders, and shadows
- Other designs you like
How to shortlist logo designers
As you’re browsing available logo design consultants, it can be helpful to develop a shortlist of the contractors you may want to interview. You can screen profiles on criteria such as:
- Industry fit. You want a logo designer who understands your industry so they can design a logo that resonates with your target market.
- Portfolio. The best way to screen logo designers is to see examples of their past logo designs.
- Feedback. Check reviews from past clients for glowing testimonials or red flags that can tell you what it’s like to work with a particular logo designer.
How to write an effective logo design job post
Now that you’ve clearly defined your project deliverables, it’s time to write your project description. Be clear and succinct in your title and include any related expertise the designer should have, whether it’s knowledge of a software interface language or an understanding of technical jargon for your industry.
Below is a sample of how a project description may look. Keep in mind that many people use the term “job description,” but a full job description is needed only for employees. When engaging a freelancer as an independent contractor, you typically need just a statement of work, a job post, or any other document that describes the work.
Sample Project Description
Title: Logo Designer/Rebranding Pro to Create Logo for Relaunch of Renovated, Rebranded Seafood Restaurant
One of Anytown’s oldest surf-and-turf restaurants is known for its classic menu and old-school charm, but we’ve recently gutted and renovated the space and hired a new chef to modernize our menu and attract a younger crowd
New: Craft cocktails, local produce, refined sushi and ceviche dishes
Our current logo is an outdated typographic logo with a three-color shrimp graphic. We’re not wedded to the shrimp, and we’d like a fresh font and a new, lively color palette.
See attached a Pinterest board we’ve assembled with some inspiration, logos we love, and photos of our new space—think stainless steel, subway tile, and reclaimed pine.
Project Scope & Deliverables:
Logo will be used on menus, our website, and business cards, and we’ll need icons and versions for our social sites and Yelp page.
We’ll start with the logo kit and usage guidelines.
Rebrand needs: If all goes well, we’d love help redesigning other assets with the rebranded font/style guidelines
We’re Anytown Restaurant Partners and owners of four restaurants and one food truck in Anytown, US.
LOGO DESIGNER FAQ
What does a logo designer do?
Logo designers are graphic designers who specialize in branding services. From color schemes to typography, a logo designer can bring your brand messaging to life in a visual medium. They can create a logo that will fit on business cards, websites, brochures, and other marketing collateral.
Here’s a quick overview of the skills you should look for in logo design professionals:
- Graphic design tools such as Adobe Photoshop
- Graphic design skills such as color selection, typography, and layout design
- Branding and marketing basics
Logo design consultants help businesses craft the face of their brand.
Why hire logo designers?
The trick to finding top logo designers is to identify your needs. You know you want a logo, but have you considered where you plan to display it? At a minimum, you’ll want to request the appropriate file formats for mobile apps, websites, and print media such as brochures. The cost of your logo design project will depend largely on your scope of work and the specific skills needed to bring your project to life.
How much does it cost to hire a logo designer?
Rates can vary due to many factors, including expertise and experience, location, and market conditions.
- An experienced logo designer may command higher fees but also work faster, have more-specialized areas of expertise, and deliver higher-quality work.
- A contractor who is still in the process of building a client base may price their logo design services more competitively.
Which one is right for you will depend on the specifics of your project.
How to budget for your logo design project
Set Rates: Many logo designers will offer a set rate for a logo design. If your logo design is part of a larger scope of work, it’s more likely you’ll be engaging a designer on an hourly basis.
On Upwork, the rates top logo designers charge can range from as low as $25 dollars an hour to as high as $75 an hour, though most fall in the $35-50 range. Rates can vary due to many factors, including:
- expertise and experience
- scope of work
- market conditions
If your project has a short, non-negotiable deadline, know you may have to pay a premium to get the content you need delivered on time.
Common logo design mistakes
You know a good logo when you see one, but it’s also easy to spot a poorly designed logo or one that’s been distorted or improperly used. Avoid falling into the bad logo camp by avoiding these common logo design mistakes.
1. Designing a logo that isn’t easy to resize.
If you only view and approve your future logo blown up on a high-resolution screen, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. Scale it up and down to make sure it’s easy to see regardless of its size, or have your designer create an alternate, simplified version for smaller applications. A logo should be scalable, versatile, and easy to discern from far away.
Be careful about including too much detail for it to be clear and distinct when it’s scaled down or viewed from a distance. Also, consider the size and orientation of the logo in various applications. For example, a narrow vertical logo that looks great on business cards, signage, and letterhead can be difficult to incorporate into the header of a website without shrinking it down to fit the height of the content block.
Bottom line: Crisp, clear, and easy to see in various aspect ratios is better than overly intricate and hard to read.
2. Designing a logo that works well only in full color, not grayscale or black and white.
Set your logo up for success by keeping its colors simple, distinct, and crisp. For example, a logo that relies on seven shades of pink to visually make sense might lose its intent in grayscale or black and white. Moreover, those shades might not hold up in every application or on every device.
3. Choosing a logo that’s too trendy to be timeless.
You want your logo design to be fresh and modern, but following a trend that’s likely to be outdated in a few years isn’t the way to go. You want your logo to be timeless, not a flash in the pan.
Trends in fonts do come and go, so you can be faulted for riding the tide of certain designs. Err on the side of classic and you’ll be less likely to have to overhaul a tired design far sooner than you’d like.
4. Ignoring personality, readability, and mood of a typeface.
To the non-designer, it might seem that all fonts are alike. The reality is that nuances in the shapes of the words we read can affect our feelings toward and perception of what we’re reading. In some cases, fonts can make certain words sound different in our head as we read them. Put simply, fonts can make or break a logo.
Some typefaces are designed to make a bold impact and grab your attention, while others lend sophistication and elegance. Even differences as subtle as serif or sans serif fonts (those with or without curly ends on the letters) can impact readability. It’s crucial to choose a font that conveys your brand’s personality and also complements the logo icon as opposed to clashing or competing with it.
For example, if a French restaurant uses a fleur-de-lis in its logo and a curly cursive font, it might feel dated and overdone. Pair that classic icon with a simpler font, and the logo has a much more modern appeal.
Tip: Stick to a maximum of two typefaces in a single logo.
5. Resembling other logos too closely or lacking distinction.
The fleur-de-lis example above is a good one, because while classic, the symbol can be overused. Try not to rely on symbols and icons that can feel stale amid a sea of other logos unless your designer illustrates it to be distinctive enough.
Also, try to avoid using any stock art in your logo, and stick to original icons created by a designer. Otherwise you might run into problems with copyrights and exclusive licensing.
6. Creating raster-based files when you need vector files.
Design aside, how a logo is built is one of the most important things to consider. It can be drawn with pixels (a raster file) or with points and lines that are mathematically designed to look the same as the file expands and retracts (vector files).
Zoomed out, raster logos and vector logos might not look that different. But zoom in on a raster file or blow it up beyond its original aspect ratio, and you’ll see a heavily pixelated, blurry mess. If you have your logo delivered in a raster-based file (e.g., JPG, GIF, or PNG), you’re automatically limiting what you’re able to do with it. Note that while you can create large raster-based logo files in Photoshop, vector files are the smart way to go—both for scalability and for ease of editing down the road.
7. Using the same logo file across multiple applications without making appropriate adjustments.
Different file formats are required for different applications—period. The logo you’d use on your business cards will not be the same file you’d upload to your business’s Facebook page. Specify what you’re using your logo for and where, and your designer can deliver a package of files that have the aspect ratios you need.
Tip: Don’t try to resize a logo on your own unless you have the right software, such as Adobe Illustrator, and know what you’re doing. A distorted, warped logo is the quickest way to make your and your business look unprofessional.
8. Expecting design miracles on a budget.
Whether you’re designing a logo yourself, holding a design contest online, or using a site that offers cheap logo packages, don’t risk your entire professional identity just to save a couple of bucks. Chances are you’ll end up with a logo that looks as cheap as it was.
Logos might be small in stature, but they’re big in importance. Budget for them accordingly.
9. Hiring someone to design your logo and nothing else.
This is a good one to close out with, because it should help to set the tone of your search for the perfect logo designer. Logo creation is only part of a cohesive branding system, and your logo should complement and be tightly integrated with your other assets.
While a logo is certainly important, it’s wise not to focus on it as a standalone piece.
Tips and tricks to knock your logo design out of the park
Logos are one of the trickiest projects to get right. They have to be memorable, original, and able to convey a lot of information in one small graphic. A good logo can set you apart from the competition, make a great first impression with customers, and single-handedly convey who you are and what you do. Here we’ll dig into a few logo design and execution tips to consider as you embark on your logo project.
1. Make your logo easy to resize
This is an important logo tip for clients and designers alike. For clients, you should keep a “less is more” mentality as you review drafts. Before you get your heart set on an intricate design, make sure it looks as good shrunk down as it does blown up on a high-resolution screen.
For designers, be careful about how much detail you include. It’s helpful to scale a logo up and down to make sure it’s clear and distinct regardless of its size. A logo should be scalable, versatile, and easy to discern from far away.
2. Create alternate, simplified logo versions for responsive browsing
If resizing your logo isn’t an option, have your designer create alternate, simplified versions. These might be text-only or icon-only logos (glyphs). This way, when a user is browsing on a responsive site and shrinks the window down, your logo automatically converts to its simplified version at certain breakpoints.
You might also create design elements derived from your logo that can be used on their own to indicate menus, navigation, or buttons for a cohesive experience.
Also consider how your logo will look in various applications. Chances are as you review versions you’ll be seeing a standalone logo file. It’s important to see how the logo plays in different scenarios: print, mobile, business cards, and website headers. A narrow vertical logo might look great left-aligned on a business card, but when it comes time to flow your new logo into your website, that vertical design might limit what you’re able to do with your layout.
3. Create vector-based logo graphics—not raster files.
If you’re not creating responsive logo versions, you want your logo to maintain the same clarity and quality when it is sized up and down. Vector drawings are made up of lines and shapes that mathematically scale, which makes them much more scalable and resolution-independent than a pixel-based raster file that can get blurry or distorted.
4. Let your typeface do (at least half of) the heavy lifting
Imagine some of the world’s most popular logo designs, then substitute their custom font for Times New Roman or, even worse, Comic Sans. A designer can put a lot of effort into a beautiful, custom-illustrated logo and quickly take that design down a notch with a poor choice of typeface. Typeface and graphics are equally important to a logo; avoid taking shortcuts and diminishing your hard work.
A custom font can be a lot of work, but it will make your logo unique (and difficult to plagiarize). If you’re designing a text-only logo, have a little fun with letters—there are lots of ways to get creative with white space, including hiding messaging and symbols within it. Just be sure that your custom typeface is still legible when it’s small.
5. Stay focused on who you are and what you do
With all the trends in logo design, it’s easy to get caught up in what looks cool and lose sight of your logo’s core intent. For example, a pharmaceutical company’s logo is going to have a very different goal than a couture fashion logo. If you’ve given your designer plenty of context and a thorough brief, he or she should be able to choose the font and style that suit your brand.
Don’t sacrifice the opportunity to tell a customer exactly what you’re about at a glance for a trend or an out-of-character font. Focusing on the “why” of a logo design is the most effective way to ensure it’s doing its job.
6. Be clever!
Logos that make someone do a double take can be very memorable—and that’s what you want from a logo. Try a visual double entendre that uses an icon or graphic in addition to your name to create a play on words. Or add visual elements to text-only logos that make them pop.
7. If you’ve seen a logo trend done a few times, it’s probably past its prime
Fads come and go, but if you’ve seen one style of logo repeated over and over—like the “hipster cross” logo—steer clear. Customers are savvy and will likely notice a design they think is played out or ripped off. Of course it can be impossible to reinvent the wheel in some respects, and there’s always a chance your logo will be similar to someone else’s, but avoiding a logo trend that’s made the rounds can prevent a redesign a few years down the road.
8. Use color and gradients to give letters and illustrations more depth and meaning
Colors can have a lot of impact on how people perceive and react to your logo. There’s a whole psychology to colors and the way they make us feel.
Artistically speaking, playing around with colors can transform simple shapes and designs into more-complex visuals. If you do use colors to elevate your logo, make sure the design holds up when the logo is converted to gray scale.
9. Make subtle updates over time to keep your logo fresh
Keep an eye on how your logo is aging. You can make subtle tweaks and updates without changing your logo’s core design—much like how Twitter updated its bluebird logo with a more mature design after six years. You might not be able to fully drop your name from your logo as Twitter did, but updating the typeface or changing elements of your icon can signify growth and change.