Questions To Ask When Designing a Logo: A Designer’s Guide

Questions To Ask When Designing a Logo: A Designer’s Guide

A great logo design can capture a brand’s identity, attract your target audience, and serve as an instantly recognizable icon. Some logos become full-fledged pop culture icons, from the Nike swoosh to the once-bitten apple.

But how can a graphic designer pull that off while staying true to a client’s vision? Whether creating a brand new logo or helping a client with a redesign, the key often lies in asking all the right questions.

Throughout this article, we’ll supply you with examples of logo design questions to ask clients at each stage of the creative process. Each should help you gain valuable insights into how to turn your client’s vision into a winning logo design.

Table of contents:

Logo design basics

The fact that no two clients are alike is part of what makes logo design both exciting and challenging. A professional logo designer might work with an established client who knows exactly what they want one day and help a small business create a whole new brand identity the next.

For many designers, initial interactions with potential clients are about feeling out the project’s scope. Getting a sense of how much the client knows about logo design and how much thought they’ve put into what you want should give you a better idea of what the project will entail.

Laying the project foundation

The type of questions below can help you determine anything from how much to charge to whether a logo design project is for you. While most clients are happy to answer as few or as many questions as you like at this stage, to help you get started, try these basics:

  • What is your company’s name?
  • What industry are you in, and what products or services do you offer?
  • Are you looking for a new logo or a redesign?
  • Do you have a current brand style guide that includes brand color palettes, fonts, typography, and other elements you’d like me to work from? If not, would you like assistance creating one?
  • Do you have any initial ideas for your new logo?
  • Would you provide feedback on mood boards and design concepts based on questionnaire responses?
  • How do you prefer to communicate your feedback during the logo design process (e.g., written feedback, video calls, etc.)?
  • Are there any particular design software platforms you prefer?
  • Where will your logo be used (signage, print, merchandise, web, etc.)?
  • What is your timeline and budget?
  • Can you identify any potential challenges or limitations in the design process that we should consider from the outset?

Research and development

In some cases, an established client may supply you with a comprehensive design brief that makes this stage of the project incredibly straightforward. But you’ll need to do a little extra detective work if your client is a startup or a business looking for a branding makeover.

Helping clients craft a brand-new identity can be fun as long as you stay on the same page! In these cases, try putting together a questionnaire designed to help you gather the information you need to build the foundation of a solid strategy. Below, we discuss things you may want to include.

Brand identity and values

Attempting to create a logo for a company you’re unfamiliar with is like trying to paint the portrait of someone you’ve never met. Start by getting to know the company, its values, and its long-term goals by asking:

  • What is your company’s mission statement?
  • What is your company’s origin story?
  • What unique selling points convince customers to choose your brand?
  • What are your company’s long-term goals for the future?
  • What three to five adjectives describe your brand’s personality?

Some questions can also be presented as multiple-choice answers. For example, rather than asking your clients to describe their company in a few words, you might provide them with a list of adjectives. Ask them to look it over and circle the top three to five words they feel best describe their company.

Target audience and main competitors

Understanding the target audience your logo is intended to attract will offer helpful clues about which design elements will likely be the most effective. Reviewing the branding of your client’s competitors can also help them point out elements they do and don’t like.

Consider including these in your questionnaire:

  • What are the key characteristics of your target audience (demographics, interests, profession, etc.)?
  • Are there any new markets you’re interested in pursuing?
  • How do you want your logo to make a prospective customer feel when they meet your brand for the first time?
  • What are the core values and messages you want your logo to convey to your audience?
  • Can you list a few of your main competitors and explain what sets your brand apart from each?
  • Are there any competitor logos or branding strategies that you find effective or ineffective?

Example questions for logo redesign clients

If a client is interested in having you redesign their current branding, asking the right questions about why can give you a great deal of information. Some examples of the types of questions to consider asking include:

  • What do you like and dislike about your current logo and branding?
  • What elements of your current logo represent your brand’s identity and values? What elements don’t?
  • Are there any elements of your current logo you’d like to retain?
  • Do you have existing brand guidelines that need to be updated with the new logo’s specifications?

The design process

Now that you’ve covered the basics, you can start laying the groundwork for the logo design. Some clients will likely have a more solid idea of what they’re looking for than others. But if a client is open to exploring new ideas, then questionnaires and visual examples of popular branding can definitely come in handy during this stage.

Exploring logo design types

One of the most helpful logo design questions you can ask is, “What logo design type are you interested in?” But you may need to accompany this question with a little more information.

Whether they realize it or not, most people are already familiar with popular logos that use various styles. Consider creating a visual questionnaire with popular examples of the following logo types to help your client select the one that interests them the most:

  • Wordmark logos. A wordmark logo consists of the company’s name, usually written in distinctive colors and font. Examples include Coca-Cola, Disney, Mobil, and The New York Times.
  • Monogram (aka lettermark) logos. A monogram logo is similar to a wordmark but uses the company’s initials rather than its full name. Examples include CNN, NASA, H&M, and IBM.
  • Brandmark/icon logos. A brandmark logo consists of an icon that instantly identifies a company, whether or not it’s accompanied by lettering. Examples include the McDonald’s arches, the Target bullseye, the WWF panda, and Apple’s famous bitten-apple icon.
  • Abstract mark logos. Rather than a pictural icon, an abstract logo uses a distinct geographic shape or design that represents a brand. Examples of companies with abstract logos include Pepsi, BP, Adidas, and Mitsubishi.
  • Combination mark logos. Combination mark logos use both text and imagery. Examples include Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, Doritos, and Lacoste.
  • Emblem logos. Emblem logos use both symbols and text, all inside a unifying symbol. Famous emblem logo examples include Starbucks, Harley Davidson, and the NFL.
  • Mascot logos. Mascot logos are exactly what they sound like—logos featuring a famous mascot. Popular examples include KFC’s Colonel Sanders, Mr. Clean, and the Pringles man.

Exploring stylistic choices

While the examples in the question above may help some clients narrow down their choices, others may have a harder time deciding. So, we offer some additional questions to consider during the open stages of the logo design process:

  • Do you have a tagline or slogan that you’d like to incorporate into the logo?
  • Can you think of examples of logos, images, or branding that capture the essence of what you’re looking for?
  • Are there any themes, images, or other elements you’d like to avoid?
  • Should we consider any specific constraints (e.g., color limitations due to printing) in the design process?
  • What adjectives describe the look and feel you’re aiming for?
  • How do you feel about abstract vs. literal representations in your logo?
  • What are your thoughts on modern vs. traditional logo designs?

Using your client’s answers to create mood boards can be an effective strategy that helps them put their finger on what they’re looking for. A mood board is simply a collection of assets like photos, colors, fonts, design templates, or any other visual asset that reflects a certain vibe. Think of them like Pinterest boards for graphic designers.

Application and integration

By this point, you should have a good idea of your client’s brand personality and how your logo will fit into their brand strategy. But before you start the creative process, take the time to understand how your client’s logo will be used. You may need to include variations for color code formatting (Pantone, CMYK, RGB, etc.) or scalability.

Helpful technical questions

Depending on how your client plans to use the logo, you may need to ensure that it looks as great on a billboard as on a business card or as a social media icon. Some technical questions that can help you prevent scalability issues before they arise include:

  • What are the primary platforms and media where you plan to use the logo?
  • How do you envision the logo being incorporated into your website design?
  • Which marketing materials (website design, business cards, brochures, packaging) will the logo be used for?
  • What file formats and resolutions will you require for digital and print applications of the logo (e.g., AI, EPS, PNG, JPG)?
  • Are there any anticipated changes in your brand strategy or market position that could affect the logo’s application?
  • Do you need specific color variations, such as full color, black and white, or grayscale?
  • Will you need versions of the logo with transparent or different color backgrounds?

Refinement and revision

Revisions are a fact of life for graphic designers and other professional creatives. However, the more willing your client is to give constructive feedback throughout the design process, the more major revisions you may be able to avoid. Below we look at examples of questions that can help keep you on track to finalizing a great logo.

Asking for feedback

Few things are less helpful to graphic designers than vague feedback like “It doesn’t feel right yet.” Asking the right questions can increase your odds of getting far more helpful, specific feedback you can use. Try using phrasing such as:

  • How close do you feel the design comes to capturing your brand personality overall?
  • Are there any elements of the designs that particularly stand out to you, positively or negatively?
  • Are there specific colors, fonts, or symbols in the designs that you would like to modify?
  • Considering your feedback, which design elements are most crucial to revise in the next iteration?
  • Do you need the logo’s design elements (e.g., icon, wordmark) as separate files for more flexible use?
  • Are there any additional considerations or features you’d like to see incorporated before finalizing the design?
  • After the final delivery, how would you prefer to handle any questions or further needs related to the logo?

Remember, your client is probably not a professional graphic designer. Pinpointing what they do and don’t like may not be as easy for them as it would be for you. Asking detailed questions can go a long way toward helping them figure out exactly what it is that they’d like to see changed.

Finalizing and delivering the project

Before handing over your final project, do one last check to make sure it aligns with any feedback your client has provided. If your client has asked for help creating or updating their brand guidelines, now’s the time to focus on gathering the information you need to complete the task.

Final questions

Brand guidelines come in all shapes and sizes, so knowing what your client prefers upfront can be very helpful. Some questions that can help clarify the final stages of your project are:

  • Which elements would you like included in the brand guidelines (e.g., logo usage, color palette, typography, imagery)?
  • Are there any restrictions on logo modification or contexts in which the logo should not be used?
  • Do you have specific requirements for the logo’s appearance on social media profiles?
  • How detailed do you want the brand guidelines to be in terms of do’s and don’ts for logo application?
  • Would you like guidelines on the minimum size of the logo to ensure legibility?
  • Would you like a walkthrough or training session on how to implement the brand guidelines?
  • Are there any additional materials or designs (e.g., business cards, letterhead, website) you will need to incorporate the new logo into?

Find your next logo design gig on Upwork

Professional logo designers are pivotal in helping businesses create successful brand strategies. Asking the right questions can help remove the stress of the logo design process for you and your clients. We hope you’ve discovered some helpful hints on how to align with your next logo client’s overall brand strategy and long-term goals.

Looking to put your newfound knowledge to work? If you’re a logo designer searching for your next job, head to Upwork to connect with clients in need of logos.

Or perhaps you’re looking for a designer to bring your new logo to life? Upwork would be happy to help you engage the perfect logo designer for your next project.

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Questions To Ask When Designing a Logo: A Designer’s Guide
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Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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