The answer depends on the size of the company, the design process and the approval cycle. The cost of a design escalates when the approval process involves more than a couple of decision makers or the client becomes hands-on involved in the design process. A good design is based on an understanding of the desired results of the design, demographics of the target audience, the need to meet specific business goals, and maximizes readability to engage potential clients.
The design process needs to be collaborative between the designer and the client – to a point. I once had a new client who hadn’t worked with a designer before and kept making dozens of changes to a logo design so it fit her mind’s eye. I cautioned her about the escalating costs, and coached that the changes she was making wouldn’t affect the sales or help the company grow. Unfortunately the client was trying to recreate the visions she had in her mind’s eye, versus evaluating the results using a design brief to see if the design met its main purpose and objectives.
What is a best-practice process for a cost-effective and successful design? First, understand what a logo or a design is meant to be, and its main purpose. The design process must aim to make the logo or graphic immediately recognizable – inspiring trust, admiration, loyalty and an implied superiority to its customers. The design is just one aspect of a company’s commercial brand, and its shape, colors, fonts, and images should be different from other logos in the same market niche. Logo designs are used to identify the brand of a company, its products and services. Where to begin? Try the 6-step, best-practice process described below.
1. Start with a Design Brief – a completed questionnaire of the overall design objectives and branding goals. 2. Research on the company itself, the industry and competitors is paramount. 3. Ideas & Concepts. Get several design concepts that help determine a direction things needs to head in – to later be narrowed down. 4. Reflection. Let the designs sit and sink in, and then get a fresh perspective the next day. 5. Revise as needed. There should be solid reasons for change and tweaking the design – refer back to the Design Brief. 6. Final delivery of the design. There are many formats and medias that a logo or other graphic designs need to be able to work in, make sure before selecting a final solution, you see samples of its potential usage in all mediums.
Tip: Behind a great design is functional effectiveness; brand building awareness expertise, best colors to use for the target audience, eye flow manipulation, design dynamics that creates the best reader engagement, and moving the customer visually through the design to create a better user experience — all of which creates a higher level of perceived value. Trust your designer to know these things, or hire someone who does.
If you and your designer are both in the same mental place with the above, then you are probably a good fit for working together — and it will be much more cost-effective for you, and more inspiring for the designer.