One of the most satisfying parts of my job is delivering a website or logo and re-branding exercise that completely fulfills the client’s brief. This is also one of the most challenging aspects of the job though, as without a good brief, it is virtually impossible to meet your client’s requirements. When you are running your own business, or you have 101 other things to be doing at work, you don’t often have the luxury of time to sit and ponder the significance of upper or lower case, colour schemes and the merits of sans serif fonts.
This is where I come in. Now I can’t design a logo, but I know some great designers who can. So my job is to put together a brief for a new logo (for example), which the client then sits down and completes. This doesn’t mean that it is written in stone, but it is at least written, and it should draw out enough information from the client to enable the designer to make a start on a few concepts.
So how do you write a really great brief for a logo design?
A recent client and I worked on the following points which came together as a pretty good brief for the designer. The key is to keep it really simple, but comprehensive. Don’t be tempted to rush the process as you will almost certainly miss something that will prove to be important. So here are the key things that you should include in a logo design brief:
Full name of your company as you would like it to appear on your logo:
This is so obvious, but believe me it is worth spelling out precisely. Even the most basic company name can have possible variations when written down. With Toccaweb for example, I needed to think about capitalisation – did I want ToccaWeb? Did I want it to be the website domain or just the brand name? All worth thinking about.
Do you have a tagline that you want to include in your logo?
Some businesses use a tagline to explain what they do as part of their branding. If you want to have versions of your logo with and without a tagline, then add it here.
What is your mission statement? What does your company do?
This is really for the benefit of the designer, so they can get an idea of the client’s ethos and purpose. Although as an exercise it can be helpful for the client to work on explaining this clearly if they haven’t already done so.
Your website address:
Obvious but essential.
Who are your main competitors?
This is also for the designers’ benefit, so they can start to understand your industry and what kind of branding already exists in your sector. You may want your logo to fit in with what is already out there, or for it to look completely different.
Who are your audience/customers/clients?
Who is the logo going to appeal to?
Do you have any preferred colours or colour combinations?
This is one of those things that is hugely subjective, but everyone always has a preference. Best to be honest about it if you can’t stand pink for example, as you have to be happy with the logo for it to accurately represent everything that is positive about your business.
Do you have any preferred fonts? Do you have any preference as to upper or lower case?
Again, very subjective, but it can give the designer an idea of the direction you want to go in. If the font you really like just isn’t going to work for whatever reason, the designer will tell you.
Whose logo do you admire? Whose logo do you dislike? (Please explain why)
Not because you want to copy them, but understanding the reasons why you like or dislike someone’s branding will help the designer develop yours.
What kind of logo are you considering? (If you have no preference at this stage that is fine.)
This is worth explaining in more detail, as it helps to clarify the clients thinking around what they are expecting to get from their designer.
- Iconic/symbolic – where the logo is simply a symbol (for example Apple, Nike, Microsoft Windows). If you want to explore this avenue do you prefer the use of a pictorial symbol like Apple, or an abstract symbol like Nike or Microsoft Windows?
- Word mark – this means just text, where your written name becomes a styled arrangement of font and colours (for example Google, eBay). This works well for brands that have short, memorable names.
- Combination marks – text and symbol/icon like Starbucks which uses an integrated text and symbol, or Reebok, which keeps the text and symbol/icon separate.
What values, qualities or emotions do you want your logo to convey?
OK, here we need to throw in some describing words, but don’t go overboard! The fewer and the more precise, the better.
Values could include: trustworthy, respectable, fair etc
Qualities could include: customer focus, expertise, creative, inclusive etc
Emotions – try to differentiate between the emotions you want to convey with your logo, and the emotions you want to inspire in your customer or client. So you may want to convey your passion, your love of what you do, along with inspiring sympathy and excitement in your customer.
Think also about opposite abstracts – do you want something more “masculine” or “feminine” looking? Cutting edge or heritage/vintage feel? High tech or hand crafted? Contemporary or classic? The possibilities are endless here, but try to be as specific as you can.
What makes your brand and business different and better? What is your USP?
This is helpful for the designer as they will be able to extract your defining brand characteristics from your answer.It is also always a good way of reminding yourself why you are unique!
Where will your logo be used?
This is important for the designer if you are planning on using the logo in large scale as well as on stationery or online.
- Social media
Any additional comments:
Use this space to clarify any other aspects of your brand that you think may be of use to the designer. Remember that ultimately they are the experts, and while you may have something very specific in mind, it might not necessarily work as a logo. You are paying the designer for their expertise, so make the most of it!
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If you would like a version of this post as a PDF logo design brief template which you can use for your business, simply email me and I will send one right through to you!