So you've decided to go for it-you're ready to choose a design company to create your logo and other marketing materials. It seems easy enough. After all, when you make a purchase online of, say, a book, you simply go to an online bookstore. You already know what you're buying. But now it's not so clear. You do a search for "design companies" and hundreds of names pop up, all claiming that they are the ones who should do your logo.
Welcome to the virtual design world-beyond the fancy Web sites and fancier claims, some do not even have a portfolio, a pricing policy, or a work philosophy. The virtual world is a place where traditional gestures of trust-a handshake and looking-in-the-eye-don't exist. You want to proceed with caution. So what should you do?
To help you along, read the following points. They'll help you figure out which companies you might want to consider.
1. A design company must be creative.
Creativity does matter. It seems obvious, but many firms lack the creativity and originality it takes to keep their work fresh and interesting. Which is what gets and keeps customers interested. Without creativity, a company is not a design company but merely a place to shop for tired old logos.
2. Look at the portfolio. It tells you a lot about what the firm is all about.
Yes! There is intelligent life beyond those Nike swooshes. Lots of thought goes into good design. If a company has a versatile and varied portfolio, you can get a good idea of whether it'll be a good fit to your business. Even if the portfolio doesn't contain a piece that directly relates to you, it can tell you what the company is capable of doing.
3. Read the testimonials
It's not the amount of testimonials presented, it's whether or not they're for real. Anyone can put 300 testimonials on their Web site and claim they're from actual clients.
The only testimonials that count are ones that come from real people whom you can e-mail to check references.
4. Does price matter to you? Read between the lines.
Here's another tough question. What is cheap, and what's expensive? To come to a conclusion, you must know exactly what the companies you're comparing are offering. Some may charge $20.00 but are selling templates: logos that are pre-designed that no one owns the rights to, and therefore can be copied. Is that what you want for your business?
5. Experienced designers?
No one can measure a designer's experience simply by years. The amount of time matters, but the designer must have a strong aesthetic sense when dealing with fonts, colors, and illustrative elements would be qualified to say what's the best solution for you.
6. Can I trust this company?
Whether in the virtual or real world, if you do not trust a person or company you will not do business with the individual or company. Send inquiries, view their portfolio, give them a call, read their testimonials, and check references. Then ask if their prices and portfolio are a good fit. If everything checks out, then perhaps they're the one for you.
7. Relationship: The secret to a successful design project.
You've decided to hire a design company to develop your logo because you want to hear ideas. Real ones, not ones dreamed up by a brother-in-law of neighbor who happens to be a computer nerd. You deserve better than that. You want a design firm with courteous service, technical know-how, and professionals who listen to you and understand your needs.
About the author:
Eduardo Pereira is Creative Director
and Project Manager at ImageLogos.
For 15 years he has provided services to ad agencies and printing companies and has served as an online design consultant.