Nathan and I were meeting with one of our trusty business mentors for lunch the other day, and we started talking about some of Nathan's new logo designs for Natril Gear. Our mentor told us to be very careful with our logo, because he said it could wind up being more important and recognizable than our business's NAME. Woah!
I had not realized the importance of our logo, but with that shocking news flash, we decided it might be a good idea to spend some money and hire a graphic designer. On our way home, I was thinking of logos that are as big or bigger than their names. Any of these look familiar?
I was all excited thinking about how cool our logo was going to be...until I started making phone calls to designers. Here are the questions I asked and the good/average answers I received when talking to graphic designers about logo work:
How much does it cost for you to design a logo for our company? (Average home business: $450. Average firm: $1000.)
Do we get all file types (tiff, jpeg, png, etc)? (They should say “yes”.)
Do we get our logo in a variety of colors (black & white, all-color, 2-color, etc)? (They should say “yes”.)
How many logo ideas do you initially create for us to choose from? (Should be at least 3. Most I was offered was 10.)
How long does it take before we can see your first logo ideas? (Average was about 1 week.)
How many revisions are included in the package price? (Should be at least 2.)
Do you have examples of logos you have previously created that I can see? (This answer should definitely be “yes”. If they don’t have examples you can see, or if you don’t like their examples, don’t hire them!)
I ran my questions by nine different graphic designers, and my biggest surprise was the prices. I couldn't believe that the LOW end of the range was around $450! Sure, if we get really big like Starbucks, then it will have been a good investment to spend $450+ for a logo, but 1) we’re not big, 2) we don’t have much money, and 3) Nathan came up with some good logo ideas on his own, so we have little motivation to spend big bucks on this anyway.
And then I found Chris. Chris is a young guy with a passion for graphic design but no degree, so he just does random jobs out of his home. I liked the work he had on his website, and he said his charge for a logo was $50-$100. I knew this price was as good as I was going to find, so I told him we’d hire him. Plus, as a bonus, he's a Christian!
For me, this hiring decision was all about 2 things - the money and the talent - but there is a third criteria that’s also good to keep in mind: their knowledge of and interest in your industry. Consider each criteria like a dart in a dart board. Which ones need to be a bullseye and which are ok if they're just close to the bullseye? For me, money needed to be a bullseye, talent needed to be close, and industry knowledge would be nice but wasn't near as important as the other two.
Even though industry knowledge wasn't a big player in my decision, here's why it's a good third criteria: The designer who is also an industry insider can use their knowledge to be to fine-tune your logo (or other graphic design work) to your audience better than a designer who’s just good at design but has no real industry knowledge.
I talked with a few designers who were heavy into the bicycling industry. (In fact, one answered the phone in his spandex bike shorts – he was on his way out the door to go ride when I called!) I was very interested in working with the graphic designers who were also bicycle enthusiasts, but they were just too expensive for us, so we had to turn them down. This is a great third criteria to remember when choosing a designer, though!
Nathan and I feel like the sacrifice of industry knowledge is OK in our case. If we wind up needing a new logo to more accurately convey the idea of our company to the world-wide masses someday, then we can always create a new one. As it is, we are thrilled with the talent and price of our chosen designer.
And now to end with a funny/crazy tid-bit about the designer we will be working with, Chris.
Only a few days after my first phone call to Chris, he called me and excitedly told me that “over the weekend” he had gotten a business partner, formed a business, found office space, and was up and running as C&C Graphic Design!
As a small business owner myself, I knew how exciting this was for him, so, I gave my best congratulations. But after I hung up the phone, I couldn’t help but feel like Natril Gear was an old lady with a walker who’d just been passed up by “that C&C Graphic Design youngster” in a supersonic jet or something! Up and running “over the weekend”…amazing!