Client discovery and obtaining vital information to design a great logo

To make sure I design a meaningful logo for my client, there’s a lot of research that had to happen before I even start sketching.

It’s important to understand that just as I am a professional logo designer, my client is a professional in their field. They’re going to know more about it than I do, and they obviously know much more about their brand and their target audience – two vital resources needed for designing a great logo.
So before I even begin the designing process, there’s quite a few steps that need to happen.

It Starts with a Questionnaire

The very first step to designing a logo is to have the client fill out a questionnaire. This will provide me with the information I need to start researching their business, industry, and target audience. The questionnaire also gives me an idea if we are going to work well together.

Before I can design a great logo for any client, I need to understand their business, their brand, and their target audience.

Initial Review

When I receive a project request, I’ll set aside some time within the next day or two to analyze the information provided from the questionnaire. During this time, I’ll take notes and start compiling some followup questions based on the information I have received.

As I mentioned above, the questionnaire is only meant to give me the slightest idea of who the potential client is and if we are going to work well together. Because of this, there’s going to be a lot more information that I’m going to need before I can begin the project and there’s no better source than the actual client.

Compiling Questions

As I’m reviewing the information provided by the client and as I do my own initial research, I will compile a comprehensive list of specific question questions tailored to the potential client.

Some of these question questions can include:

  • Where you see your business in the near and long future?
  • What is your history in the field?
  • How can we avoid failure for the project?
  • What else should I know about your target audience?
  • What will designing a successful logo do for you?

This in-depth list of questions will allow me to create the best logo for my client.

Remember, I didn’t know anything about the client before filling out the questionnaire. Those initial questions are only meant to get the ball rolling, so I will need to ask the client more in-depth questions to truly understand the client, what makes their business unique, and the scope of this project.

Once I have finished writing up my questions, I will email the client to schedule a time to meet. Depending on our distance from each other, we can either talk over the phone or over video chat (Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, etc.) for long-distance, or if the client is closer to where I am, I will do what I can to meet with them in person.

Discovery Meeting

During our meeting, I will ask my questions and note the client’s answers. I may even record our conversation so I will have the recording to go back and review (this is extremely helpful if I missed something in my notes). Of course, if I want to do this, I will first ask the client for permission first to make sure they are okay with me doing so.

During this meeting, I ask the client to feel free to ask me any questions about me and my process as well. I believe they should get to know me just like I am learning about them!

Once our meeting has concluded, it’s back to work.

Writing Up a Design Agreement

Next, to make the project official, I will write up a design agreement which will include the duties of each party, this includes

  • the scope of the project – what I will be designing for the client,
  • the total cost of the project,
  • the overall schedule – when the client can expect to see their new logo,
  • what happens if something doesn’t go according to the agreement, and
  • other various details that will provide clarity to both the client and me about this project.

This agreement is essentially a contract, but written out in plain english. The design agreement’s sole purpose is to protect both of us and provide clarity on the entire project -no surprises.

Now, even though I try to make the agreement easy to understand by omitting jargon that might be confusing, I want to make sure we are both on the same page with the agreement.

When I email the design agreement to the client, I will either call the client or explain the contract in further detail in the email to make sure they completely understand what it says.
At this time, we can discuss if there are any changes that need to be made to the agreement and I can send over a revised copy that we both agree on (hence the name “design agreement”).

Signed and Paid

The last step before I start the project is to have the client send me a signed copy of the design agreement and a 50% down payment. This way we have documentation on the agreement, and I know I will get paid for my work.
Assuming the signed contract and the payment are sent to me by the date outlined in the design agreement, I will get started on project as scheduled.

What Happens if I Don’t Think We Will Work Well Together?

If it does not appear that we are going to work well together, I will stop the progress before the project starts. I do not want to waste either the potential client’s time or mine on a project that will lead to a difficult situation or relationship in the future. I will be doing us both a favor so that the client can find someone who will provide them with a solution they would prefer.

I will contact the person inquiring about the project and inform them that I am not the right designer for the project.

Starting up a project can be quite intimidating. There’s a lot of information you have to get before you know you have everything you need to start designing.

What concerns do you have about the pre-project process? Tell me below.

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