This post is intended to help designers at the beginning of a logo design commission. Although if you are a client, thinking about the questions posed here can really help get you off to a good start.

You could email these questions to your client; but a conversation, either in person or as a call, can help you bounce ideas together and can ensure that you get all the information you require. The whole point of this process is to flesh out the brief – meaning that you are much more likely to produce something that meets expectations.

What is the name of your company?

You may have even heard of the business before… Write the name down in uppercase and in lowercase, the shape of the resulting text and the relationships between characters can give you ideas to work with even at this point. There could even be an interesting story behind the name, try to find out!

In what line of business does your company operate?

They might import bananas, clean offices, or audit computer software… Whatever it is, the services that the company provide is important for you to know. The resultant logo might not be a literal representation of the service or product, but this knowledge can certainly inform the design process.

How old is your business?

You could be dealing with a start-up or a well established company seeking a refresh. If they have an existing logo, enquire as to the reason they are updating it, and if there are any elements of the existing graphic that they would like to retain.

a man and a woman discuss a project on a sofa with a macbook computer

Who are your competitors?

The answer to this question can heavily influence the next stage of the design process: which I suggest is to research how competitors market themselves, and what their visual branding looks like. You can then identify design trends amongst these companies. Decisions can be made on whether there is a good reason for a trend, and if this business should utilise the same design choices; or if it is appropriate, to completely stand out from the competition.

Is there anything that sets you apart from your competitors?

Anything that distinguishes this business from its competition is very useful to know. They could for example, be focused on providing services locally, or being the fastest/cheapest/most luxurious version of what they do.

What is the target audience for your business?

Discuss the age range, gender, location, and income level of the intended customer base.

What three words would you like people to associate with your company?

This is a very useful question, and can really get you both thinking about the business brand, and where they want to be. At the very least, you can look up visual connotations to these three words and see if there is anything worth exploring at the design stage.

What do you intend to do with your logo?

Explore the various applications of the graphic. What size is it likely to appear at, and in what context? Will it appear on vehicles, or clothing, for example; or will it need to be applied to a textured surface? (and still be legible of course). Think about how customers will engage with the graphic – a logo that mainly appears on the side of a van probably shouldn’t be highly detailed given it might only be in view for a second or so.

a female hand holds a pen above a notebook

Can you think of any logos that you like/dislike? Are there any elements of design, such as colours, that you do not like?

Again this is a question that can help increase the chances of delivering something that the client will approve of! Hopefully asking this won’t put them on the spot, but if it does, offer to follow up via email which would give them time to consider a response. Importantly, ask them why they feel this way about the examples given.

The second part of the question can inform you of any strong feelings the client has. If they detest green, even though you might find it the most apt colour for the brand, you will have a job convincing them to use it! Whatever comes up, it’s best to get these things confirmed at the start of the process.

Do you have a budget in mind for this project?

Hopefully you can give an indication of how much the process might cost in the end and this matches to the clients expectations. Whether you work for a flat rate, or charge by the hour, ensure you allow time for research and for design revisions. Get your terms written up in a contract document that the client must sign to accept before the work starts.

Are there any other stakeholders for this project?

Here you are looking to establish whether sign-off from other parties is required for the logo. There might be another business partner with ideas and tastes of their own.

Does this project have a deadline?

There might be an important launch event coming up, or they may be putting off new business cards until the logo is done. Whatever the situation, you need to be aware and you can then manage expectations!

Header Image: Sticker Mule on Unsplash.