We’ve developed a series of questionnaires for new projects (often new clients) to help establish a foundation of understanding — of them, their business, venture, company, or project. Answers to these questions are meant to help us figure out what the client needs and expects from a finished design.
Below I share with you the first of our questionnaires, specifically for logo design.
section 1.0 YOUR BUSINESS
- What is the name of your business?
2. Describe in one sentence your business/service. (Difficult but vital!)
3. If you are not a new business start-up — what are the reasons you want a new logo?
4. What are your business short, medium, and long term goals?
5. Who are your main competitors and how do you differ from them?
6. What do you like or dislike about your competitor’s branding?
7. Who are your potential clients?
section 2.0 YOUR LOGO
- Do you have a specific idea in mind for your logo?
2. Do you want to use existing brand colours or a particular range of colours?
3. Are there any colors that you do not want to use?
4. Do you have a particular font you would like to use — or ones you definitely do not want to use?
5. What words should describe your logo?
6. What message or emotion do you want your logo to portray?
7. Does your logo have a tagline? If yes, is your tagline to appear with your logo on all of your branding?
8. What logos do you like and why?
9. If this is a redesign, what elements from your old logo (identity) do you like or dislike?
10. Do you want your logo to include text only, text and graphic, or graphic only?
section 3.0 PRACTICAL BITS
- When do you want your logo to be web/print-ready?
2. What is your budget?
3. Would you like any additional design services alongside your new logo? (eg. business cards, letterhead and other stationery, social media icons/banners, advertising material, etc.)
4. Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
What we’ve learned
1. Face-to-face wins
As much as possible, we try to go through these questions with the client, in-person, during a coffee meeting. We also tend to probe a bit. For example, if we’re at Starbucks, I might start talking about the Starbucks logo and ask the client their thoughts on it. This tends to get them talking about what they find confusing or pleasing about different logo types.
2. Expressing their beautiful souls
My partner and I are both classically-trained designers (i.e. design-school designers). We were taught that a healthy amount of separation is needed between the client and their logo—the logo, after all, is meant to speak to some defined community that is not the client (nor the designer). However, we find that with small businesses (particularly new ones), it is important that the client feels some emotional attachment to their logo. A sense of pride in their business card, web site, or brochure (where their identity is the first point of representation for their business) will help them maintain the kind of confidence that’s needed in the early years.
3. Nothing beats process
Some clients will have a pretty robust idea of what they want in a logo. Some, in fact, may want two completely different logos that will still need to function within one, cohesive identity. These kinds of clients provide detailed answers to each of the questions, often with visual examples, making it difficult not to feel like a pencil in someone else’s hand, rather than an expert in your field.
On the other hand, there are those clients who haven’t given their logo any thought and, frankly, don’t want to—that’s why they’re hiring the designer. When working with this kind of client, you may feel like you’ve been blind-folded and asked to hit the centre of a dart board.
The role of the designer, as we see it, is to create a territory for co-discovery—where an idea can be held in hand, turned this way and that and, if needed, set aside for another. Where, through a process of asking, thinking, making, then asking again, we can zero-in on a solution that manifests pride and joy.
While the above-listed questions are a great way to start a conversation and, ideally, a relationship, fundamentally that’s all they are — the beginning.