Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How I Lost a Potential Client Today

I received a call this morning from a potential client who turned down my branding proposal. He felt it was out of his budget and wanted to pursue a package with a local competitor. His price was half, which is a great deal, but after looking at the competitors work, I quickly knew why. More on that later.

Branding is in the design spotlight these days. I've written in the past about how a logo is born, but today I want to talk about what makes a professional logo designer.

Where Is Your Logo Designer from?
Many "companies" out there offer logo design at $1 to start with unlimited revisions. Others offer a complete logo for $99. Sounds like a great deal, right? The truth is many of these companies work with a design partner in a developing country where they pay their "Top Logo Designers" cents a day to work on logo comps. These people have very little training, no experience and love to look at other people's work and copy. How can you avoid these design companies? Simply google logo design and you'll see them. SEO won't help you find the professional you're looking for.

My Local Designer Has Incredible Rates. I'd Be Stupid NOT To Hire Him.
You found a local designer with great rates, but why do they charge so very little for something that is so very important? Well, because it's not what they really do. Many are associated with a printer or a company who does discount web design and they thrown in your logo in the package. They have no interest in your brand or your target market, they simply want to turn out something as quickly as possible so they can get to putting it on all your printed materials and your website. A quick way to find out they're not a professional logo designer is by asking them what they're logo design process looks like. They won't be able to answer the question without a bunch of "umms" and "can you hold on a second?". This is who my potential client (at the beginning of the post) ended up with.

The Truth On Professional Logo Design
A professional will have a design process, will explain it in as much detail as you like, and show you evidence of it. They will begin with a small design brief on your company and do research on your competitors and offer a creative solution to match your target market. Logo design should run from $800-1000 (and beyond), depending on experience. A Pro will also ask you to trust them and will guide you through the creative process. They'll also understand that your brand isn't a composite of all your preferences. They'll advise you to emotionally cut yourself off from the project for the best work to show through. That means your favorite color or animal (I'm not kidding) won't make it into the logo design process.

Conclusion
It might take some work, but you can find a great logo designer by asking people whose logo you admire. Many times you have a designer in your network and don't even know it. It will be worth it in the end. This is an investment, and that's how you have to see it. Remember, if you don't brand yourself, your customers will do it for you.

I don't really feel I lost a client today. Unfortunately, he lost a chance at making an impact.

Have you found discount designers who let you down? Did you pay more than your original budget amount, but are glad you did? Tell us about it. And if you have any questions, please ask away.