Creating an organization’s logo can be a drawn-out, painful process. But it doesn’t have to be. Below are examples of two very different experiences.*
Logo Design Example One
A municipality took the “design-by-committee” route, gathering stakeholders from various groups in town to form a committee of 10 (ten!). They put out a request for qualifications and received submissions from a number of local designers (local being an unwritten requirement). Very little direction came not only from the group to the designer but also from the designer to the group. After several rounds of disappointing designs, endless arguments and discussions, a second RFQ was issued for a new designer, followed by more rounds of designs, until finally the committee settled on a logo that everyone in the group could live with. If the public responded negatively, individual committee members could not be faulted because it was a group effort. The process consumed way too much time, effort and money.
Logo Design Example Two
A more recent experience with the logo design process was far less time-consuming and completely painless. This was a redesign for a national organization whose current logo was beginning to show its age and the organization’s board felt it was time for a fresh, new look. Rather than “design-by-committee,” the group went the “I know a guy” route, trusting a board member’s experience and judgment that the designer suggested is not only someone who does excellent work but who could also provide the service within the organization’s very limited budget. The designer explained the three most basic types of logos to the group (icons/symbols, logotype/wordmark, combination of the two) and asked the board members what notions the logo should represent, what color preferences they have, and if a specific mark should be incorporated into the design. The entire process took two rounds of logos and a vote.
Logo Design Advice
Having participated numerous times in logo (re)design efforts, here is some basic advice:
- Design-by-committee is rarely a good idea, but if you must work in a committee situation, try to keep member numbers down.
- When providing ideas on what your logo should represent to the world, try to be specific and limit the number of concepts to be incorporated into the design.
- Make sure the designer provides a genuine selection. A scenario where you’re presented with several absolute losers and one shining star should have you instructing the designer to produce additional samples that are true choices.
- Logo design contests are generally a bad idea.
- Logo design contests using children’s designs are generally disastrous.
- Not everyone will fall in love with your new logo. Suck it up.
*Logos not included to protect the innocent.
Leslie Labrecque is part of the GovLoop Featured Contributor program, where we feature articles by government voices from all across the country (and world!). See more Featured Contributor posts
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Logo design is such a difficult yet important part of an agency. For redesigning, it’s always crucial to set dates, limitations and number of revisions instead of having random back and forth between the designer and the commissioner. Thanks for sharing insights on a topic that is easily overlooked by those that have never been involved in such a process.
Excellent article! I couldn’t agree more. “Logo design contests using children’s designs are generally disastrous.” I got a good chuckle out of this one!