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Getting the Best Out of Your Designer

by Jennifer Stewart | Aug 26, 2011 | BrandingDesign

Many entrepreneurs seeking a brand identity fear that they won’t like what their designer produces. That’s pretty understandable. We’re not mind readers, after all. So how can you ensure that you get an identity that truly captures your company? The solution is very much in your hands. Here’s a checklist of the tools you can give your designer to produce the brand of your dreams.

Have a company. This may seem elementary to most, but there are plenty of people who go to designers with an idea that they want help fleshing out. Designers create visuals. Marketers take a product to market. Advertisers promote. Sometimes you can even find crossover agencies. Figure out what you need and then find the expert (or experts) that fit.

Tell your story. Every product or service should have a compelling reason for existence. Telling your designer that story can help them understand the feeling and philosophy that you want your brand to convey. A brand’s story creates loyalty. That loyalty is more driven by emotions than logic. If you started your company because you were bored or just thought it would fill a gap in the market, your can expect your designer to be as dispassionate about the company as you are.

Be specific about what you do and don’t like/want. Bring examples of logos, websites, magazines, brochures, or any other visual materials that display the aesthetic style you want for your company. It doesn’t have to be exact. Perhaps you hate everything about the brochure except it’s font or color. That’s ok and any designer will be able to mentally slice out the parts you don’t like while noting what you do. This is how we create your company’s unique style.

Tell us about the competition. Knowing what your competitors are doing gives you two advantages, 1) you’ll know how to look industry appropriate and 2) you can differentiate yourself. Those two go hand in hand. Looking ‘different’ should only go so far. You know what’s different? Mullets. If you don’t want the mullet equivalent of a logo, you need to provide your designer with a list of competitors so that they can create a brand that competes without ostracizing. You don’t want your software company’s logo to come out looking like something you’d see on an ice cream shop.

Explain your target market in detail. Create a picture in your head of your typical consumer. Tell me what they look like, how old they are, what industry they work in, what car they drive, what they wear to work and on the weekends, their hobbies, their values, and their favorite brand of cereal. The more you zero in on your market, the more your designer can create a logo to impact them.

Be able to describe the difference between you and your company. The best entrepreneurs understand that their company exists outside of themselves. This means that what is appropriate for the company’s style and brand may not be an aesthetic that they would decorate your house with. Being able to talk about your company without using the words “I like” is key to creating that objective perspective.

What we put out is only as good as what we take in. If you find a professional designer whose style and demeanor you like, giving them the information above will practically guarantee the brand of your dreams. 

Jennifer Stewart is the Office Manager and wanna-be organizational psychologist at Modern Species. For more posts from her, click here.

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