Six Insights from our first Campfire Q&A
We recently hosted a Q&A session offering insight into questions we're often asked around design and branding. Here are some of the highlights.
Q. If a new business needs a logo, where do you start?
A. Always hire a professional designer, and have a frank discussion with them, as their skills and experience will be invaluable in crafting a logo and a brand that reflects the unique aspects of your business. They'll sit down with you to learn about you, your business, and your customers. This should be a face-to-face session so your personality can shine, and the designer will be able to use elements of that in your logo. Although you might be just starting out, your logo should last the lifetime of your business, so think of it as a long-term investment.
Q. What's the difference between branding and design?
A. In simplistic form – design is very much about visuals, whilst branding is much deeper – it's about how it feels, what it says, even how it says it. Branding should reflect character, personality and values, as well as being the 'foundation' of the good design people see as the end result of a designer's work.
Q. How do you know who the right designer is for you?
A. As we've highlighted – talk to them. Find one you feel comfortable with, and where the chemistry feels right. Most designers love learning about their clients and being able to draw out elements of your personality that can be reflected in the design work they're producing for you. Look for designers who's work you like – look for testimonials from clients they're worked with in the past – and most of all, make sure you feel confident that you can challenge their ideas where needed – and in turn, they'll be able to challenge you. That ability to identify and work through any problem areas is what makes designers great at what they do (aside from the obvious creative and technical skills).
Q. How does the process work for you from meeting a client?
A. For me, I like to learn as much as I can about a client just by talking to them and getting a feel for the project we're working on. Most of the time, I'll have some ideas in that initial meeting, but I'll go away and let them 'fester' for a few days – which lets the strongest ideas come through and the weaker ideas fall to the side.
Sometimes I'll research competitiors or complimentary industries – but often I don't want to be swayed too much, so the next stage is some sketching of ideas, called scamps – to get things down on paper and be able to iterate through ideas quickly.
From there, I'll develop the strongest idea on the computer, and work it into a real-world example so the client can see how it will work in context. The more real you can make an idea, the easier it is for the client to imagine how it can could be used.
I can then gauge the client's feedback, and make changes or tweaks, or develop an alternative concept if the first isn't the right fit
It's very rare that I'll present two or more concepts at the same time – as this can lead to compromised design choices – and in many cases a designer's experience should lean towards the strongest concept possible from the outset.
Q. Are there any design or colour no nos for brands?
A. Personally – I think this all comes down to context. I don't think there are any hard and fast rules – as the colours chosen should represent an individual brand style, rather than a singular concept. There are definitely colour combinations that don't work particularly well, but these are generally avoided at concept/design stage.
Q. How do you give feedback if you don't like what a designer has put in front of you?
A. Be honest! Say what you don't like – but also try and explain *why* you don't like it. Whilst design is subjective, your designer should have valid reasons for making the design choices they've made – and they're often taken objectively. So be willing to listen – and if you're still not sure, ask for an alternative suggestion.
Using your feedback as a guide, the designer should be able to propose something else whilst still maintaining the integrity of their design.
In some cases – you should be willing to accept that the designer is looking at it from a different perspective than your own, so it can be a case of talking through the various viewpoints just to make sure you're both heading in the same direction.
As we talked about before, if you have a good relationship with your designer, you should have confidence in each other to work collaboratively to make your design as strong and far-reaching as possible.