8 Red Flags to Avoid When Choosing a Logo Designer

8 Red Flags to Avoid When Choosing a Logo Designer

Choosing a logo graphic designer to create a new logo or brand for your business or revamp your existing logo can be risky.

After all, this is your logo and your business’s face. You want it to reflect your brand, culture, image and business direction. So who do you trust with this critical task?

In this blog, I’ll look at 8 red flags you need to know about when choosing your next graphic design agency to tackle your rebranding. Knowing what to look out for will save you lots of time and, in many cases, loads of money, and in the worst-case scenario, having a brand or image that’s detrimental to your business or company.

Why choosing the right graphic designer should be done with lots of homework, a few interviews and taking a cautious approach.

Branding or logo design for your business is about something other than throwing a few pretty pictures or images together and hoping it works. Brand development is an emotional bond between the brand and your business. It’s the public face that spells out who you are, what your business represents and how you operate. Your logo is one of the most essential facets of your business, and once you have it, you pretty much have it for the duration of your business. It’s hard to chop and change your logo/brand as it’s pasted all over your marketing and sales material, even your vans, building signage, social media and website. It’s like a tattoo; once it’s there, you have it for the long haul. Changing it is costly, time-consuming and can negatively affect n your business. So making the right choice from the get-go is super important. A visually creative logo reflecting your business is the key to winning loyal customers. Stuffing it up can ruin your brand, image and how the public or your customers view your business. Branding is a massive investment in your business and needs to be taken seriously. The right graphic designer will know what to look out for; they’ll ask all the right questions to get the correct brief, and once they have this information filter it into a logo or brand that resonates with you, your customer base and you’re business.

Why is your logo and brand development significant, anyway?

Strong branding can significantly impact how your audience responds to your product, brand or service. Big names like Virgin, Coles and KFC all have recognisable brands that convey a feeling and personality you identify with. But, remember, there was a time when these brands were in their infancy phase, and they have evolved with the companies to reflect who they are now. They are immediately recognised and create an emotional subconscious connection between the customer and the business. Wouldn’t it be great if your company’s brand also could do this? It’s always lovely when someone looks at your logo and thinks, ‘Wow, that looks good’. They’ll remember the logo and may be more likely to be brand loyal.

Following are a few benefits of creating a credible and solid brand identity or logo for your business.

A credible brand will instil trust.

If your brand looks too cheap n cheerful, what does it say about your business, and what does it say about you as the owner? If it’s messy and slapped together quickly, it doesn’t bode well regarding the trust factor. A dodgy-looking logo is just that, dodgy, and it will reflect poorly on you. On the other hand, a cool, creative, clever logo will instil volumes of trust which is the cornerstone of any business.

Develop brand loyalty with customers.

Customers want to be associated with cool, exciting and vibrant brands. Look at Apple, Lululemon or Rip Curl, for example. People love these brands and are super loyal to them not only because of their great products but because the branding looks impressive. Once you are an Apple user, you’ll never switch. Or once you wear a Rip Curl wetsuit, you’ll wear that badge of honour in the surf for a lifetime. Also, check out the yoga brand Lululemon and how people buy the product because of the logo – they see it as something that sits with their personality. Here the brand and the human connection are genuine.

Build brand recognition

Having an intelligent, catchy well-designed logo helps build brand recognition, so whenever someone sees it, they have a positive emotional response. When I see someone in a Rip Curl wetsuit, I know that person has the best equipment, and I respect that also; if I notice someone wearing Lululemon, I see that they have good taste in clothing. 

Makes your brand stand out from the crowd

It’s a competitive marketplace, and with social media nose added to the equation, you have to have a brand that stands out from the crowd and can cut through to the consumer. A no-brainer, I know, but the more your brand looks independent and unique, the more you’ll stand out from the crowd. After all, you don’t want to look like everyone else. It’s dull, unimaginative and will only be detrimental to your business.

Helps grow your business

You still have to work extremely hard on your business, and a logo is not the golden goose, but it can certainly help you via greater brand recognition, loyalty and trust. All these combined will help grow your business over time.

What are the red flags to look out for when choosing your graphic design agency?

You must look for certain red flags and alarm bells when searching for your next design agency online (and yes, there are many to choose from, especially if you Google Graphic Designers Sydney). Knowing these will help you sort the good designers from the bad ones.

Outsourcing the design work

Many design agencies are just sales machines, and once they have your business will outsource it overseas to a cheap third party. These overseas designers may be ok, but they won’t be local, be able to understand the local market clearly and won’t be the point of contact where you can articulate what you want for your business’s image. We always find that the designer that takes the brief should be the designer working on the logo. They need to get a sense of your business and connect with the owner, and in turn, be able to nail the design brief quickly.

Note: When you work with Hopping Mad Designs, you work with Jo, the senior creative working on the logo. We never outsource and always design in-house in Sydney.

A poor portfolio of previous work

If you scour graphic design websites online, they should show their portfolio online and have various samples of their work across various industries. If they don’t have a substantial portfolio, then this is a huge red flag and could mean that:

  • They are industry newbies and only have a little work to show, which is ok, but they need to convey this to you and charge accordingly.
  • They are not proud of their work and want to show you, OR they have outsourced the previous work, and the quality could be better.
  • All their work is niche and confined to one area, which shows a need for more diversity in their design.

Watch how they present their work online and see if you like any brands or logos in your niche (if they indeed have any). And when you do finally call them, see if they can elaborate on a few case studies and explain how they got to the logo from the brief given. 

Note: Hopping Mad Designs has an ever-growing list of design examples that can be viewed proudly on our website.

Dodgy testimonials and reviews

It’s so easy to buy reviews and testimonials online, so watch out for this. If you see Google reviews that are all positive and from people that are not from businesses or have reviews but nothing concrete in the reviews, then they are disingenuous. I would ask for a few references you can call to see how they respond. This is a good sign if they willingly provide references and all work out. Also, 5-star reviews with no content are absolutely useless and a waste of time. Throwaway lines like ‘great job’ or ‘ top company’ are one-line grabs and worthless. I would also look for case studies on their website to see how the designers developed the final branding and the initial brief.

Note! Hopping Mad Designs receives authentic reviews regularly from clients thrilled with their project outcome. We’re also happy to put you in touch with any of our clients to verify their feedback and the work we have completed for their business.

Missing in action

Don’t you hate it when you engage someone to do work for you and they simply disappear, or it takes a couple of days for them to reply to an email or phone message? Even the busiest design agencies should have the common courtesy to return client calls. Ideally, you should be able to have direct contact with your designer and communicate with them once you receive the initial design options.

Note! At Hopping Mad Designs, you get direct access to speak to the company’s Creative Director and Senior Designer – Joanna Basile. We are always available and will get back to you promptly.

Not asking the right questions.

Your designer must know about your business for a brand or logo to work effectively. To do this, they need to interview you to get the brief and learn things like, your product offerings, specials, goals, customer base and what you like and don’t like about the current logo or what you like about your competitor’s branding. Failing to ask these critical questions means that the graphic designer will either outsource your logo, plagiarise it from another business, or don’t care enough. Some designers will use a cookie-cutter questionnaire; however, at Hopping Mad Designs, we like to have an informal face-to-face meeting to go over all these finer points, so we always nail the brief and develop appropriate designs for our happy clients. We understand the discovery process is crucial to creating a fabulous-looking logo.

They do your logo for free if they are designing your website.

Many people ask us to update their logo as part of their web design package, but we always say no, as a logo or brand is not an afterthought and requires as much effort as a website. Why? Because your logo is the face of your business and is the foundation that every other piece of marketing material or collateral rests on and must be given more attention than any other communication piece. So watch out for the red flag if any graphic designer starts throwing in logo updates to get the deal across the line and win your business.

Note! At Hopping Mad Designs, we know how important a logo is and will never lump it into another design job. Yes, we offer many other design services like explainer videos or annual report design. Still, we will never discuss branding while doing these jobs unless it’s an entirely new job.

They use the design ideas you provided them.

Many business owners are also frustrated designers ( yes, we have seen them), and they all like to present their ideas and interpretations of what they think their logo should look like. They’ll sit at the initial brief, show you all the design ideas they sketched on paper, and expect you to follow them. Any good designer (and this is where the red flags should happen) will stop you there and take your design ideas on board only as a design direction BUT never actually use them. It’s like me telling a doctor how to treat an illness without their input – it’s crazy. If you’re paying for a graphic design, let them do their job without too much interference or input. Sure, give them a brief but let them develop the designs. If they rehash what you have provided, they are not doing their job, and it just shows how inexperienced they are.

Note! At Hopping Mad Designs, we are upfront and honest about everything we do, including the design ideas you present. We will tell you if they don’t work or are in the wrong direction. We never plagiarise your designs and will always come up with our interpretation of what we feel is the appropriate logo/brand.

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