Great Designs Take Time, Here’s Why
“Can you make me a great logo design in one hour?”
One of my personal favorite design requests is the following statement, (which, by the way, we do hear somewhat often): “Can you make me a logo? I want it to be totally unique to represent my company; I don’t want it to look like anyone else’s, and I want it to be clean and minimally designed, and oh yeah, can you do this in an hour? Because I’m a start-up and I have a really low budget right now.”
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is generally “I’m sorry, no”. We want the work we do for you to be great, and so do you! Great designs take time, though, because like most things in life, graphic design is a process.
First off, let me say that we totally understand! We’ve been in the shoes of being a start-up and having a small budget, and we also know that getting the most effective pricing is important for a business. Of course we understand why one might think a logo could potentially be executed in an hour, because frankly, look at this logo design, which we just finalized for our client:
It’s only one color, the text and the icon are rather simplified. Why would it take more than an hour to execute this design?
Here’s why. A great logo design is simple in execution, but complex in meaning. That means that while this particular logo is simple, it is purposefully simple. There is meaning behind the logo that may or may not be immediately apparent to the casual viewer. There also are many many design concepts that did not “make the cut,” even before we showed anything to the client. (See unused logo compositions below):
This is because logo design is a process, and there were many things that we took into consideration when creating this design which I shall delineate below.
What makes a great logo design?
- A great logo design is also easy to read whether it’s printed one inch tall or 70 feet tall. If a logo is on a billboard, the driver reading it has about 2 seconds to register an impression about the logo alone. If the typeface is not easily legible, no impression will register and the casual driver will keep on driving, sipping coffee and your company will remain unknown/undefined. Or, worse yet, the subconscious impression might be “I can’t even read this logo, this company is not professional.”
For the above logo design, I kept readability in mind when choosing typefaces, as well as the size of the elements. I wanted the logo to be immediately recognizable. I asked myself, “what words in this logo are most important? Can the “llc” and the “the” be played down to make the main text stand out more for that quick read?” I also asked myself “Is this logo better as a serif, or san-serif font? How heavy of a weight should this typeface be to maintain visibility and still look professional?”
- A great logo design represents the company. Your business needs to look like your business. If your business is Insurance, a frilly, script typeface is probably not suited to your logo; and customers might be confused about your business. (Is this insurance? Or is this a hair salon?) That’s the low-hanging fruit.
- A great logo design is unique. No one else’s logo should look like yours! For me, the process of logo design goes something like this: brainstorm/sketch ideas, execute a few ideas, analyze those executed compositions to see if the design is accomplishing the criteria it needs to. One of those criteria is uniqueness. After I create something, I need to do some research for similar companies and make sure the logo doesn’t look like anyone else’s logo.
- A great logo design is approved by the client. Finally, the process of creating a logo is a back-and-forth between designer and client. Your logo is YOUR LOGO, and you have to like it! We can offer advice, suggestions etc., but ultimately it’s your business that’s being represented here. So that’s why we do at least 2 rounds of revisions for our clients. You may look at something we’ve done and decide you like the text on one logo, but the icon on another. You might look at a design and decide that you want to try some different colors, etc. All of this takes time. If it took me, personally, 6 hours to design 3-4 logo compositions before presenting to the client, I’m going to estimate that best case scenario it will take at least 3 more hours to go through the revisions process, and then another 1 hour at least to finalize the logo and export all versions that the client will need.
Phew! I hope you can see, now, why designs take time.