Hiring a logo designer can be a daunting task if you’re not familiar with the process. Nothing can doom a client – designer relationship quicker than finding out last minute that a designer doesn’t handle or charges more for something you thought you were already paying for.
Here are some basic questions for both you and the designer that can help you avoid any problems.
1. What do you need the logo for? All too many people design a logo with one purpose in mind, either print or web, depending on their immediate needs. However, you want to be certain that your logo can be used in various forms of media. More importantly, you want to get art files to support each media. For instance, a logo designed for the web, will be of smaller resolution and in a different color profile than a logo you would use in print. This can be a costly mistake not to get as many variations of your logo in as many file formats as you will need when you purchase your logo. Otherwise, you may find yourself trying to track down your designer or having to hire someone else to recreate the logo.
2. What is the designer’s experience? You want to make sure that your logo designer has experience creating logos. Find out where they’ve worked and what kind of work they’ve done before. Ask to see examples of their work in either a portfolio or on a website. Make sure the styles are modern looking and in line with what you’re looking for. Ask for references, also. While you might ask for their art training, there are many logo designers who have no formal training, but still understand design principle and have the skills necessary to create stunning work.
3. Who owns the copyright to the work? More importantly, how can you use the logo? According to copyright law, when you hire a graphic designer to create art, they own the copyright, not you (unless they are an employee of yours). This law protects designers from having their work used and re-used without fair compensation for the time they invested in it. You should have the terms of your rights spelled out in a contract to ensure you won’t face any restrictions in using your logo. Usually, designers will charge a bit more to give you such rights. Another copyright issue to be aware of is the use of fonts. Many font designers don’t allow use of their fonts in a logo unless they are compensated for the use. Make sure the designer has permission to use the font in your logo or you could face a legal challenge (a lawsuit) from the font owner. Lastly, get written assurances in your contract with the designer that the work they’re creating doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s copyrights.
4. How long will the project take and how much input will you have? You’re hiring a designer, so you don’t want to micromanage their process. However, you want to be sure they are listening to your needs and willing to work within the scope of what you want. Get a realistic timeline from the designer of how long the logo will take to complete. Also, find out how many mock-ups the designer will create for you before turning in a final version. How much for additional changes, if necessary?
5. How much will the logo design cost and what should you expect? What are you getting? An electronic file? A CD or DVD with images? Original source files (which will cost you a bit more – see the copyright issue above)? As stated before, try to think ahead and make sure you get as many different versions and formats of your logo as you’ll need. If the logo has to go to a printer, who is responsible for the final product (such as a banner or letterhead) being delivered? Nail these things down in your contract ahead of time to avoid any unforeseen hiccups.