If you are a logo designer, you know Logo Geek (and if you don’t, wtfffff!). In any case, Ian and I connected via his Facebook group, and soon after we were chatting here and there. Ian is an awesome, kind guy, and it’s with pleasure that I drop some REAL value for you! Let’s jump straight to it.
We always talk about the wins, but never about the bumps. What were some big bumps on your career and how did you overcome them?
Since focusing on logo design, a couple of times in the past I’ve faced clients that totally dislike the designs I’ve done for them. I always present based on goals and explain my design decisions carefully, so when that happens it’s a blow to your confidence. You question your ability, especially if the client becomes nasty (which they have done).
What I do in situations like this is follow up with a discussion to find out what attributes they feel are working well, where they feel it’s not working, and try to better understand what their expectations are. After that I agree a direction forward, so we’re both on the same page.
Despite that I’ve faced the situation where there’s been no clear direction, and I’ve been left to feel that no amount of work and effort will help. As I was confident in the work I did, on that occasion I felt the best way forward was to end the project, and sacrifice the final 50%. It was a relief to do that. If you feel you’d pay to get rid of the client, you know you’ve done the right thing.
Logo design can be very subjective so I feel this is inevitable to happen at some point to anyone, but when nothing is right, it does make you question if it was your fault, and it possibly was. I at least like to take responsibility, even when I feel the client is being unreasonable.
What I try to do any time I feel I’ve screwed up is to update my process to improve things ongoing, and more importantly protect myself from abuse. I now limit the number of revision rounds, and state it clearly in my contract (it used to be a time limit). I’ve also improved my craft, and grown in confidence as to how I present the characteristics of a successful logo too. I think the more confident you become, and the more credible you become as a designer the less these situations happen.
What’s something you knew when you started working with Design?
Growing up I loved to draw. I loved to make models. I enjoyed creating things. I think having that creative background was fundamental to me getting my first professional opportunity, and I feel it’s why design as a discipline came naturally to me. I also enjoyed research, and problem solving too, which is an essential attribute for any designer to have.
When I started to use design software, I also knew the work I was doing wasn’t quite right, I just didn’t know how to make it better. It’s only when I learned more about grid systems, and other related design theory that my layouts and designs looked better.
I’m a geek for systems. What systems should a Logo designer make for himself?
I’m always working to streamline my process, and since I focus almost exclusively on logo design, it means I can have templates throughout the process, be that an email, a proposal, or a presentation document. By having clear steps, and templates ready to roll, your can work quickly and make more profit in the process.
Although creativity is rarely a linear process, there are clearly defined steps that you can work through. For example:
- Gather information about the business, their competition and audience to create goals.
- Brainstorm on paper. Sketch everything. Get all your ideas out on paper… the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s better out your head where you can see it. Keep going until you have a wide range of ideas that could work well to achieve the goals.
- Vectorise – Jump into illustrator and build up your design. I recommend selecting the perfect font first, then if there’s a supporting symbol you can integrate characteristics of that font into the symbol. Copy, simply & refine. Copy, simply & refine. Keep going until the design is perfect.
- Test – Using branding mockups test the design. Check how it works in single colour. Check small and large use. Update the design as needed.
- Present based on goals – Create a stunning presentation. Show the logo on a single page. Create pages with the logo in use. If you show multiple options, give each logo a separate page, then only at the end show them all together for discussion.
- Update if needed. Present again until approved.
- Package the files, preparing a comprehensive kit of files for web and print.
- Upon final payment, send the files over and transfer the copyright.
What’s something you can see changing in the logo design industry?
Logo design is quite a timeless discipline. The unspoken rules of the 50s are still very much relevant today, and I don’t see that going away any time soon.
Where things are shifting is that AI is getting better, and clients on the lower end will soon easily be able to get a fairly decent (even unique) logo generated for them in seconds by a computer algorithm. There’re already signs of that, and the tools are only getting better.
Where designers will need to shine is how they create a personalised experience for clients. People who are proud of their business will always want their logo designed by a real person, and they’ll be willing to investing in doing so.
What’s something you can see changing in the logo design industry?aWhat’s a message you have for young designers?
Due to the internet it’s easy to look at designers that are 20 years ahead of you, and feel you need to do what they are doing to be successful. Those who are creating daily content, podcasts, videos teaching, building courses and building a passive income.
But they are only able to do that because they’ve put in the time… They’ve mastered their art. They’ve built businesses. They’ve worked with 100’s of clients. They’ve trained others. They also likely have sponsors, and a steady income that pay others to help them create content too.
You can’t be them without putting in the time first. Years of hard work. Focus on learning your skill and mastering it. Focus on getting your first design job. Don’t run before you can walk. Take one step at a time.
What’s a day in the LogoGeek life like?
It really varies, but this is a typical week…
Monday to Wednesday I work for an agency. Afterwards I might catch up on emails. Check in on social. Book in guests for my podcast. Sometimes I might even record an interview. Whatever quick jobs I can fit in, if it needs doing I’ll get it done.
Thursdays, when I have a project on I focus on mainly on sketchbook and idea generation. I might also do some other bits like catch up on emails, call clients etc. I might also squeeze in time to start editing a podcast.
Fridays I focus on vector artwork, and putting together a formal presentation. I’ll also carry on editing a podcast, prep graphics and show notes. Every other Friday evening I also have a group Zoom call with the community.
Between all that I’m feeding a baby, making bottles up, cooking, tidying, listening to podcasts, watching youtube… playing Pokemon, watching films. Reading books. I keep myself busy
Big thanks to Ian for this awesome chat! We all appreciate you finding time to talk about design.