How many logo concepts do you develop? More specifically, how many should you be developing? The answer to this question will depend on your clients' business needs and your company's logo development budget.
Now when undertaking design, we want to avoid making arbitrary decisions. Good design has meaning and substance behind it. When presenting logo design to clients, they will love a design that reflects that product or business perfectly and has strong meaning and relevance behind it. In the early stages of the design process, we should take time to learn much about what we are designing for. The more we understand the subject matter and context, the more likely we are to get inspiration and discover a meaningful and appropriate idea.
In this article, I will discuss how many logo routes you should create and present them to your client on a project.
So the simple answer to this is, that there is no right or wrong amount you can develop only what is right for you the circumstance of the project, and the requirements.
In my experience, I have been given two months to develop a logo design. And on other projects, I have only been given a few days. In most cases, it just comes down to time and budget. So let's look at two key examples.
Big Design Agency
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A big design agency may get approached by a big client with a big budget to commission a logo design, and the client is putting down a large budget and is happy to allow a few months to develop and explore the design process. Because of budget and time, the client would like to see at least three developed routes to consider.
In my experience, I have worked on large designs, where at least two months have been allocated to the design process, where we have been able to spend a lot of time discovering ideas and developing multiple thorough design routes. Sometimes there may even be multiple designers working on the same project, where initially we will develop quite a few and choose the strongest present.
Sometimes a client may even have two or three separate design studios working on design, and require each to pitch their concepts. When working in the design industry, a client will always want to see options. And it is very hard to argue against this because often they will put down big budgets and allocate enough time in every design agency I have ever worked at.
I have always been required to produce at least three options. And it's not unheard of for some design studios to offer much more. So here there is a big client, a big-budget with big time and big demand.
Example to a client approaches a solo freelancer who works for themselves in their own studio. Now it's a solo designer's prerogative to dictate the terms of their work time and budget. When approached by a client, the solo Freelancer can simply outline their terms, and the client can take it or leave it. Of course, the solo designer can negotiate. But it will always come down to the solo designer's decision. So if a solo designer only wants to spend X amount of time for X amount, and only deliver one logo route, that's cool, the client can take it or leave it. And it's not uncommon for many solar designers today to do just that.
When Steve Jobs went to Paul Rand in 1988, and asked him to design a logo for his computer company next at the time,
Paul famously said:
I'll do the logo for $100,000. I'll do one version, and you can take it or leave it if you want other options go to another designer.
Now obviously, Steve went with Paul because he was a popular designer with a high reputation at the time. So as a solo designer, especially if you are well known, you can charge and command anything for your work.
Now some solo designers may not be able to command such particular terms, or may be happy to spend more time and offer more than one route. Remember, there is no right or wrong way here. Only what the designer is comfortable with and agrees on with the client. So when developing logos you need to consider time, budget, circumstance and your work ethic.
My advice would be in the early stages, set yourself a time limit and explore and discover as many ideas as you can. And don't worry too much about the end result. Once you have spent some time discovering ideas and you feel happy, you have generated a few only then start to think about which ones are the best, and narrow your roots down from there.
I would always argue the best approach is to keep things focused when working with clients. I always insist on giving the discovery phase at least a week's worth of work. My discovery process is quite methodical, which I like to undergo to research and discover the best ideas for my design, which typically generates a few strong ideas and contacts, then I like to spend at least another week's worth of work explored my ideas visually, which again typically generates a few strong creative routes,
There is always more than one amazing design route for any project. And on any given project, I will discover many however, I always find three routes is enough, because this can offer up some good strong alternatives. And it's a good opportunity to discuss the merits of them with the client. So however many routes I have, I will pick the three I think are the most exciting. going all in on one design approach may not always be wise, because a client may simply not like it, which offers no room to maneuver. With three routes, you can contest the strengths and weaknesses to better argue your design.
Now, this approach works really well for me, but may not work for everyone. As a designer, you are free to do what feels right for you, and what you can agree upon with the client. So how many logo design routes Do you offer your clients? How many routes do you think are right? Be sure to share your response and stories in the comments.
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