Managing clients: How to get a logo design approved by a tricky client
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘the exception that proves the rule?’ It’s like that ‘i before e except after c’ ditty they teach you at school. There’s always an exception to make a truism true.
I recently encountered an exception to my rule about client benchmarks. (Benchmarks help me get logos approved by clients quickly).
Get the full story below...
If you've read Logo Process, you'll know I always encourage designers to get a list of benchmark logos from a client before developing any concepts. It's my one rule... the one that keeps me sane.
Benchmarks help designers manage client expectations by revealing what a client 'likes'. Benchmarks also help clients come to terms with what they’re really after – what they can and can’t live with – in their new logo.
2 to 3 benchmarks are fine. The most I’ve had a client supply was 8. It was perfect – we nailed their logo first time around and it’s still in circulation years later on signage, vehicles and TV.
Here's the exception…
A client for a local ad agency here in Queensland supplied me 29 benchmarks. Yep – 29 of them. And there was no rhyme or reason to them either.
There were geometric logos in there – signatures – and old Web 2.0 icons from stock art websites. There were well-known brands. Unknown brands. And some were results Google had thrown back for searches like ‘best logos in the world’...
Anything and everything was included.
The client even threw in a name change for the business halfway through the briefing process, just to keep me on my toes.
It gets better...
Next came animal requests.
They asked for an owl. Then a frog…
And not just any frog – he had to be modelled off a French statue.
It was clear these clients weren't really sure what they liked in any logo, let alone their own.
And that’s the key to solving client dilemmas like this… I said clients (s) … plural.
When two client stakeholders try to reach consensus on a new logo... it might be one too many. Sometimes committees can't be avoided. But they have to be managed from the start of a project.
My advice to anyone in the same boat? Stick to your guns when it comes to only accepting a single point of contact for logo briefings. It’s the most important rule of design from a client management perspective.
It means identifying one project owner with authority for sign-off... and if there are other players, insist that the project owner has agreement from all stakeholders before they give you their brief. (Not after the fact.)
A firm “no” from your end upfront might just save a whole lot of “Ahh… I dunno...” from the client later on.
I should clarify that our client was happy with their logo in the end and the rest of their branding was approved without a hitch.
How did we do it?… Simple.
I waited and got approval when one partner was away on holidays.
If you enjoyed this article explaining how benchmarks can help manage the process of creating a logo for a client, I encourage you to get in touch via the contact page, or share this article with designers who might see the lighter side.
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