Monday, April 12, 2010

DIY logo

A link to this article caused some very angry posts on the Art Director's Club linkedin discussion over the weekend.

The article - which 'advises' budding entrepreneurs on how to choose a logo for their business by analysing the common attributes of the Business Week Top 100 Global Brands - is far too silly to get upset about. The advice is so pedestrian that any 'entrepreneur' who knows so little about branding and business as to find any of it helpful, has a lot more to worry about than the design of their logo.

But I do think there is some validity to helping clients learn a bit more about the governing principles designers use to make decisions. When I write my long threatened book called 'How To Be A Client', it will certainly contain a chapter on some of the simple explanations this article supplies like "A logo should look just as good in 15-foot letters on top of company headquarters as it does one sixteenth of an inch tall on company stationery".

To us this is so obvious as to seem laughable but I've had to explain this kind of thing to clients in meetings many times (usually accompanied by much teeth-gnashing and eye-rolling from the designers in the room). So much of the pain in client/creative relationships is to do with clients feeling mystified by the 'black art' of design and designers' interest in preserving this mystery in a misguided belief that it will protect the value of their work.

Just because clients understand a bit more about what we do, doesn't mean they can do it themselves. This is beautifully demonstrated by the self-made logo example in the article, which is, by anyone's standards, completely shit.

I believe, in fact, clients will value designers more if we let them understand a bit more about the highly nuanced and complex process we go through to create great work.

The message: don't worry about idiots who think they can choose the colour of their own logo. These are the clients none of us want. But for the clients you do want, let them in a bit more and flatter them with the assumption that they do understand how good you are.

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