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Do you have to redo the logo? How to write the brief for the designer

Whether it’s the first logo or a restyling, it comes a time for every company to write a brief for the designer. Or rather, it should come. In many cases the brief is just not there: for haste, for uncertainty, for forgetfulness. Or, when there is, you never know what to ask and what can actually help the designer. Yet a complete brief helps the designer to work better and faster, and the company to get the result it had in mind.

Here there are 11 points that, from my experience in working on brands, cannot be missed.

1. What does the company/brand do?

Be detailed: does it produce cooker hoods? But what kind, and at what cost? Is it a moving company? Of which kind?

2. In your sector, what distinguishes the company/brand?

Are you the fastest? Do you have the most sophisticated design? It is not fundamental that you already have such a strong distinctive trait, but it is a good time to think about it: if it is not already a fact, express the element for which you would like to differentiate yourself.

Sometimes a logo can be a declaration of intent and drive the evolution of the brand.

3. Who are your main competitors?

From which you must, of course, differentiate yourself. The designer will still conduct research but your knowledge of the market is still useful.

4. What are the previous versions of the logo?

In the case of both a restyling and a complete redesign, share with the designer not only the current logo but also any previous versions: they help to understand the brand’s path.

5. Are there any colours that are particularly significant for you?

Suggest them, or the designer will take the license to find the best palette. Some colours, however, may have a particular meaning (e.g. local heraldry, reference to a material or ingredient).

6. Who is your audience?

That is a tricky question. If the audience is “anyone” you will never get a good logo. But some features in particular help the work of the designer:

  • AGE GROUP Do you talk to a teenage audience? Young adults? Families? Or seniors? Rough though it may be, this segmentation is a useful input for logo design.
  • NATIONALITY Are they only Italian? Or do you speak to an international audience? Only Westerners or even Asians? Visual codes change enormously from region to region and your logo will have to take this into account.
  • EDUCATIONAL LEVEL Does your target have a basic education or can you define it as cultured? Does it read? Does it attend cinemas, theatre, exhibitions? Or is it not interested? An educated audience will be able to grasp more references in your logo and may appreciate that it is not “immediate”.
  • SOCIAL CLASS Do you speak to a wealthy or working class audience? Different social groups are used to interact, in some cases, with different brands that set their expectations and define their tastes.
  • EMPLOYMENT / INTERESTS Which social group does your target belong to? Are they musicians? Freelancers? School teachers? Dads? This segmentation is more complex and may have more than one answer, but it helps you to focus your attention on real people.

7. What is the brand promise?

This question is one of the most difficult, but face it carefully: it’s not simply your product or service, but the real value you offer your audience, and it responds to their deepest need.

A few examples for inspiration:

  • DIFFERENTIATION FROM OTHERS
  • TASTE
  • SECURITY
  • SENSE OF CONTROL

8. Are there other brands you feel close to?

The idea here is not, of course, to copy other logos, but rather to understand what mood you have in mind. Starting from the brands that you are reporting, the designer will be able to trace the DNA you have in mind for the brand.

9. Where will the logo be used?

Every business has different application and declination needs: a digital startup will need animations, icons, app tiles. An oven will have to brand the bread bags and delivery vans. A boutique will have to produce precious shopping bags.

Knowing what the most important applications will be beforehand defines practical constraints that influence the design work, from the choice of colours to the complexity of the lines.

10. Are there absolute prohibitions?

Say it now: the colour of a competitor, a symbol to be absolutely avoided or any other impassable limit must already be indicated in brief

11. Does it really only need the logo?

Think about it: the logo is just one of the elements that make up an effective identity. Since you have the designer at your disposal (or maybe an agency) this is the moment to understand if you don’t need a coordinated image, some basic assets, maybe even a tone of voice document to help you in writing the texts.

Don’t postpone these developments until later, because you will need them right away (in some cases even before you layout a single logo).

logo brief branding

Photo by Nik MacMillan

Some questions I wouldn’t know how to answer!

It is normal that, scrolling through this list, you realize that you do not have answers to all the questions. These questions are the alarm bells: they are the unresolved points without which you cannot start working.

Better to waste two days finding these answers than two weeks of rework. Believe me, it will be worth it.

Will the brief save me talking to the designer?

That depends. It may all be clear, so you can just call and say hello. Or, in the case of larger and more complex brands, or in any case, it will be useful to talk to the designer to better define, together, the key points of the brief.

And above all, give an original brief, or you’ll end up like certain luxury brands.

Matteo Sublimio Founder & Creative Director
AUTHOR:

Matteo Modica
Founder & Creative Director

A tireless purveyor of quality, Matteo manages every branding and communication project down to the details, leading creative teams to always express their best.

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