Finding the right logo design agency to work with can be a daunting task. With so many agencies to choose from and so many things to consider, it can seem like picking a partner for your next project is nearly impossible. Should you work with a big time international agency that’s well known, or a one-man-show local logo designer? Should you shop around for the agency that has best price, or is bargain hunting only going to come back to bite you in the long run? Is it better to find an agency that’s laser focused on one aspect of the business, or should you hire a firm that can do it all?
We’ll do our best to answer all of those questions and then some in this article to help you find the best logo design agency for your company’s needs.
One of the first things you need to determine when searching for a logo design agency is what size firm makes the most sense for you to work with. If you’re a large company with thousands of employees working on a multi-faceted project, it might not make sense for you to work with a one man operation. If the project is particularly complicated and demanding, a single designer might not be able to keep up with requests while also juggling the other jobs they have going on.
Conversely, if you’re a small start-up yourself, it probably doesn’t make sense to go out and hire a large international logo design agency. You’ll be paying a lot of money to cover the overhead and payrolls of the large agency, and will probably end up spending more than you need to.
The sweet spot is a company that is large enough to handle the job without running into problems, but not too large to where you’re paying for unnecessary access or services.
It’s always important to like the people you work with, and hiring an agency is no different. Finding the right logo design agency is all about fit. Is their website laid-back and funny? Messy and out-dated? Precise and clinical? You can tell a lot about a company by the image they put forth, so make sure their image meshes well with your own!
It’s also important to make sure you get along with the actual people from the agency that you’ll be interacting with. Creative directors, project managers, executive assistants… These are the people you’ll be interacting with on a regular basis throughout the project, so if their personalities rub you the wrong way, it’s going to grate on you as time goes on. Once you find a logo design agency that you click with, projects come out great, meetings are productive, and real results can happen.
“The role of the designer is that of a good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests.”
– Charles Eames
The location of the agency relative to your own is another thing to consider when choosing a partner. Some people prefer face to face meetings when working on creative projects, whereas others just prefer phone calls or setting up Skype sessions. If you’re the former you’ll want to focus on searching for a local logo design agency (unless you have the budget to fly them out, you baller, you), but if you don’t need face to face interaction then it opens up the playing field to a much larger selection of design firms internationally.
Being a brand design agency in Orlando, we’re regularly approached by potential clients that are based in the same city and prefer to work with other Orlando based companies. But we’ve also worked with plenty of remote clients and those projects have gone just as smoothly, so it’s really just a matter of preference.
Another facet to take into consideration with location is the time difference. If you’re working with a remote agency in a different time zone, you’ll need to discuss this detail before starting the project to establish how the time difference will be handled. Will the agency alter their work schedule to be on the clock when you’re at the office? Or will you provide feedback to them via email and they’ll complete any requests overnight? Again, this arrangement can work out smoothly, it’s just important to make sure you’re both on the same page.
This is a fairly obvious aspect to consider, but it deserves discussion nonetheless. All too often I’ve seen companies source their design projects to firms that are a poor fit from a skill set perspective. You should not be asking your web design agency if they can design you a new logo, unless that’s a part of their set of core competencies. More often than not, if you ask they’ll say “yes” despite not having substantial expertise in the area, leaving you with a sub-par end result.
Every creative agency has a specific skill set and a key focus. For example, our key focus is branding and logo design. Our skill set includes various aspects of branding such as print collateral, messaging, and video production. If someone came to us to code a custom plug-in for their WordPress site, it would be outside of our skill set and core competencies. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t be able to bring in an expert to complete the work at a high level, but all things being equal you would probably be better off hiring a logo design agency for your logo design, and hiring another firm that focuses on app development to code the plug-in.
Another thing to look at when hiring a logo design agency is their design style. When looking through their work, does it all have a certain “look” to it? And if so, does that look match the aesthetic you’re looking for?
Some designers specialize in solely creating work that has a rustic, hipster aesthetic, whereas others only create futuristic 3D artwork. For us, our style tends to be clean, simple, and modern, and therefore the clients that are attracted to us tend to be looking for that style of design.
That being said, it’s important that a logo designer isn’t imparting their style on a project that doesn’t necessitate it. If a logo project calls for a certain style in order to appeal to a specific target demographic, the worst thing an agency or designer can do is to disregard that just because it’s not what they like. A skilled designer will base all of their design decisions on strategy instead of using an arbitrary style just because it looks good. Unfortunately, not all logo designers/agencies work this way, which is why it’s generally best to simply find an agency that has a style that’s similar to what you’re looking for during the initial search. Otherwise, your law firm’s logo design could end up looking like it belongs to a country band… But hey that could make for an interesting business in it’s own right.
When browsing through a logo design agency’s portfolio for a style and skill set that aligns with your goals, you’ll also want to make sure the quality of work meets your standards. There are tons of agencies out there, and each one has a completely different standard of quality that can be seen in their work.
Look at brands that your company aspires to be like in some way… Does the quality of work in the potential agency’s portfolio look similar to the quality of the marketing materials set forth by that brand? If not, the abilities of the logo design agency in question may not be polished enough for what you’re looking for.
You’ll also want to make sure their work has been updated fairly recently and is not outdated. An outdated portfolio could mean that the agency doesn’t get a lot of work and therefore isn’t able to update their website, or that they’re in over their heads with their workload and haven’t been able to find the time. Neither of which are ideal scenarios for a prospective client.
“Good design is like a refrigerator—when it works, no one notices, but when it doesn’t, it sure stinks.”
– Irene Au
Speaking of workload, that’s another area you’ll want to ask potential design partners about. A lot of larger logo design firms will book projects many months in advance, so if you’re looking for someone who will able to complete your project sooner rather than later, that’s something you’ll need to consider. If you’re not in a rush to have your project completed, or you’ve built this start-up delay into your project timeline, then this will be a non-issue.
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
– Douglas Adams
Yet another way to gauge if a design agency is a good fit is by looking at the clients that they’ve worked with. When other reputable companies have worked with the agency, it adds social proof which can give you peace of mind. Naturally, just because a large company has worked with an agency it doesn’t mean they will be a good fit for you too, but it’s another facet that can add to your confidence.
It can further add to your confidence if you not only recognize the prior clients, but you also work in the same industry as them. Working with an agency that has worked in your industry before can be a huge benefit as they most likely already have a foundation of knowledge about competitors, industry terminology, and common challenges. That being said, prior knowledge certainly isn’t mandatory, you may just need to build some extra time into the initial meetings to get the agency up to speed with the inner workings of your industry.
Logo Design Pricing
And last, but certainly not least, is the all important question of price… How much is the project going to cost? You can get three very different answers to this question from three different creative agencies. If you’re on a tight budget, you can find recent graduates that will produce acceptable work for very low cost. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are big name agencies that charge big time money even for small projects. At Artful Ruckus, we’re somewhere in between. Like many small, but experienced agencies, we’re able to charge reasonable rates for projects while still outputting high quality work.
Much of what you’re paying for when hiring a logo designer is confidence. When hiring an inexperienced designer fresh out of college, your confidence in their ability to hit deadlines, produce quality work, and output projects that achieve business goals is justifiably low. Whereas when hiring a well-known top tier logo design agency, your confidence in a positive outcome is extremely high and the risk is very low. They have a proven track record showing that they’ll hit deadlines, produce high quality work, and put your brand in a position to succeed. It’s a risk to reward ratio that you need to consider when deciding what makes the most sense for your situation and budget.
“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”
– Ralf Speth
Bonus: Finding a Logo Design Agency - Where to Look
Ok, so now you know what to look for, but you don’t know where to look. Don’t worry, we got you. Here are some places to check to get started on your search:
The best place to start is to simply ask your friends. More often than not someone you know has had experience with a design agency. If there’s an agency that they’ve enjoyed working with, your best bet is looking into that first.
The second place to search is Google. I know, I know, recommending a search engine to search for something, original! But it’s one of your best options if none of your friends have recommendations. Searching for something like “Logo design agency in Orlando, FL” will yield plenty of solid options to look through.
Okay so phoning a friend and “Googling it” isn’t getting it done for you. So demanding, yeesh. The next place to look would be on social media. Designers and agencies tend to be very active on social media websites that have a visual focus. My top recommendations there would be Instagram, Behance, and Dribbble. There’s a slew of great work being posted on those sites every day, just search the relevant hashtags for your project and you’re bound to find some solid options.
Lastly, I recommend going old-school and attending some local networking events. Agencies love attending these because they’re full of business people, such as yourself, who could become potential clients. Going this route will place more of an initial emphasis on the personal relationship rather than the agency’s work itself, but that’s not always a bad thing!
Putting It All Together
There’s a lot to consider when finding the right logo design agency to partner with. Here are some of the most important things to examine when making a decision:
- Portfolio Quality
- Prior Clients
Following the advice in this article we’re confident that you’ll be able to find an agency that will fit your style, personality, and budget. We’d love to work with you on your next project, but even if you don’t think Artful Ruckus is the right fit for you, feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions about the agency search. We’re happy to help you make a decision!