Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Your logo design brief tells designers what kind of logo to design, with all the necessary details and background information. Needless to say, your logo brief is a crucial first step towards getting the perfect logo for your brand.
If you’ve never written a design brief, it stands to reason that you probably won’t know how to get started. That’s what we’re here for! The better your design brief, the easier it will be for your designer to hit the mark. Read on, as we explain everything you need to prepare your design brief in 3 essential, easy steps.
To learn more about the entire logo design process—from writing the perfect brief for your logo design, to reviewing your drafts and how to ensure a smooth handover—hear from Robyn in the video above.
What is a logo design brief?
A logo design brief is a document containing all the significant details about the logo design project. It’s written or filled in by the business, owner or company and handed over to the designer so they know precisely what kind of logo to make.
Logo design briefs come in many different forms. Sometimes they’re just a compilation of notes and ideas, other times they contain minute details like specific color shades or rough sketches—the most important thing is that the point is conveyed clearly and all the information is there.
There are no requirements to how much or how little information a logo design brief needs, but the more details you include, the closer the designer will come to your vision. So to make sure you don’t miss a thing, here are the 3 steps to creating the perfect logo design brief.
3 steps to the perfect logo design brief
1. Share your business information
First and foremost, your logo design brief should include the fundamentals about your business. Naturally, this includes the basics like the company name, industry, slogan and location, but there’s more to it than that.
Everything from product and target audience to values and goals
A designer needs to understand how a company works, who they’re speaking to and what their values are. Getting across that information to the designer is key to creating a logo design brief that best represents your brand.
It helps to explain some basic information about your company like name and industry, but also some insider details like manufacturing methods, where you source your products/materials, etc. For example, if you use only organic materials, that might inspire your designer to incorporate a naturalistic visual style into your logo—but only if you openly communicate how your business works.
Sharing all key information including goals and ambitions with your designer can help them understand who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish as a business.
Business information also encompasses branding and brand personality. Brand values have a direct impact on logo styles; a serious and professional brand will want a different type of logo than a more playful and casual brand. Graphic design elements like colors, shapes and typography all have distinct moods and connotations, so having a strong brand personality helps designers optimize the visuals.
If you’ve not yet solidified your brand personality, read our guide on how to create a strong brand personality so you know which branding details to include in your logo design brief.
2. Define your logo style
A lot of businesses prefer to let the designer decide the creative details, but they still need to provide a general direction to keep the designer on track. Even if you want your designer to take the lead, some things should be mentioned as a minimum requirement. And if you do have a specific idea in mind, you’ll want to include as many details as you can.
Type of logo
For starters, mention the type of logo you’re looking for in your design brief. We’ve discussed the 7 types of logos before, but here’s a quick rundown if you’re unfamiliar with them:
- Abstract—a nondescript image, such as a generic shape
- Mascot—a character that acts as your brand’s representative
- Combination—a mixture of different types of logo, such as a pictorial logo with a wordmark over it
- Emblem—badges, seals, or crests in a historical logo style
- Lettermark (monograms)—the initials or acronym of your company name in stylized typography
- Pictorial (symbol)—a distinct image, symbol, or icon with a recognizable shape
- Wordmark (logotype)—the name of your company written in stylized typography
Even when you know what your logo should be, you still need to give direction on what style you want. Artistic style can drastically change the interpretation of your logo—imagine Tony the Tiger drawn in a gritty, photorealistic style.
It’s helpful for designers if you note what kind of style you’re going for so they don’t have to change it later. There are a limitless amount of artistic styles to choose from, but if you’re having trouble deciding you can narrow it down to some of the common ones we discussed in our guide on how to design a logo:
- Classic—leaning towards simple and abstract, a classic logo is a safe bet for any industry
- Retro/Vintage—using older aesthetics appeals to people’s nostalgia
- Modern and minimalist—minimalism adds an air of sophistication, with other modern touches to make your company seem cutting edge
- Fun and quirky—using cartoons, bright colors, and humor appeals to young and whimsical groups
- Handmade—using rough sketches, this style adds connotations of quality, especially when paired with other styles like retro or quirky
You also need to choose the colors of your logo (or your brand in general if you haven’t decided yet). According to color theory, logo colors carry significant meanings, e.g. red for passion and urgency, blue for trust and welcoming, etc. Read our guide to logo color meanings to learn more.
Inspiration and examples
If you find it challenging to articulate the abstract emotions or atmosphere for your brand and logo, you’re not alone. Pinpointing the feelings behind a logo can be difficult or even frustrating. To help, you can include a mood board or inspirational examples in your logo design brief.
Here you can include logos you’ve seen that you like or logo styles that would suit your brand. It’s a great way to give your designer an idea of what to emulate. Likewise, mood boards can help you express your vision when words fail you, especially when you want to capture a particular atmosphere. These are great tools to help visually express what you are looking for in your logo design brief.
Dos and don’ts
Although optional, including a list of dos and don’ts can point out things you already know you want or don’t want in the logo design. For example, if you know you don’t want certain hues, tones or colors, you can say “use red as the primary color, but avoid light tones,” or if you want an illustration of a dog, you can say “use only simple rendition of dog illustrations.” This works best in conjunction with a completed brief, not replacing it.
3. Clarify timing and budget
At some point, your logo design brief needs to get back to business. Every logo design brief should cement the technical details of your arrangement, in particular the timeframe and budget.
Some logo design projects take months while others take only hours. Designers can work within a variety of time restraints, but don’t expect them to meet your deadlines if you don’t specify due dates beforehand.
A good logo design brief will clearly state the ideal timeframe for the project, including deadlines, markers and stages for revisions. Designers need to allocate their time accordingly, so giving them a definitive road map from the start helps them schedule their own time most efficiently.
If you’re apprehensive to commit to a set timeframe from the onset, consider the alternative. Missed deadlines and confusion about due dates can both delay projects and exacerbate costs. It’s best to just outline all the necessary dates from the start, and you can deal with extensions if or when the time comes.
You also want to solidify all the payment decisions in your logo design brief. Sure it can be awkward to discuss money up front, but not nearly as awkward as contesting a payment or burning a bridge because you neglected some financial details.
Specify whether you’re comfortable paying a base fee or an hourly rate (or if you’re open to either). Don’t be afraid to ask the designer for an estimate if they prefer an hourly rate. It can be difficult to negotiate a fair price if it’s your first time outsourcing design work, so take a look at our guide on how much a logo design should cost so you don’t go into negotiations blindly.
Checklist for writing the perfect logo design brief
Ready to write your own logo design description? Here’s a quick checklist of all the points we covered so you’re sure not to miss anything.
- Essential business information—name, industry, address, slogan, etc.
- Helpful business information—any secondary information about your business that helps designers get an understanding of your company, such as product sourcing, materials, brand values, mission statements, etc.
- Brand personality—personality traits for your brand to be depicted in your logo
- Type of logo—which of the 7 logos types do you want
- Color scheme—which colors do you want in your logo
- Artistic style—what style do you like? cartoony, illustrative, photorealistic, sci-fi, etc.
- Current trends—do you want to incorporate any current logo trends
- Inspirational examples—include other logos you like or mood boards for inspiration
- Dos and donts—create a list of all what you know you do or don’t want in your logo
- Timeframe—list essential deadlines and design stages for the project
- Budget—specify compensation and how design work will be charged
This article was originally written by workerbee and published in 2017. It has been updated with new examples and information.
Author: Matt Ellis