Hello, I am Darya – a Dublin-based logo designer and illustrator. For the last two years, I have been working with dozens of entrepreneurs and side hustlers. I help them launch successful businesses and create visual identities for their brands.
I love working with new entrepreneurs as they are always passionate about a product or service they plan to launch. At the same time, I see again and again that my clients don’t have many critical questions regarding their business figured out before starting to work with a logo designer. Lacking this information makes the design process slower and the outcome less exciting and unique.
It is natural to not have everything worked out when starting a business. I would, however, strongly advise doing some homework before hiring a logo designer. You’ll not only save time, but you’ll also avoid disappointment and extra costs. Moreover, it will guarantee that a designer delivers the best possible logo and visual branding.
In this article, I summarise the most important questions you need to answer before talking to a logo designer.
Shape your business idea
Congratulations you have a business idea in mind! Either coming out of personal need, passion or experience it probably was on your mind for a while before you finally decided to bring it to life.
If you have never run a business before or have any marketing skills it is a perfect moment to self-educate and dig a bit deeper. I’ll start by suggesting a few questions for you to consider.
The below questions will help you get a better understanding of your idea and business positioning:
- What is your product or service? What makes it special? What makes it stand out from the competition?
- What is the purpose of the business? Who will it help, inspire, and bring value to? Why have you decided to start a business in the first place?
- What is the story of your brand? How did you come up with the idea to create a company?
- How much will your product or service cost? Will it be budget, mid-range, or premium?
- Imagine your brand as a person. What traits would it have? What adjectives would you use to describe it?
Consider writing as much as you can for each of them in a notebook. Any ideas and thoughts are helpful in the early stages. You can always clarify and focus your vision as you go.
Example of brand positioning
Let’s look at an imaginary Irish homeware brand which we will call “Cré” as an example of what the outcome could be:
Handcrafted tableware with a modern twist. Minimalist and expressive design, vibrant colour palette. Sustainable design and master craftsmanship from Galway, Ireland. We are a zero-waste company.
Bring joy to every household by providing exceptional and playful tableware.
When I was 12, I was introduced to pottery in secondary school. It’s safe to say it was a match made in heaven. Since then, I’ve earned a degree in ceramics and experimented with every technique under the sun. While I enjoy making tableware, I am most taken with how people react to it. By using bright colours and memorable designs, I hope to infuse my lively and fun-loving personality into my designs. My company’s name, “Cré,” means “clay” in Irish.
Mid-range to high-end, depending on the item.
Positive, vibrant, bold, playful, friendly, fun.
Even a brief description will provide you and your designer with a much better understanding of what your brand is about and how you want customers to perceive it. The designer’s job will be to find a visual style that conveys the brand’s purpose, story, and traits.
Define your audience
You now have a better idea of what your company will be about. It’s time to define your target audience.
To get you started, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will buy your product or service? What is their location, gender, age, income, occupation, and interests?
- What is essential for these people? What do they care about?
- What problem do you resolve for them?
- How can they find out about your company?
- How will they purchase your goods or services?
- What do you want future customers to think and feel about your brand?
Creating a detailed persona of your ideal customer is always beneficial. Consider them a real person you know, and imagine their lifestyle, interests, and habits. Where do they go to work? What television shows do they watch? What would they do on a weekend? Give them a name, of course.
Remember that neither brand exploration nor audience definition are set in stone. So there is no need for perfection; rather, having a starting point is more important.
It is up to you, as a business owner, to change these definitions over time as your brand grows and evolves. It’s difficult enough to figure everything out when you’re just getting started. But believe me when I say that over time, when you interact with your customers, you will have a much better understanding of who they are and what they want.
Branding is a vast subject that would be impossible to cover in a single short article. Here are a few books to help you dig deeper:
- “Brand Yourself: A no-nonsense brand toolkit for small businesses” by Lucy Werner and Hadrien Chatelet
- “Do Purpose: Why Brands with a Purpose Do Better and Matter More” by David Hieatt
- “Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen” by Donald Miller
Give it a name
The final question is, what will be the name of your company?
Naming a company is an art in its own right. In some cases, coming up with a name will be very easy; in others, you will need more time and possibly some assistance.
The primary goal of the company name is to reflect the essence of your business. It should ideally be easy to read and pronounce, while also being memorable and unique.
If nothing comes to mind right away, brainstorming is a great way to generate naming ideas:
- Make a list of all the words you associate with your new business, product, or service. What benefits does it offer customers? Consider how your customers will feel when they interact with your products or how your service will make their lives easier.
- There are no bad ideas at this point. Add to your list everything that comes to mind.
- In the following stage, look for similarities in words that stand out to you. Which ones best represent the nature of your company?
- Many unique combinations can be created by combining words into phrases or translating them into different languages.
- After the initial brainstorming, give yourself some time – a few days or a week – to brew ideas. The best results can sometimes be found in the most unexpected places, such as during a walk, workout, or shower. That is simply how the brain functions.
If you have a few options in mind, that’s fantastic! Before selecting a winner, you must first check a few things:
- Look up competitors with the same or similar names in your industry and the country where you intend to operate.
- Check to see if there are any registered trademarks or businesses with a similar name in the markets where you intend to operate. This can be done through the use of business registration services or directories in your country.
- Check to see whether a web domain for this name is available. You can do so through domain reseller websites such as namecheap.com or godaddy.com. They frequently offer an advanced search option and can assist you in coming up with name suggestions. Ideally, you should register a .com domain or a domain for your country (e.g. .ie for Ireland, .co.uk for the UK).
- Finally, research the major social media platforms where you intend to be present. Look for an account with the name you’re thinking of. Are those accounts available or have they already been taken? Is there a high number of accounts with similar names? Will it be simple to find you?
I hope these steps will help you in coming up with a great catchy name for your company.
Don’t give up if brainstorming creates more frustration than results – and please don’t be too hard on yourself because naming is a skill that takes time and effort to develop. Many companies offer naming services for a reasonable fee. Frozenlemons.com for example.
Make it official
When all the checks are completed with flying colours, you can finally make it official and register a company with local authorities. The process will be different for each country or territory. You may require additional guidance on the form of ownership, among other things.
Once the company is registered, ensure that it is also done on the web:
- Buy a domain. Namecheap.com and Godaddy.com are my go-to domain providers.
- Purchase hosting and create a business email address. Doesn’t it feel like the real thing now? There are multiple choices for creating a professional email account. Google Workspace is a simple option.
- Create accounts on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and any other social media platforms that you intend to use. There is no need to make those accounts public for the time being, but it is critical to reserve account names. Ideally, all of the handles on these platforms will be the same or similar to your domain.
It is critical to have these details worked out before designing marketing materials. You don’t want to order marketing materials from your printer with an incorrect email address displayed.
You are now ready to meet with a logo designer and begin work on your logo and the rest of your visual brand identity. I would be delighted to assist you in shaping your brand and creating a distinct identity for it.