View the original post
I’ve been working for years in design, and I must tell you most of my shortcomings come from me not being able to present my work in a correct way. Just sending what you created won’t work — sadly enough. Even the things you text along with your logo file can screw you over big time.
When becoming a designer, you are taking on an occupation of a one-man orchestra, apart from doing the main job, you’re now a marketer, a psychologist, a sales-person, and a showman. The design won’t sell itself, so you should.
It is in fact hard to make a client see through our eyes: that is why the correct presentation can play a crucial role in getting your message across. And you shouldn’t be angry at that — most of your clients don’t know anything about logo design, the latest trends, and anti-trends.
So, speaking solely from my experience, I’m here to share some tips & tricks I learned along the way.
Fall in Love With the Project
The briefing is not a technical process. This is a stage when you dive deep into the client’s sphere, services, differences, and focal points.
If you want to make the client release their passion, and open their mind to you, you need to think about how to make the process comfortable for them. One way is to ask the right questions. It will ensure that both the client and you are on the same page from the outset and creates a framework for presenting the designs later on in the process.
Some of the questions you might wanna ask the brand:
- What do you do, and why?
- What is your unique selling point (“We are the only company to [provide this service]“)
- What is your story?
- Who are your competitors?
- Who loves or may love you, and why?
- Are you going to influence the lifestyle of your customers and how?
- What emotions do you want to evoke in your customers?
Tip: Before the corona crisis hit, I practiced face-to-face meetings with my client. If they lived in my area, of course. I liked to meet them at their workplace so that they could show me the things they were talking about. If the pandemic ever ends, you should try this approach too. Nothing helps to feel the project as much as seeing how it’s created.
Note: The briefing is important, but also your own effort. Apart from the information given to you by the client, try making your own research and express your opinions. This will make the client trust you more, and help them to place you into the context of their product.
Give Options & Details
After you confirmed the style of the design on the briefing stage, try not to ask for references. Then, offer some ideas. If you ask a client to show references, most often than not they send their competitor’s designs. Later, it will be hard for them to develop their own style.
Armed with your own ideas, give your clients something to choose from. Prepare a few versions of the logos, with different designs and ideas behind them.
For instance, you can provide 3 logo options, that you have come up with keeping in mind the target audience of the brand (it’s important!). Make sure you also provide detailed explanations of your design choices. Here’s my go-to list of specifications:
To whom this option will appear the most?
Will this logo be appealing to the mass market or maybe cover a specific demographic? Justify why this or that logo design suits the client’s target audience the most.
What emotions will this option evoke?
People drive on the associations, on emotions that derive from certain things. Colors, shapes, sharp angles — or round ones have the ability to evoke certain feelings. Make sure you keep that in line with the values of your client’s brand.
What style is played off the best in that option?
Is it a cozy, happy one, or a sharp, cold, and trendy one? Give your client an opportunity to choose the “feeling” of the brand.
What is the psychology behind colors?
Why did you choose this color palette? How will people react to it?
What is the reason you used the fonts you used?
There is no secret already that people correlate emotions even with fonts. Cursives make a whole other impression than the bolds.
What story does this option tell?
What story lays behind all the elements I have mentioned? The colors, fonts, styles? Does it tell the story of the brand?
By including all those specifications, you don’t leave your client room for doubt: yes, you have made the task to its fullest giving choices, styles, emotions to choose between.
Revert to Psychology
Are you familiar with the rule of three? People usually only remember 3 things from a list. If you’re presenting more logos than three, you should also consider the order. People remember the first position the best, then the last one, then the second, third, etc. So when it comes to presenting concepts, put the best concept first, the second-best at the end, and the third, fourth, and however many more in the middle.
Add Real-Life Examples
You always want to showcase how your logos will look in real life — I’ve put it in bold just above. By doing it you erase the doubts your client has: ‘What it would look like on a website?”, “What if I put it on my flyer — will it look good?”. Yes, it will look good. See for yourself!
Remember The Brand
The technique is not the only thing you need to create a logo your clients will approve of. Think about the visual solutions that will encompass the brand’s strategic goals, and show what problems the brand is solving.
There should be a thought process behind every logo option you provide — you should be ready to justify the design. I find it also helps to actually add little notes next to visuals, describing how the design I created correlates with the goal (which I and my client established in a brief beforehand — mentioned above).
Don’t Shy Away From Online Tools
Yes, I know you frown on that one. Sad to admit — there are not many professional tools with the needed functionality: not enough templates, no creative designs, nothing that can show individuality.
However, there are some tools that I use quite often. Here are some of them:
Gingersauce.co — an online brand book creator. Just recently came across this app, looking for some templates — was impressed, not gonna lie. Creating a brand book is always a win, yet it does take quite some time. Finding a tool that helps save some of that time is a good find: easy flow, cool features like logo misuses, etc. Worth looking into!
So, why use Gingersauce?
- Collects all the alternatives and variations;
- Allows you to present your logos in real-life examples;
- Allows you to present small versions of the logo, add misuses, logo proportions, add alternative logo variations, and more.
- Quick, easy, and intuitive.
LiveSurface — An Illustrator plugin. If you’re using Illustrator on Mac, this tool will allow you to create those real-life examples I was talking about earlier. Easy peasy!
So, why use LiveSurface?
- Integrates directly into Illustrator;
- Quick and easy to use.
Logo Design Love — a website devoted to logos, and everything related to visual identity. Super interesting to check out!
So, why use Logo Design Love?
- Weekly updated with good ideas and identity features;
- Great for taking inspiration;
Brand New from Under Consideration — a website that covers redesigns and new designs of notable products, companies, services, and organizations across all industries and locations.
P.S. They have just switched to a new subscription model, and now — no ads on the website! Phew 🙂
So, why use Brand New?
- In-depth coverage of design news;
- Great for taking inspiration;
- Search by industry, colors, fonts, etc.
Give Tete-a-Tete Presentation
It’s so much easier to send off your work via email, isn’t it? What if I told you that presenting your logo designs face-to-face, or even via Skype call works a lot better?
Here’s what I do:
- I send a brand book half hour before the call, to let the client look through it;
- When the meeting starts I first remind the client about the goals that were set before me.
- Then, I like to express in what way I expect to receive my feedback. For instance, I mention that I’d appreciate it if all the comments won’t be expressed until after all designs are presented. This way you will remain in control of the presentation and will be able to get your point across without being interrupted.
- After you’re done with the presentation, encourage constructive feedback by asking the right questions. Why do you think this design does not correlate with the goals we set? What would help make it more correlating?
- Last but not least, always listen to what the client says: they know their audience better than you do after all.
Few other tips on the presentation:
Always think about how the client views the presentation. If you’re making a live or video presentation of your visuals while using Powerpoint-like tools to accompany it, make sure the slides work for us. Use short thesis statements and important pictures. Make sure you’re telling the most of the information by yourself.
If you’re sending it by email, make sure that the information is easily understood even to those who skim through the headlined. Add more comments, background, links.
Also, I have noticed that clients respond better if I put linking phrases between slides. Such as, so how did I solve this, or let’s get into details. This will allow the clients to be involved a lot better since these links imitate a dialogue.
The Bottom Line
I am not an expert in presentations — I make mistakes all the time still. However, these are some things that make the presentation process go a lot smoother.
- Make sure you’re on the same page as your client.
- Ask questions if you didn’t understand something. Yes, for the 3rd time is also fine.
- Present your visuals in the most professional way possible.
- Make sure you have thought through the designs you create.
- Do not shy away from face-to-face convos!
Do you have any other tips you find helpful? Share some with me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Also, if you follow any of the advice I have listed, make sure to let me know how it worked out for you — I’d love to chat!