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Think your getting a great deal on that logo? Are you paying in advance for a "fixed" number of designs? Before you hire any company to create your logo, find out first what you're really getting. Even the cheapest price is too high if all you're left with are lousy designs that you hate. Many clients have approached us with this exact scenrio; they've paid in advance for a set number of designs - none of which work - now they need a real design firm, offering real solutions to create a logo they know will work.

The following five questions will help you determine if you're getting a real deal, or just throwing your money away.

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Design Firm to Create Your Logo.

1. How many designs will I receive?

This, by far, is the most important question. Most design firms will offer a certain number of designs at a certain fee - the more designs, the higher the fee. Beware! Many poplular logo websites sell "cookie-cutter" designs which are made from ready-made graphics, with no consideration to YOUR actual business. Furthermore, many of these "unique" designs will really just be the same design, with only minor differences, such as color or font choices, to "pad" the number of designs they promised.

You should never pay any company in advance, in full, for a limited number of designs - no matter how good the price may be. You may very well get stuck paying for a logo you hate! You should also be certain you are allowed as many revisions as necessary.

Price points should not be based on the number of designs, but should apply to these factors:

The only exception to a design firm limiting your design options would be if the design firm is working "on spec" - that is, they are providing preliminary designs without any advance payment or obligation to purchase the designs. Though rare, some design firms will work "on spec" for certain projects.

2. How many designers will work on my design?

Whether you're spending $500 or $5000, at least 3 designers should be working on your project. The simple, obvious answer is more designers equal more unique designs. If you give 10 designers the same project, you will get 10 completely unique and different solutions. Who knows what creative minds will produce?

3. Will the logo work in black and white and reproduce well at all sizes?

Ahhh. The "cat got your tongue" question. Many firms cannot, or simply will not want to answer this question. Why?

In short, many designers simply do not know what it takes to create a succesful logo. One that will stand the test of time and work across multiple media platforms, such as internet, newspaper, trucks, and billboards.

Consider for a moment some of the most recognizalbe logo designs: Coca Cola®, BMW®, Nike®, Microsoft®, GE®, CBS®, Time/Warner®, and Ford® to name a few. All are as relevant today as the day they were created, which was well before the advent of computers! If you're logo does not work first in black and white, at both very large and very small sizes, it will look no better with an emboss effect, and it is destined to be quickly out of date.

4. Do you have related examples?

When looking for a specific style or treatment for your logo be sure the design firm you are interviewing can provide samples that are in-line with the look or style you are trying to achieve. If the design firm doesn't have an extensive portfolio (15 or more designs), they may be an inexperienced company that can not provide you with a wide array of options. A quick review of our portfolio will reveal an extensive range of styles and techniques, for instance.

5. Will I own the artwork rights?

This seemingly harmless question can create many headaches. Besides the legal implications, you do not want to be forever tied to the design firm that creates your logo. Insist on owning the final design outright and be sure in advance you will receive the original artwork (most likely Adobe Illustrator®). Furthermore, your ownership guarantees you can use the logo as you like and, more importantly, modify the artwork in the future if you choose. Of course, this does not apply to any designs or concepts that are not paid for, but only to the final design that is paid in full.

For more on logo design, here is an excellent article on design and branding