We sat down with Oliver Tuzzio, creative freelancer and graphic designer at Reeves Media, to discuss the importance of engaging branding. Oliver works with a wide range of clients from small businesses to large conglomerates so understands the power of a great logo and a strong brand identity whatever the size of your business. He shared some great tips when hiring a graphic designer and how to make your business stand out in the crowd.
1. Do you prefer a client to come to you with a very strict vision or do you prefer to have lots of creative freedom?
‘The main thing is, make it an effective brief. If you are writing a brief for a designer tell them the why’s and what's of the situation. Why do you need your logo doing? What is your brand/business vision? These are the things that give the designer direction. Do the why’s and the what’s but leave it up to the designer to come up with the strategy as to how they're going to achieve it. This opens up a lot of different opportunities for exploration and can build a stronger client / designer relationship.’
‘A lot of people undervalue what a designer does. They are paying for the years of experience, the understanding of messaging, audiences, and demographics.’
2. What kind of research should be done before creating a logo?
‘I wouldn’t expect a business to do any research if they are hiring me to create artwork for them, it’s not their job to understand how things should look. From a designers point of view, you want as much information about the business. I want to know the client, the tone of voice of the business, what are the pain points, who are their customers? I also need to understand how much of a breakaway from their current identity they are willing to explore if they are doing a rebrand. Once you’ve got that information that’s when the ideas start to come together.’
3. Do you do any Intellectual Property (IP) checks before designing a logo? If yes, what are they?
‘Everything we make is unique however there are websites where you can use icons and download vectors which you must check the licensing for. You may be asked by the designer to pay or attribute them for downloadable vectors even if it’s a small part of a larger design.’
4. If you are engaged by a small business to create a logo, do you have it in the contract that they own the IP rights?
‘I would definitely have something in the contract about the ownership of the artwork. When I’m working freelance, if I hand over a piece of artwork and it’s signed off and paid for, I consider it theirs after that. I’d make the brand guidelines for them outlining when to use it, where to use it and how not to use the work we created. I would ask a client to allow me to use it in my portfolio though, under strict guidelines that I’m using it as an example of my work.’
5. A lot of our small business community use sites like Fiverr to create their logos due to limited budgets, would you advise this?
‘It’s one of those things that sounds like a really good idea in your head. What you have on there is anyone with some design software and then what happens is you start to devalue the purpose of good design. I understand small businesses have less budget but it’s like if you hired a plumber for a fiver, you probably would still have a leaky tap at the end of it.’
‘Canva is great, we use it. I would advise to pop on there and use it for social media posts. If you’re doing a lot of social content, you need templates and it’s really useful for that. I wouldn’t use it to create a logo though.’
6. Are there any cliché’s you would advise to avoid in logo design?
‘When someone says ‘we just like this’. That just means nothing. If I’m presenting to my Director or a client I will always go into the full meaning behind every element I’ve used. This includes colour, typography, colour, and shapes, they all have a meaning why they are linked back to the brief and brand I’m working on. Don’t follow trends. Trends are just trends, and they change each year but a brand is meant to be timeless. You can’t have something that’s going to fade away in a year.
‘Keep it simple but significant.’
Also, the use of generic symbols. Using really obvious icons in a logo, for example how many coffee shops have you seen with a coffee cup in the logo? Or dentists that use a tooth in their logo? I don’t know if it’s a cliché, but I don’t like monograms, like two interwoven letters. If you google any two letters, you’ll come up with loads of ways that those two letters can look together, it’s very clever but generally it’s overused and it’s not saying anything about the brand.’
7. What are the biggest mistakes people make when designing a logo?
‘It’s understanding good design. Everything from the basics of how things are aligned through to typography. Typography has so much meaning, every letter and font style has a different meaning as to why it’s those letters and those shapes and why they’re spaced out that way. Choosing a different font is going to give a whole new meaning to your brand. A number of fonts get overused because they’re safe. Designers saying not to use Helvetica has actually now become a cliché within itself.
'The whole point of a brand is to cut through the noise of your competitors and speak to the audience you want to speak to. If you use safe design, you’ll just get lost in a sea of brands and advertising.’
‘People don’t really think about scaling things. I think that really matters when it comes to typography, you could have a really nice type face that looks amazing when you’re a foot away from your computer screen but when you stand 6 feet back you can’t read it. Think about how the logo will look when someone is driving past in a car, or how it looks scaled down onto a business card or blown up onto a billboard.’
‘Don’t be scared to do things a little bit differently, go against the grain. You never know where it could take you.’
8. What is some of your favourite branding?
‘The IMB logo is timeless, they haven’t changed that since the 70’s and they haven’t needed to. MacDonalds are a great example of maximising the potential of your logo, even building campaigns around it. I don’t want to advocate anyone eat MacDonalds but from a branding point of view they’ve created a whole story out of that logo that really speaks to people.’
‘Ultimately it’s about communicating your brand and creating something your customers will love.’