Ep 2: How to get gorgeous graphic design without losing your damn mind

I cannot even tell you how many questions I get about creating logos for brands, y’all.

This video talks through the most common questions I get about design, including:
⇾ When should I start working on design?
⇾ Should you try to DIY your design or hire someone?
⇾ What questions do you need to ask before hiring a designer?
⇾ What types of things do you actually need to have designed?
⇾ What do all of these different file types mean?
⇾ How much should it cost?
⇾ How long should it take?

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Take the brand archetype quiz: https://brooke-logan.com/quiz/

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Here’s a transcript of the episode


Hello everyone!


The question that I get the most often is about design, obviously. Everybody associates branding really closely with design and that’s normal. I talked a little bit on what was the last one I did about how design should always be the last step in the process. As long as you’re doing that, and you’re doing everything in the right order, then design should really be the easiest part. Design should be the very last thing that you do. I’m just going to keep saying that over and over and over and over again because I really want you to remember it. Design comes last. After that though, the design really should be the easiest part.


And honestly, I know this might sound crazy. When I do design for my private clients and when I do logos and stuff like that, honestly, I only need to make one logo for them. Because I already know exactly what they want and exactly what they’re going to pick. I still usually give them more than one option just to kind of make them feel better. And it scares them to just say, oh, you’re only going to get one choice. But in reality you shouldn’t need more than that. And a good designer shouldn’t need more than that.


Okay, good question. Design comes last compared to all of the other brand strategy work. You want to figure out your why behind your business and what motivates you to do what you do and putting your personality into your business. Remember if you took the quiz, you really want to put your personality into your brand so that you can attract your ideal clients. They’re going to connect with you on that emotional level if you can just be the real you. Figure out how to do that first and then figure out who your ideal client is and how to talk to them. Like with your website copy or posts that you’re making or anything like that, you want to be able to speak to them in a language that they understand and where they really connect with you. Once you have all of those foundational pieces in place and you really understand where your brand is now and where you want to be and how to get there, then it’s super easy to do the design because you know exactly who you’re talking to, you know what they’re going to like, and it just becomes a bajillion times easier. Whether that means you’re doing it yourself or you’re hiring a designer to do it.


The questions that I get the most often are, should I try to do it myself? And is it crazy to do your design yourself?

And it’s totally not. I always tell people to try to do your design yourself first. There was no harm in trying it. Right? There are tons of free resources and classes and guides and – just search in Pinterest, say logo design and you’ll see some really good ones and some tips for stuff. I always tell people to try it themselves first because honestly no one should know your business better than you do anyway.


So if you try to DIY it, just make sure you try to understand the basic principles of design. Do look at some kind of guide or something if you don’t know what you’re doing at all. Basic principles of design – I’ll put on my graphic designer hat for a second. White space is your friend. Seriously, if you never learn anything else from me, white space is your friend. Use lots of white space for everything. Other things to look at are balance of things and simplicity – specifically for logos – simplicity is really the key. The worst logos are when people try to cram a whole bunch of crap into one tiny little graphic. Your logo should be a very small representation of just the feel of your brand. It doesn’t have to identify every single piece of everything that you do. And I think that’s where a lot of people get hung up. They’re like, well, I’m a strategist and I also do this and I also do this. And they want to try to put all of these little pieces in there and that’s when it just gets really messy. And most people don’t get it. most people don’t get what each thing is supposed to represent anyway. It’s better to just keep it simple.


White space is not always white. That’s just the industry term. It can be any color. Just let it breathe might be the better way to say it. Make sure there’s plenty of space around it. Don’t cram your logo way over in the corner and stick it over there up against the edge. And the same thing with if you’re making graphics for a Facebook post or something like that, don’t put things right against the edge is really what I mean when I say white space. Give everything plenty of room to breathe.


So, if you are going to DIY it, just make sure and try to do a little bit of research and go with simple. Always go with simple. I love the very simple logos. That’s just my design style. But honestly that’s really all you need anyway. You don’t need anything crazy and huge and elaborate to get your point across.


This goes for any kind of design. Book covers or Facebook posts or website graphics or even just the copy on the website. Let everything breathe. If you look at my home page, there’s tons of space in between every line of what I’m saying. And it’s there on purpose. Not only does it just look nicer and it looks clean, but it also, it serves a purpose to guide your readers eye where you want to go. You know exactly what you’re supposed to do next and you can really emphasize the points that you’re trying to emphasize.


In design, I think a lot of times people just say, oh, design is making it look pretty. And it is, but it’s so much more than that if you do it the right way. You use the design to get people to do what you want them to do, whatever you want them to do. Guide them where they need to be. Do that. Always try to do that.


Can we use the colors from our archetype in the logo?


Heck yes. That’s what the archetype guide is for! In the pdf downloads, there are color palette examples. That does not mean you can only use those colors for those archetypes, obviously, they’re just good examples to give you a starting point. But also, check out the Pinterest board for your archetype because their bajillions of examples on every single archetype Pinterest board on my Pinterest. I there are a couple other branch strategists that also use archetypes and they have some good Pinterest boards, too. So maybe just do a Pinterest search for that and you can find really good ideas for finding colors that really feel what you’re trying to go for.


If you do hire someone, there are a few things that you should look for when you are hiring a graphic designer. The very first thing, again, I’m going to keep saying this over and over again. If you go to hire a graphic designer and you’re looking at somebody to do the work for you, if the very first thing out of their mouth is not, okay, who’s your ideal client? What are you trying to accomplish with your logo? Then go somewhere else. If that’s not the first thing I say, then go somewhere else. Because that’s the only way you’re going to be able to use your logo to represent your brand instead of just having a pretty little graphic that doesn’t do anything for you.


So what you should look for in a designer then?


Some of the things are what types of things are included in your package besides a logo. You need a logo obviously, but what types of files are they actually going to give you? Always, always ask for the source files of everything. What that means is your actual, it’s an illustrator file, hopefully, if they’re a real designer – or you might’ve heard it, a vector file or an eps file – that means that you can take it and you can blow it up as big as you want and it’s not going to get pixelated and ugly and gross. You need one of those. Also make sure that you get a png file, which that means it has a transparent background that you can put it on things with a different colored background because if you have a jpeg or a file that, it’s going to have that white background. And I know that’s a problem for a lot of people to try to cut out their logos and cut out pictures and stuff that. If you don’t have Photoshop, that’s obviously kind of hard. Make sure you’re getting the right type of files like that. And if you have any questions about which file you should use for which thing, just type it in the comments and let me know, but you want those.


And then what else is included in your package?

Make sure that the designer that you’re getting is targeted for whatever you’re going to use your brand to do. Like, you can just go find any graphic designer on Fiverr or whatever, any of those sites and pay, 10 bucks even. You can get a logo for 10 bucks but make sure it’s set up in a way that you can actually use it. And it will work better though if you find a designer that knows how to work within your industry. If you’re an online entrepreneur like me, you’ll need your logo. You’ll also need social media cover images with the graphics that match and you’ll want a template for social media posts and make sure you find out also what format are you going to get those templates in? If they give you an Instagram template, is it going to be a Photoshop file that you can’t use? Or is it going to be in Canva? Or is it going to be a word template or something. Just make sure you know that you’ll be able to actually use it.


You can’t use an illustrator file if you don’t have illustrator. You can’t edit it. There are settings in word and excel and stuff like that where you can import eps files into there. It’s a box that you have to check. Just so you can be sure that it’s never grainy or tiny or anything that.


Another one to ask for though is a pdf. Ask for a high-res, unflattened pdf file of your logo because that will also scale and be as big as you want. And they’re easier to work with if you don’t have design software.


I’d say the most common one you need to make sure that you have, if you’re not a designer and you don’t actually need to edit them, is make sure you get that png file with the transparent background. Because that’s the one you’re going to want the most often. It’s really hard to you to use a jpeg in any kind of design stuff that you’re making unless you have a white background on literally everything it’s not going to help you very much. Get that png file.


Just make sure you get all of the pieces that you need. Make a list and think through every single thing that you would actually need. When I do the stuff for my clients, it’s all the social media covers, all of the templates, a banner to go in your email newsletter, and your actual email signature at the bottom with with your logo and everything that. What else is in there? I include business cards in a design package, or a thank you note or something like that, some kind of printed something. Just think through all of that before you start looking and try to find a designer that fits all those requirements for you.


How much should it cost?

I hear that one all the time. Honestly, you can pay any amount of money you want for a logo. You can go on Fiverr and pay 10 bucks, five bucks, its Fiverr. When I used to do just logos, I charged $2,000 was the base price for a logo. Now, I put everything in a package. But in design school, one of my professors did freelance design for bigger agencies and the minimum price he charged for a logo was $8,000. You can pay whatever you want. I will say though, you want to find kind of the middle ground and it’s more important to focus on what the deliverables are when you’re making that decision. You can’t compare a Fiverr, a five dollar logo, to something where you’re getting every single piece of the design that you need. Make sure and compare accordingly.


Also remember, you get what you pay for. Everybody, I say everybody, there are many people on the internet, especially VAs who say that they’re graphic designers, and at the risk of sounding a snotty brat, they’re not designers. Just because you know how to open design software and you paid for a subscription to Photoshop does not make you a designer. Just keep that in mind, too. Because that’s what a lot of those cheap ways to get logos, that’s what they are – is just crap usually. Just be careful. Obviously there are exceptions. I’ve heard of people getting really good design work done on Fiverr and remember the more prepared you are before you go talk to a designer, the better luck you’re going to have.


If you know exactly what you want and you can articulate, this is what I’m going for, this is the type of people I work with, this is the message that I need my logo to send, you’re going to get a lot better results than if you try to just say, “well I don’t really know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it. Can you just give me 15 options?” Because one, you’re not going to get what you like and also the designer’s going to hate you.


I would say if you’re going to go the cheap route, you might have better luck looking for a student. Because at least they’re learning the right way to do it. Maybe go to a local school that has a good graphic design program and say, Hey, I’m looking for this. Would you be interested in doing this and putting it in your portfolio? That’s a good way to get a cheaper version of a logo if you’re on a budget without sacrificing quality that you’re most likely gonna lose if you go online and just pick a random person.


And just remember, look for the balance. For most service based businesses, you don’t need some huge elaborate logo package. I include it in my package right now, it’s $10,000 for the four month brand strategy, and then you also get all the design. The design is just like, eh, that’s not really what it’s about. But it’s easy for me and it’s fun for me. I just throw it in, too.


But there’s a good middle ground in there. Just make sure you’re finding the right person. You want to check their portfolio, too. Once you know what your archetype is, then you’ll want to go and look at their portfolio and make sure that they can do the type of work that you need. Make sure it’s the right style. And it lines up. Because most designers are very set in their style and they don’t deviate from it a lot. just make sure you look at that stuff first. You don’t just pick them because they’re awesome and then they you find out that they can’t design girly things or manly things or what I’ve heard is. Just do your homework is really the bottom line when you’re picking a designer.


If you can afford it and if you’re in the place where you can hire a brand strategist that also does the design, like me, obviously that’s the most logical solution because you’re the number one person who understands your brand more than anyone. But then your brand strategist is right behind you, the next one up there. And they have the skill to do it usually. If you can go that route, go that route. If you can’t and you’re looking for other alternatives, I would suggest a student. That would be my number one suggestion. And if it’s not a student and then research the crap out of them and make sure they can actually give you what you need for the price point you’re looking for.


How long should this whole process take? And what’s the turnaround time?


Obviously it’s going to depend on which specific pieces you’re getting. If it’s just a logo, it really comes down to you get what you paid for. I like the Golden Triangle or something that people say online, there’s quality, speed, and price and you can only pick two. You can’t have all three. It really is going to come down to picking which of those things is the most important for you and your brand. With a student for these you’ll get good quality and you’ll get good price, but it probably will take a little bit longer. But you’ll have better results in the end. It’s just weighing, weighing what’s more important for you.


That would be my number one recommendation though, if you are trying to find a designer for cheap. Find a student and make sure you allow for the amount of time that it’s going to take.


How often should my logo be updated, if at all?


Ideally you won’t need to update your logo. And that’s where it comes in, too, if you get it right the first time, you shouldn’t need to update it. And if you keep it, like we said at the very beginning of the call, keep it simple first of all. And then if you’re designing the right way in terms of what your brand goals and your strategies are, you shouldn’t need to change it. Now, if you change your entire brand strategy and you decided to target a completely different person and offer something different than you might need to change it. But I would suggest not doing that. If you want to do something completely different, start a different business, don’t change whatever you’re trying to do and morph it into something else because it’s just going to confuse your audience a little bit. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have separate businesses that target different people though. Or somehow differentiate which people you’re talking to. But hopefully you shouldn’t have to update your logo.


If you can hire a brand strategist that knows how to do the design, that’s your best bet. If you can’t do that, find a student. That’s the takeaways that I wanted to talk about today.


All right, you guys have a good night. Bye!


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Hey, I’m Brooke!

I’m a Creator archetype, INTJ, and music snob. I will fight you if you try to convince me that a MacBook is an instrument. It’s not.

But as far as this whole business thang goes… I’m basically a weird mix of creative-big-picture-thinker and analytical strategery all rolled into one.

I can help you use your unique personality to stand out BOLDLY online and attract your ideal clients like a freakin’ magnet – just by being YOU.

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