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To Clients: Do You Really Need *Just* a Logo?

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

"Hello, I was hoping you could help me and my company with some design work – we just need a logo to put on our business collateral, like business cards and social media."

"We're currently rebranding our business, and we need a designer to come up with a couple of logo sketches/ideas for our new look."

Sound familiar?

Most of the time when you're asking for a logo, you're not actually asking for a logo.

For the longest time, even today, the terms "brand" and "logo" are more often than not, assumed to be the same thing and serve the same purpose. I'm one of many designers and creative entrepreneurs to say it's definitely not, and there's a time and place for just a logo, or looking at the brand identity a whole.

Either you're the client reading this, thinking "yea I think I've sent an email or two like that," or the designer thinking "I got at least 3 of those emails just last week." Either way, there's certainly a discussion to be had here!

This is something a little different than what I've been writing about this far – where, this time, I'm talking to the client, hoping to provide a little more insight on how to go about asking for such brand identity items whether you need them or not.

So, if you're a client looking to designers for these services, this might serve as a little insight to how you speak the design-language.


You're a new company/business, an entrepreneur out in the wild, a movement, an endeavor, all or any of the things. Most of the time, it's assumed that to pose as any form of legitimacy and credibility, there is a logo to be attached to the newfound business name. Some sort of identification. You're definitely not wrong – that is valid. But let me ask you this: Is there a reason as to why you stop/start with the logo?

While the logo may be the "stamp" you're able to press onto whatever surface, (whether its business cards, social media profile images, email signatures, etc.) that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Most of the time when you're asking for a logo, you're not actually asking for a logo.

(Did your mind just explode?)

Similar to when you ask for some branding, but the ask is primarily just a logo mark. They certainly are two peas in a pod – branding and logos – but, again, they are different.

Logo = A mark

Brand Identity = A system that works together over time

In my experience I've been asked to design a lot of logos in a very preliminary stage of the company/organization. So preliminary, that it was clear their mission, values, strategy, value proposition, characteristics, and other traits that make a business unique, were not outlined – sometimes not even thought about. And it ultimately showed. (It's more obvious when the client comes back a few times down the road to ask for a "logo refresh," because their foundational work wasn't laid down first – so the logo they received already seemed outdated or unaligned.)

Similarly, there are times when a client assumes they only need a logo, when they actually need brand identity work (accompanying fonts, print/web colors, photo direction, social media templates, etc.) There's a huge rabbit hole when it comes to what a brand actually means, but I won't get into that now.

And that's what we all – both clients and designers – want to avoid: doing various logos and aimlessly trying to find one that sticks. When really, its the brand that needs work. It all starts with doing a little legwork on your end (the client) to hopefully understand your own needs a little better before approaching a designer to make them come to life.

From a designer to a client, my only answer is to lay out your foundation as best as possible:

That "foundation" is your business' mission, core values, what makes you different, the "who/what/when/where/why" questions, etc. It's definitely not easy, but completely necessary. For both parties.

With such information, it helps the designer(s) understand where you're coming from. Where your pain points and strengths are. The kind of audience that you tailor to, and how to gain their attention. Other important things that start to form your brand, not just your brand identity.

For you, it helps you understand where you started, and where you're going. Everything from then on can be aligned to this foundation, some might call the "brand strategy," and there is less trying to aim for something that sticks, and more sticking instead.


The best part about you as the client doing this legwork beforehand, is that it not only saves you and the designer copious amounts of time, revisions, and energy – but the benefits that creating an intentional and purposeful brand (including a logo) have are evergreen and much more impactful than shooting in the dark, not knowing what the target is.

TLDR: Take the time to understand your needs as a business before asking a designer to design a "quick logo" for you.

Because, spoiler – logos should not be quick. Unless you want to spend lots of money and time redoing them over, and over again! ;)



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