The logo or brand identity reveal can be a daunting moment for both the designer and client.

As a designer one often presents the work with the expectation that the client will pick one and maybe revise the design once or twice. And as a client one has even higher expectations, wanting to see the perfect design to the point where it reflects what is in the mind.

Where both viewpoints from this aspect are actually unrealistic.

The client has come to the designer for creative direction and understanding of how the process works and what they can do within the boundaries of the creative process. It is not only about the actual design required, though of course it is a big part of it. It is up to the designer to present the work in a concise and easy-to-digest manner.

All brands have a story, this is how we connect with those brands and incorporate them into our daily lives.

Before starting the design process and even considering how to present there are a few things one should have done with the client.

Discovery phase

From the first meeting with the client one would need to have an honest discussion about their needs, direction and desired outcome of the brand and/or logo. Here the designer will need to discover the likes and dislikes, brand attributes and who they are targeting as well. It is essentially the first piece of the puzzle.

Collaboration

Working together has a great impact on the finished result. It is up to both the designer and client to create time and space to collaborate on taking the focus attributes and influences. The designer should create a collage of what was discovered in the first meeting. Looking for what stands out. At Blk-Ink Studio we uphold collaboration in both areas, client to designer/creative as well as creative to creative.

Best work and Tools

Ensure that the best work is on display when presenting a design. Use the right tools to ensure that there is in congruency across the board. It is quite simple.

I wanted to take the opportunity to have a look at stylescapes as it addresses two of the prerequisites, being the discovery phase and collaboration.

A stylescape is essentially a mood board that has been buffed up. With this the designer is able to present all the elements taken into consideration before beginning the actual design process. It breathes life into a concept.

From that first meeting with the client you are both entering the discovery phase and beginning the collaboration element. When going into the discovery phase as the designer you will want to prepare your questions beforehand. This is your moment to put the client at ease and get to know their requirements, desired goals and positioning in the marketplace. Looking at aspects such as targeted audience, client/company background, brand attributes and words the client feels is associated with that particular brand. While also addressing the client’s competitors and items they hate or love about competitors, other brands and their own current brand if applicable. With this information you are discovering who the client is. It will help you prepare the stylescape options with clear understanding of the client.

Lastly you will want to address the colours the client wants to use or incorporate (bearing in mind that a good logo must be able to look good in monotone and be adapted easily to any required medium) including any other elements like a specific font or use of the logo.

Finally the stylescape options can be created. All of the information must be taken into consideration when creating the stylescape options. Three stylescape options is the preferred number, displaying three different directions of the concept. The stylescape should incorporate font, colour, the focused brand attributes as well as the brand story in a visual manner. From here true collaboration can begin. Allowing the client to see the beginning of the life into the concept. Once the designer and client have come to a conclusion on which stylescape is the best option for that particular brand you can move on into the design process of the actual logo.

Being the designer you want to put your best foot forward. You will want to present the logos/designs to the client in clear way so that the client is able to digest what you are presenting them.

So now you have all the information you need to begin your actual design presentation. What is your first step?

Instead of jumping straight into the presentation go back to the beginning. This is the best time to go over all the aspects. Look at why the logo/designs are needed and what the desired response to the logo/ design is. Make sure you understand the objectives set forward by the client and the collaboration you have had over the preparation period.
When building your presentation you will want to take into account that each logo/design presented a story needs to be told both verbally and visually. Each presented separately, cleanly and congruent with each other. Typically the best three are to be presented as anymore can be overwhelming and any less is rather limiting.

Start your presentation by reviewing the stylescape, the focused attributes and what steps were taken before the design process began. Consider this a palate cleanser, bringing the client back to where you left off and the mindset you were all in at the time of collaboration.

Each logo/design option should be presented on its own in a rather precise sequence to keep attention and show the flow of the design process and possible uses of each.

The logo needs to be presented in the best light. Often the best way to present a logo is in person or via a video conference.

And yes I am repeating myself but do showcase each logo separately, and in the following sequence:

  1. Isolated logo on a white background
  2. Split screen one colour (monotone) logo
  3. Standard mock-ups such business cards, stationery, t-shirts etc.
  4. Small format mock-us such as wax seals, cufflinks, stamps etc.
  5. Large format mock-ups such as signage, side of a a building, banners etc.
  6. Isolated logo on white

Again tell your story for each of these logos and include your design process, how you got to these logos.

Logo on the white background creates the desire to be drawn in by that one image. The white space provides the negative space necessary to showcase the logo in all of its aww and overall presence.

By showcasing the logo in a monotone scheme you are able to flaunt the beauty of the design in terms of its adaptability to various mediums. This also allows the client to view the design as it is without being swayed by personal opinions on colour, shades of colour and any other aspect that come to their minds.

Now that the client has seen the logo they will probably like to see how that can relate to their daily work related activities. By presenting the logo with mock-ups which relate to the client they will grasp the idea of how the logo will look when printed, painted and any other medium which comes into play.

It is also a real ego boost to see your logo on something.

Real world applications are very important to brands/companies. It is there way of being ever present in the real world, a way for followers/users of the brand to show their support and for people involved in the brand/company to show their pride.

Once you have finished your presentation and this whole journey comes down to ‘what now’ give a moment to reflect.

Then ask the questions everyone will be edging away from and try not to force a decision or your opinion onto the client. Here are some questions to consider in your next presentation:

  • So did we miss the mark?
  • Did we take a step in the right direction?
  • Have we addressed [insert pain point]?
  • Which option would you remove?
  • How would your target audience react?

The idea here is to help the client remove personal opinions from the equation. And try not to push for a decision. Give it a breather and leave the presentation at that. The client will need sometime to go over what has been presented. So tell them what the timeline is and when you will be in contact to discuss the option that best suits them.

Always provide timelines and stick to them. Managing expectations is the first step into good project management. The client will also be at ease working with someone who takes the time to follow up and stick to their own timelines.