December 20, 2023

A Guide to Getting a Good Logo Design Brief

Liv Strawbridge Profile Image
By Liv Strawbridge
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Min Read

The first and one of the most crucial steps of the logo design process, is to get information from your client by asking them some questions. This is generally referred to as taking a brief.

A brief, put simply is an outline of a project. It provides you with knowledge, insights and constraints to help you get a good idea of what your client needs. 

A good brief will help you narrow down the scope of the project, stay focused and create something both relevant and meaningful for the brand. 

As well as details your client gives you, a brief can also include self-sourced information, where you have used your intuition and ‘read between the lines’. This can happen in conversation with your client, or if you are at the brand’s headquarters you can look around for any clues. 

Getting the right ‘detail’ out of your client is very important. If you ask the right questions from the beginning, you’ll be setting yourself up for a smooth-flowing process, successful result, and most importantly, a happy client!

Here's my 3-step process for getting a good logo design brief.

1. Get detail with a questionnaire

A questionnaire is a great way to ensure you get crucial information right at the beginning, and there are a few ways you can approach asking these questions. 

Each way has advantages, and the appropriate method will most likely depend on where your client is in the world and how available they are to answer them for you.

Email / online form

The advantage of emailing your questions or sending your client an online form is that they have the time to do some research and really think through the answers.

Many times I’ve sent clients my logo questionnaire and they’ve commented on how they appreciate the questions and how they’ve made them think about their business, what they want to achieve and how they want to be visually represented.

Set up a questionnaire with an online form builder (such as Jotform), or ask them via email – either in the email body or attached as an editable PDF. 

In person / phone call

Taking a brief in person or on the phone is a great way to get insights of the personality behind the brand. 

Have a copy of your questionnaire with you to reference as you go. If you tend to get nervous in these situations or easily forget things you want to talk about, referring back to the questionnaire will help you stay on track and give you confidence that all questions will be covered.  

Over time, you’ll probably find you don’t need to refer to your questionnaire as much, as the conversation will flow naturally and you’ll be well practiced at helping your clients to open up and speak about their brand.

If the meeting is taking place at their office/premise, you may notice elements that are significant to their story. Ask about them. They may contain meaning that could be incorporated into the logo design.

👉 Be conscious of how much talking you are doing in the conversation. The more you can get your client to talk about their brand, the clearer your brief will become.

Make sure you avoid leading the client into agreeing on how you think the logo should look. 

Let them talk, and listen

Questions you can ask 

The key to successful brief taking is to ask open questions. Closed questions (yes or no answers) don’t give your client space to go into detail, and you want that detail – that’s what this step is all about! 

Some questions you can ask during a logo briefing are:

  • Who do you help, and how?
  • Are there any brands out there you like the look of, and why?  
  • Who are your competitors, what makes you different?
👉 Look for the comprehensive ‘Brief Questionnaire’ included in my Logo Design Process Kit to help you get better briefs and ask the right questions from the beginning. 

Practice!

Bringing the principal of open questions into your everyday conversations is a great way to practice and become confident in taking client briefs. 

Next time you’re having a chat with someone, ask “What have you been up to lately?”, instead of “How are you?”, which tends to lead to the stock-standard answer of “I’m fine thanks, how are you?”.

2. Define your brief

Now that you’ve collected the answers to your questions from the first step, it’s time to review the information you’ve gathered.

Essentially, you’re going to go through the information and identify parts that stand out to you in order ‘define’ the scope and restrictions of the brief. 

Having restrictions in the brief might sound like it will restrict your creativity, but it will actually encourage your mind to think at full capacity and create better design solutions.

There are three stages to this step; find keywords, clarify anything that’s unclear, and confirm the brief.  

Find keywords

Go through your answers and find all the keywords you can spot, and take note of any themes starting to emerge. 

They’re usually descriptive words, and they often pop up multiple times. These could be words like ‘friendly’ or ‘corporate’ or ‘hand-made’.

Isolating these words will help you to start to form the directions that are possible for your logo concepts.

Clarify anything that’s unclear

Now go through your answers again and look for anything that’s unclear. Do this now to save lots of back and forth with your client down the track. 

Never assume you know what your client means. If your client says they like cold colours, ask them for examples of cold colours they specifically like. Words like warm and cold are subjective, and may people see them differently. For instance, dark green could be considered a warm colour to some, while to others it’s seen as moody and cold. 

Don’t be afraid to go back to your client for clarity after you’ve received their answers. It’s not unprofessional – in fact it shows that you’re being thorough and showing attention to detail.

3. Confirm the brief

When you feel like you have enough information and everything is clear, type out the brief in a few sentences, including the keywords you’ve identified. Send it to your client, asking them to confirm you’re on the right track. 

Email is best for this, so you have their reply in writing to refer back to if needed.

This may seem like unnecessary admin, but it’s helpful in developing good communication between you and your client. It also allows an opportunity for your client to add anything they may have thought of after the fact.

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