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How to do Design Research as a Logo Designer

07-11-2022 - By August van de Ven

Design exercise generator: FakeClients.com

If you're an experienced designer, you are likely already aware of the importance of design research when it comes to doing logo design work for clients. The fault many beginning designers make is to immediately start designing using their favorite design software. While you may feel enthusiastic to immediately get started designing, this can cause many problems later on. Skipping the research phase of the design process can for example, lead to a misunderstanding of the industry your client is in. As an extreme example, a logo for a company that creates software for businesses will be wildly different from a logo for a children's clothing brand. This is why the research phase plays a very important role in the design process. For beginning designers, it might be hard to know where exactly to get started with your research and what you should look into. Here we'll cover everything from researching your client to looking into the target audience and customers.

Get to Know your Client

Firstly, you obviously already know the basic details of the client you're working for. You'll need to go further than that to get to know all about the client you’re working for, the industry they’re in and the customers or audience they’re targeting. The client probably already introduced themselves to you when first contacting you but they often don’t tell everything about themselves besides the positives. It’s important to, besides the things that are going well for them, also get to know the parts of their business that aren’t doing as well, what customers are actually thinking of them and what parts aren’t bringing in any money. Using the right branding, a lot of problems can potentially be fixed or at least aided using design. This is something the client often doesn’t realize. Ask your client for this information and write all of it down. You'll need to use all of the information you gathered in creating your first concepts.

Get to Know the Industry

Not only get to know the business you’re working for but also the industry they’re operating in. Who are their competitors, rivals and partners? Do they have the same objectives as your client and what is their branding like? Do not only look at the branding, however. Try to get a sense of what the results are of their branding. This will help you get a clear picture of the impact the type of branding has on the customer in the industry your client operates in. When a certain competitor has a younger customer base, and your client doesn’t, it’s a great idea to start looking at the differences in branding and the design of their logo that, for example, seems to speak more towards younger people. As much as you might want to focus mostly on the visual side of designing a logo, your client will most likely focus primarily on a return on their investment in a new logo. It’ll be your job to try to find a balance between these two factors.

Get to Know the Customer

As stated before, one of the most important aspects of doing research while designing for companies is to get to know their customers. Customers come in all forms and you'll need to adjust your design according to that. Two of the major types of businesses, grouped by customers, are so-called B2C businesses and B2B businesses. B2C abbreviates "business-to-consumer" which is a business that mainly sells their products or services to ordinary people. B2B on the other hand, meaning "business-to-business", is a business that mainly sells to other businesses. When you are designing for a B2C business there are a lot more details to look into regarding their customers. Some examples are the customer's age, location, interests, and gender. Most businesses will have a rough estimate of these details but you can get a more accurate measure by doing surveys or interviewing customers. This research will get you a clear picture of who you're targeting with your design and will eliminate any guesswork.

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