In my line of work, projects often get started by a conversation like this:
“We need a new logo (or website or brochure), and we really like your work. Would you be interested in the project?” We then usually sit down and go through a lot of the logistics, details, price, etc. But eventually, and most importantly, I ask a seemingly obvious question:
“Why do you want a new logo?”
The client then responds with a standard list of reasons like “our current one looks really out of date” or “we had my brother-in-law design the old one” or “we don’t like the red color in it.” And while these are all very important things to note, they don’t get at the heart of the purpose that I’m looking for.
Any piece of communication, whether it’s a logo, magazine or website, is a tool to communicate a message. Sometimes we refer to these things as megaphones. They help amplify or spread the message, but they aren’t the message themselves. If you had a megaphone in front of a crowd, you’d probably want to know what you were going to say, and also what you’d want the audience to do or think as a result. Otherwise the megaphone would be pretty useless.
Obviously, the same holds true for a logo, or website or any other piece of communication. If you don’t know what you want to say and accomplish, the end result won’t be much more than just a pretty picture. A few other questions that can get at this a little more are:
-What’s the primary purpose of this piece? What’s the secondary?
-What is the primary message that you want to communicate to your audience with this piece?
-What do you want your audience to think and feel when they view this logo/website, brochure?
-How will we know that this project is successful with your audience?
The takeaway? While low hanging fruit like “we don’t like the way it looks” or “it’s broken” are easy things to point at, thinking about the overall purpose and message of a project will prove to be essential in it’s success. In other words, you’re hiring us to solve a problem, just to just produce a product.