Just Say No to Descriptive Design!

A good digital designer is more than someone who simply pushes pixels around.  A good designer looks at the overall direction that a logo, brand, etc. needs to go. It's THEIR job to make it stylish and unique.  The sad thing is, most digital designers these days are being totally underutilized and bullied by backseat designers. 

When the majority of bosses and clients give a designer a task, for some reason they instantly evolve into a creative dictator, and the lowly designer becomes their slave. In our experience, people with no background in marketing and/or design tend to always overthink the process, and do their best to force their designers to design them camels.  What's a camel, you ask? A camel is a horse, designed by a committee.  

The Vision

The Result

Here is a real example of what I'm talking about:  One day we got a call here at Spectacle from a lighting company, and they told us they needed a logo.  They said they wanted it to incorporate their name, and have a fresh look.  We took on the project because designing logos is one of our favorite things to do, and we started working on it right away.  We designed them an outstanding logo, and even managed to get a small silhouette of a light into the negative space.  It was killer.  When we were done we sent it off to them, and the project manager said he loved it, but we needed to make the letters wider.  He said the clients needed to see that their company was solid just by looking at the logo, and thick letters was a good way to get this point across.  From a design aspect, this makes no sense, but we did it anyway because the client is always right(well, they are if you want to get that last half of the deposit).  The logo now looked worse, but our client was happier with it.  He then showed it to his bosses, and they sent us more revisions.  They told us that incorporating just their company name into the logo didn't convey what they do, and that we needed to place more information around the logo.  They told us we needed to add "Event Lighting, Light Rentals, and Lighting Design" into the logo somehow.  We told them it wasn't going to work with all that text, and a list of services doesn't belong in the design of the logo.  This blew their minds.  They said, "Well, how are people supposed to know what we do when they look at our logo?"  We then told them that's not what a logo is for, which is why Ebay didn't incorporate "An Online Auction Service Where you Bid on Stuff" into their logo.  A logo should not be descriptive.  "Zazzle" is a company that sells t-shirts.  Can you tell what they do just by looking at their logo? No, because that's not important. They let their customers know about their services in other ways, because that's how it should be done.

They ignored our advice, and made us add company descriptors, colors that didn't match,  and three DIFFERENT fonts with bad sizing for each descriptor.  They even made us put their logo in a random yellow box for some reason.  When all was said and done, the logo looked terrible.  It was a total camel.  The sad thing was they didn't even like it when we made all of their changes.  So many people had gotten involved, each of them making changes and tweaking it, that nobody got what they wanted.  What they ended up with was a total mess.

That situation doesn't need to happen to you. Before you hire a digital designer, put a single person in charge of handling your project.  This way, you will eliminate noise from people who have no idea what they're talking about, and communication to the designer will be easier.  Next, make sure you've found a designer that has an extensive background that you can trust, and check that they've done work that you like. When you find the one that fits, let them know what your goals are concerning the vibe and vision of your company, and just let them handle it.  A good digital designer knows the trends, styles, looks, and world of digital creation better than anyone, including you. If you step outside your comfort zone and pre-conceived notions, you'll end up with a great result that benefits your company as whole, not just each individual within it. 

Don't be these guys.  Treat your designer right.