I get a lot of quote requests from people that have already figured out exactly what they want for a logo, they just need someone to design it for them. Occasionally people will come up with a really good idea but more often than not their ideas are just too literal, and sometimes they are so literal and so full of information that nobody will ever take the time to understand what it means; here’s an example:
I’m starting a new business and I know exactly what I want, I’d like a picture of a big BBQ hitched to the back of a monster truck, and standing next to the monster truck is an alligator wearing cowboy boots, sunglasses, and a chefs hat…
This is an actual request from somebody and while it is an extreme example it does serve as a good lesson on how to avoid designing a bad logo that will potentially do a lot of damage to your brand image. What the customer is asking for isn’t a logo, it’s an explanation. What they are trying to do is convey the identity they want their potential customers to have of them. This approach comes from a lack of understanding of what a logo is for, and the primary purpose of a logo is to help your business be recognized and remembered but to do either it needs to be understood and if you pack in too much information into a design it will just end up being a confusing mess.
A good logo is a simple thing, it doesn’t try to explain what your company does and it doesn’t try and sell anything. When a logo is used to explain a business it stops being a logo and becomes an advertisement. A logo is meant to do one thing and an advertisement is meant to do another, they are different tools for different jobs. A hammer can’t drive screws and a screwdriver can’t hammer nails. No matter what you are trying to build, whether it be a house, a deck, or a business, it’s only going to come together and fulfill its function if you use the right tools for the job.