I think it’s safe to say everyone at some point has thought they wanted one thing only to find out that particular thing wasn’t right for them at all. Whether shopping for a dress for a party, picking out a new car, or maybe even a new pet, sometimes we end up happier with something a little different than what we first envisioned. What all these scenarios have in common is flexibility, which can go a long way in graphic design projects, too.
I recently had a client come in for a logo design and branding project, and they knew what they wanted right off the bat. They even brought a drawing of what they thought their new logo should look like. I took the drawing, recreated it in Illustrator, sent it back to them, and then everyone lived happily ever after.
Sunn Solar did come to the kick off meeting very well prepared, and with a sketch for me, but they also brought with them an open mind. Compared to many other things I’ve been handed in a kick off meeting, Sunn Solar’s sketch wasn’t bad, and I knew I could easily give them something similar. Even though the company was new, these guys had a solid understanding of their brand, and made it clear this logo needed to be something which could be used on everything from web and social media, to shirts and equipment.
They were really drawn to the idea of a series of pipes connecting to form the company name and the colors blue and orange. However, when asked if they would like to see other options, they said they really liked their original idea, but would be open to other ideas as well. I’m always happy when a client is open minded from the start, because not only is it easier to pass ideas back and forth, but the process is more enjoyable, and we almost always end up with great results.
After a couple rounds of logo designs, we ended up with one variation of the connecting pipes idea, which was unique and playful, and one surprising front-runner which included a more traditional serif font. Both logos would have gotten the job done, but after much consideration and discussion we all agreed on the latter option. The guys at Sunn Solar felt this option would be better for the company in the long run, and would easily stand the test of time. At one point the comment “I can just picture this on everything!” was made, and that’s always a good sign a client’s making the right decision.
In the end, I think the logo they chose suits them best. The colors were similar to those from the original sketch, but the final design feels more sophisticated and professional. The typeface is clean and simple, and the sun symbol in the center will work perfectly on social media. If Sunn Solar had been adamant about the design matching their sketch, we would have ended up with a completely different, and probably less satisfying logo.
There are really two lessons here. One for clients and one for designers. As a designer, even if you aren’t sold on an idea your client has, show it to them anyway. At the very least, take the good elements of their idea and refine them. Sometimes we just need to see our ideas formed in order to realize they aren’t the right choice. As for clients, keep an open mind! If you loosen your grip on the brand and allow for some flexibility, you may be surprised by all the possibilities which surface.