a designer creating a logo on computer

With so many talented logo designers around, how do you find the perfect one to design the logo of your dreams?

Having a logo designed isn’t too different from other custom work: Building a home, designing a wedding dress, or commissioning a family portrait. You have a vision, but ultimately whom you choose brings his or her own touch. If you can find someone who has the essence you’re looking for, that’s your sweet spot.

Of course, it’s important to find the right fit when engaging any talent for your business: Someone who communicates well, is easy to work with, and is good at what they do. But for projects as tactile as logo designs, there are other things to consider. A logo designer who’s a dream to work with will be able not only be able to interpret your ideas and your feedback, she’ll incorporate her own aesthetic to deliver exactly what you’re looking for.

We always emphasize laying the groundwork with a thorough job post, but for projects like logo design, what else can you do to find the best for you? Here are a few tips to zero in on the right talent for you.

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1. See what’s out there to help you decide what you like.

It’s imperative you know what you like before engaging talent. Everyone has their own aesthetic. Even someone who charges top dollar for gorgeous, in-demand logos used by high-profile companies around the world might not be the best fit for you. And what’s on trend or in style might not always be the best choice for you, either.

Visit design sites like Dribbble to browse professional and for-fun logo designs from around the world. You can narrow your search by tags and styles like “abstract” to find related items as you scroll.

[Screengrab courtesy Dribbble.com.]

2. That will help you define your style with words—and attract the right talent.

Definitely do your homework—it’s something every logo designer wish a client did before sending out a proposal. As you review examples on sites, start to catalog what you’re drawn to and hone in on your style. This will help both when you’re reviewing candidate’s profiles and when you’re communicating to them what you’re looking for. Catalogue those keywords that define your style and incorporate them in an attention-grabbing job post title. That way, designers browsing potential jobs will see a design job that’s in their wheelhouse—and your proposal review process will be easier, too.

Something as simple as choosing from one of the four camel illustrations below can help direct you toward the style you’re looking for. Do you want something literal, interpretive, or simple? Vintage, modern, or romantic? Make a list of the attributes that resonate with you.

[Logo versions via.]

Still not sure where to start? We’ve created a super helpful guide to writing a logo designer job description that will give you a template to get you off on the right foot.

3. Review portfolios to see if styles align with yours.

Just as you have a taste for how you’d decorate your own home—maybe you love chintz, or maybe you love industrial wrought iron—a designer or design shop might favor a particular style. This isn’t to say anyone can be versatile with their repertoire, but if you’re looking for a particular strength, the portfolio should strike a chord with you right off the bat.

Take Forefathers Group’s illustration portfolio, below. They have a pretty strong proclivity toward vintage-inspired fonts and forms, a style that lends itself particularly well to homespun farm-to-fork restaurants and old world-style breweries:

[Portfolio via Forefathers Group.]

If you’re into their style, that’s your ticket!

4. Run a paid test project.

Paying potential designers to do pilot logo projects doesn’t need to yield full-blown designs—maybe just a sketch or a quick mock-up. But it’s going to serve you well in determining if that designer is a good fit.

Note that while sketches seem like a quick, convenient way to draft up a design, it’s not how everyone works. With vector logos, in particular, a sketch might just be an extra step. Ask for a loose idea—that should give you a good idea of what they have in mind.

Here are three easy steps to set up a freelancer test project.

5. Engaged a designer? Ask for 3-4 riffs on same design for the first go-round.

This should be a fun part—for you and for the designer. Most designers are comfortable coming up with a few different styles for you to choose from, and they’ll expect that first round to go through a few more iterations before you reach a finished product.

[Logo versions via.]

From there, it’s always a good idea to ask for different versions of the logo to use in different applications. Logo designers will often come up with a logo system, like the one below. Some can even include animated gifs.

[Logo system via.]

Note: Having a tough time deciding on a logo you love? Brush up on these common logo design mistakes and make sure you’re not opting for one that will trip you up down the line.

6. Listen for the designer to ask for more information, more inspiration—and more context.

If a logo designer hands off a design to you without asking how you plan to use it or if you need different dimensions, colorways, or aspect ratios, don’t hesitate to ask for more. Good logo designers will work with you to understand your business and create a polished logo you can use on your marketing materials, website, business cards, stationery, and more—but they usually need a lot of information and context to do that well.

Read more: Things Logo Designers Wish Clients Knew