You have a problem to solve that requires expertise in the form of a designer. Let’s say your organization needs a logo and you don’t have staff available to do the work, so you’re planning to approach an agency or post to a freelance marketplace with the job. How do you get the ball rolling?
You can clarify your goals by creating a Request For Proposal document. You don’t need to adhere to any particular formula so we’ll get this party started quickly with what I like to call a Casual Request For Proposal.
A clear, detailed request will give designers the information they need to provide you with an accurate quote, helps you determine if the designer is the right fit for the job, and will provide a framework for the overall project. Though we are going to create a Casual RFP here, the more useful information you can provide up front the more quickly you’ll be brandishing your inspired new company logo.
So what do you need to include in your RFP? Let’s take a look.
It’s here that you provide the What and Why of your project. In this post, the What is your need for a logo, and we’ll assume that the Why — your problem or “pain point” — is that you currently only have a rough idea of what you need.
This is the Big Picture, or 10,000 foot view if you prefer, so no need to go into great detail. You’ll want to use this opportunity to describe the problem rather than what you expect as a solution.
About Your Organization
Describe yourself, your values, and your goals. By doing so you are better able to find the perfect fit where agencies or designers specialize in helping certain types of businesses. For example, I often work with non-profits and lean startups and have insight into these organizations so I would be able to make specific suggestions as to how your logo could best communicate to your demographic.
Your Project Goals and Timeline
In the Overview, you described the problem you’re facing. Here you describe what you believe the solution would look like. Perhaps it’s a modern minimalist logo design based on shareholder feedback. Or maybe you have a set budget and a funding date you need to adhere to. Describe what you would consider a successful resolution to your problem and you’ll have taken your first step towards reaching it.
Scope of Work and Deliverables
Here is where you’ll want to get into the details of what you need. To the best of your ability, describe what you expect to receive from the designer. One set of deliverables for logo project might be as follows:
- Logo Development
- Tag Lines
- Brand Strategy
- Style Guides
- Web-Ready Assets
- Social Media Assets
Listing all of what you need is the best way for a designer to estimate cost and timeline based on their experience in completing each individual task, and current workload. You are much more likely to see final assets within your timeline when you can outline exactly what they are.
Point of Contact
At small startups, this is probably you, the person writing the RFP, but in larger organizations, you may have a marketing specialist who would be on point for the project. Not designating a specific person who has time for ongoing project management as part of their schedule can result in miscommunication or missed deadlines. It’s also good to indicate whether stakeholder buy-in will be part of the process.
Examples of Similar Work
It helps to have a few examples of work you like, with descriptions of what you like about them. If you are interested in a logo that’s like the Starbucks badge, include that in your proposal. Describe what elements you like about it, whether it’s the shape, the illustration in the center, the text around the edge…this gives the designer a good idea of where to start in order to create something that provides value to your organization. If you’re not out there rating logos every day, there are plenty of places online where you can find great examples. Do a Google search for “Best Coffee Logo”, for example, and you’ll find a lot….a whole lot! Here are a few now.
Good. Fast. Cheap.
Pick two, they say (as do I,) so go ahead and let the recipients of the RFP know what your priorities are for selecting a designer. Of course Cheap is always good, but are you willing to spend longer on the project? Perhaps you have a deadline and are willing to spend a bit more to have your new brand in hand by the end of the month. Perhaps you just need something fast and cheap for early funding rounds and can revisit later to rebrand based on where your company is a couple years from now. I’d advise against planning a rebrand without your marketing team onboard for a few reasons, but we can talk about that at a later date. Just make sure that you voice your priorities.
Again, the more information provided, the easier it is for the designers to understand your specific needs, so if there are conditions specific to the job, include a paragraph with the details. Let’s say you’d prefer to work in person with a designer, rather than working remotely. Or maybe you have existing brand assets that you’d like to provide as a starting point. Go ahead and include all that info here in your RFP.
Go For It
Now that you’ve got your RFP, you are ready to solicit proposals. You could create a project on Upwork or let LinkedIn Profinder help you locate talent. You could also scour google for logo designers or creative agencies. Of course, you could also just drop me a line and I’ll be happy to help you find someone to design a brilliant logo that takes your organization to the next level. You and I might even be a good fit to do the work together. Regardless, here’s hoping you receive the perfect proposal!