• Mark

A RANT: Why asking for public consensus on logo concepts doesn't work.

Updated: Jan 15

I follow a lot of brand designers on social media for a lot of reasons: they have had their business longer and I want to learn how they've overcome their startup challenges, how they tackle imposter syndrome, or I like their style. They are professionals and have had nice successes and shared their processes with personal case studies. They are confident and share their work when it's done.

Do you fully understand why one would work better than the other, outside of personal taste, or have complete context, or know their perfect audience in order to make an informed decision? Likely not.

One thing they don't do is share multiple logo concepts online and get feedback from an unseen public. Why would they? Why would skilled designers, who have a tried and true process in place, ask total strangers who know nothing about the creative brief, the client's needs, their audience, ask for feedback at the most important step?


Done correctly, with a strong brand strategy in place, a single, final logo can often fulfill all the needs of the client to produce a great brand and identity system. I get it! You work on many concepts that really look great, and you want to use all of them, but rather than being the expert and confident showing the client the one concept that is backed up with the brief every step of the way, you end up showing 3 or 5 concepts and leave it up to them. Or, you share your favorites online and ask complete project outsiders to help you make a choice when they don't know any of the information you have to get to this point.


It's very difficult to understand what the client's goals are, who their audience is, why they exist and why they want a "zebra stripes and platypus" mashup for their logo.


Without context, simply asking "which logo looks best" is really not the best way to get what's right for your organization. You are doing yourself a huge disservice, but more importantly, the client is paying you to be the expert, not your followers. This is why our industry (design and branding) has weakened and eroded, and our expertise is mocked, because there are processes that get bypassed and the best results are often not achieved. It gets boiled down to a simple popularity contest, and you get free, albeit incomplete, feedback.

This random "feedback" is severely lacking critical information to offer a truly informed opinion.


It's like a doctor at social events being asked all the time about everyone's ailment: without a thorough examination of the core problems, without the right tools and equipment, being in the correct environment, it's all left to speculation and guesswork. This undermines the doctor's many years of [expensive] education, experience, expertise and empathy. If the doctor can't give a spontaneous and precise diagnosis in the social setting, they come off as incompetent. There is no singular diagnosis for every patient, no matter how similar the ache.


Can you tell I'm passionate about what I do? It pains me to see businesses (especially startups) choose to cut corners and find the cheapest and/or quickest route to a "brand". According to Amanda McLernon, CEO and founder of McLernon & Co, (mclernonandco.com) "Branding is one of the most important pieces to the marketing puzzle."


Whomever you choose to work with to create your brand, please consider the larger picture and longer term effects of circumventing the strategic process and context-gathering to get a "nice logo". Let an expert help you and don't leave it to a general public who may or may not have your best interests in mind.


End rant!


I would enjoy hearing comments if you agree (obviously), but more importantly, if you have had occasions where showing the Twitterspere or LinkedIn multiple ideas/concepts and it was beneficial in the long run.

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