Logo design nightmares: brand-colour chameleon

Nightmare #2: Brand-colour chameleon
Anonymous digital designer, London

"I was working with a big client to design a microsite and logo. They were very receptive in the early stages, only to later go through a routine that a large number of creatives will probably find all too familiar. They seemed to be trying to flex their muscles, but they did this by asking for something completely ridiculous.

The concept for the logo and the overall look and feel of the site had initially been signed off in blue. The colour scheme had never been up for discussion – it was always going to be blue. The website had an evening and night-time theme, so we needed to ensure it evoked the right kind of mood, and the blue we used worked well with the client’s overall visual identity.

This was a six-week project. About four weeks in, things were ticking along nicely and the client seemed very happy. Then I had a conference call with him one morning and, completely out of nowhere, he suddenly said: 'I’ve been thinking. How about we do the design in pink instead?'

I hadn’t expected that. I was fairly junior at the time and unsure about how to handle the situation, so I asked my senior designer for advice. He said it was a case of proving the client wrong by doing what he thought he wanted, as then he would be able to see for himself that it simply wouldn’t work. So I redid the design in pink and called the client.

'Now, about the pink,' he said. 'I’m just not sure it’s quite the right pink. Is it possible to redo it in maybe... 12 different shades?'

Twelve shades of pink later, I was in a conference call wondering if my five years of studying design really had come down to this moment. 'I’ve been thinking,' the client said ominously. 'Thanks very much for sending over those pinks. There are some really good colours in there. The thing is, though, I kind of just want to go with the blue now, actually.'

The main lesson here is that, sometimes, clients will ask for something that won’t work – and the way to change their minds is to show them, not tell them."

What to do: our advice

It’s important to keep clients happy while encouraging them to trust your expertise. Sometimes they’ll ask for things that just won’t work. It’s best to start doing what they’ve asked, so they don’t think you’re ignoring them – but then provide a better version. That way, they’ll see for themselves.

Don't miss:
Logo design nightmare #1: redesigning the wheel

Logo design nightmare #3: with friends like these...
Logo design nightmare #4: total payment drought
Have you experienced a logo design nightmare? Let us know below...

Words: Anne Wollenberg
Illustration: Camelia Dobrin, as seen in Computer Arts Projects 148.

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