HELP! I committed to a logo design and I am in a cold sweat

  • Moderator

    @BichonBistro No problem at all, ask away! I'm really sorry to hear about your cancer struggles and loss of fine motor skills. I'm guessing you really do not need all this stress on top of everything else. If you feel comfortable with it, I would be happy to convert your logo to vector for you. Even if I had to trace it out in vector, I can't imagine it taking me more than 10 minutes and I would be happy to help. Otherwise, I am happy to answer any questions you may have. The only thing I may not be much help with is Affinity Designer because I have no experience with it.

  • @Erin-Cortese thank you so much for your kindness, Erin. I am going to try to learn Affinity Designer (it has “undo” 👍🏻), but if I am not successful, I may take you up on the vector conversion if you really think it would not take you that long.

    It looks like I may be a good way off from that aspect of the project 🙄. My friend liked draft 2A, but her friend said she might like 2A if the JustUs is at the top of the logo. I personally think the concept of the scales/kennel name is clearer when the kennel name is on the scale like you conceived or at least close to the scale as in @CLCanadyArts concept of the Bichon head holding the scale. But since I am not a designer, I’m not really in a position to identify and explain good design to the client.

    Note to self: if I can’t say No to a friend, at least make sure it’s work for the friend, NOT the friend of a friend 😝

    I really liked the reverse white on black when JustUs was on the scale, but introducing another visual element above the dogs/scale seemed too distracting. (I tried a scroll type banner since that’s a Law thing).

    The client said “if it doesn’t work to put “Just Us” at the top of the logo, I was thinking of alternatives” and attached a sketch. I know it doesn’t look like it, but I spent several hours trying to make that sketch work. I tried it at the angle the client sketched, away from the body, and a scale without the base (even though I know that will be unacceptable). She also asked what other ideas I’d had and the reasons for rejecting them. So I think it’s pretty clear she wants to pursue other ideas, when I was hoping to have an acceptable concept that would “only” need precision drawing & layout and conversion to vector format 🙄

    1. Is there a way to make the “JustUs” pop at the top of Draft 2A?
    2. Am I not seeing how to make the client’s sketch work because I am irritated that I got myself into this and just want this to be done? I think if she wants the dog carrying the scales, @CLCanadyArts Clarissa’s head idea is a lot cleaner.
    3. I am not crazy about having my name associated with the dog’s body holding the scale unless I can come up with a way to illustrate it that works—how does one avoid that?
    4. I get the feeling this is going to be a “I will know what I want when I see it” process that could go on and I have not done any searching for fonts. My logic was why look for the right font before the design is accepted. I generally end up purchasing a font when I design a card, so I don’t want that expense until I know the direction of the design. Is that ok?


    Thanks again for all your help @animatosoor @Erin-Cortese @CLCanadyArts @Adriana-Bergstrom. I have always respected and envied those with a flair for design, but actually trying to do it myself takes that respect to another level!

  • Moderator

    @BichonBistro My first year in graphic design, one of my instructors told the class “Never do work for friends and family. If you do, charge them double.” This is why lol. Some of the worst projects I had to deal with were the freebies, or ones where I was helping someone out. Just remember, you are not getting paid for this and you have already put a lot of time into it. My suggestion would be to send only one design this time, and use one you based off of the clients’ sketch. I would suggest taking logo 4D and putting it on the body of 4C. The text placement is an issue though. I would place both lines of text centred beneath the drawing.

    Sending one option should actually speed up the process, not slow it down. She seems to like text at the top, so maybe see if you could make that work? Good luck!

  • Oh how I wish I’d heard your instructor’s advice 6 months ago 🤣
    My husband is also very annoyed that I am spending so much time on this, so I am going to have to come up with some excuse as to why I can’t keep on with alternative ideas........

    So by taking 4D and putting it on 4C, is this what you mean?


    She does seem to like the text at the top, which is not easy to do in a balanced way because of the shape of the dog’s body 😕.

    I tried 2 more fonts I already own to see if that would help. Not really.

    I am still hoping she might choose option 2D with the modifications she suggested.


    I haven’t done anything but drawing in Procreate, so I didn’t try shading the pups in the scale, but I couldn’t resist coloring their tongues 😜

    for an application like embroidery, is it best not to have shading anyway?*

    My breeder friend doesn’t think she needs a tag line at all and the client hasn’t decided if she wants “JustUs Bichons” or “JustUs”. Should I put the text exactly as in the client’s sketch? ‘JustUs’ at the top and “Scale and Balance” at the bottom?

    *speaking of embroidery, perhaps I need to have your instructor’s wise words made up as a wall hanging over my drawing table: “never do work for friends and family. if you do, charge them double”. or maybe a tattoo on my drawing hand??

    Thanks @Erin-Cortese !

  • @BichonBistro Ah! you made 4 D so darn cute! I like 4c and 2d as well.

    Sometimes it's not about what you like , if they are happy it's all that matters in the end. I've done work that was so controlled, and forced, that I just left it out of my portfolio even though the client was happy.

    Well wishes and prayers with the chemo, and motor function. Using a stabilizer in art programs helps a lot.

  • @CLCanadyArts aw thanks Cassandra! 4D is my breeder friend’s favorite Bichon, so that motivated me to try digital shading for the first time. I wish I were doing the work directly for her—I would be at the refining stage by now!

    I hear what you’re saying about the client being happy. Hopefully none of my Bichon followers will ever see this logo 😉

    Thanks for your good wishes and prayers—I would have been dead 2 years ago without 2 of the newest drugs that caused nerve damage, and I am lucky that occupational therapy and physical therapy has helped, so I can’t complain.
    But I am interested in learning about what a stabilizer is in digital programs. Is it a setting or an add-on product?

  • Moderator

    @BichonBistro Yes, these look great - the only exception is the text. It clearly does not work at the top for the exact reason you mentioned, but my thought about showing her an example was to save you time and going back and forth. I would send that along with one that has the text at the bottom, maybe including a little note about why the text at the top does not work well. If you tell her it takes away from the body shape, that may help you sell the idea of text at the bottom :).

  • @BichonBistro If you have clip studio it is under "tool property", there is a stabilization bar, there is only 5 settings.

    In Photoshop CC (not sure about other versions) it is under "smoothing" which is to the right of opacity and flow in the top bar. This setting goes by a percentage slider, from 0 - 100% and has much more finite control.

    If you have a wacom, (maybe some other tablets have this option too?) adjusting the tip sensitivity can help too. I shake, so if the tip is super sensitive, it will show every jiggle, and line thick ess will jump around. Firm up the tip, and you have more control/forgiveness. When I color, I usually soften the tip pressure. So I keep then wacom preference panel open.

    Can't really stabilize with vector, but it's nice that nodes are editable, can adjust a line with the handles. I knew a guy that would just quickly and sloppily lay out lines, then just go back and adjust each node to what he wanted.

  • @CLCanadyArts Cassandra, thank you so very much for the tip about stabilizers! I bought the affinity designer app and found a stabilizer there that is amazing.

    I am just learning the basics of the app now, but it looks like I can trace over a raster drawing from procreate and automatically increase my line width, have lots of control over the amount (and 2 types) of line stabilization and generally be able to accomplish in vector format what I initially draw in procreate.

    I have a learning curve of course, but I think it’s going to be do-able! Maybe by the time I develop the skills I need in affinity, the client will have accepted a logo design @Erin-Cortese 🤣

  • @BichonBistro Nice, I'll have to check out Affinity, glad there is a stabilizer on there. Only started using stabilizers recently and wish I knew about them long ago. Never used procreate, but I don't have an ipad. I drool over the timelapse feature it has, I really wish other programs had that..

    They are still being finicky about the logo? Any updates you would like to share?

  • @CLCanadyArts @Erin-Cortese @animatosoor Update on logo project & questions about how to proceed:

    I sent an email to the “client” (the friend of my friend/breeder I agreed to design a logo for) on june 24th. I submitted the following 4 images, gave 4 reasons why I thought 2D best satisfied her stated requirements, 5 reasons why I did not think the scales in dog’s mouth worked as well and ended with this statement implying that this is not an open-ended project and I was expecting closure so I could move forward with finalizing a design:

    “I am investigating a program that may allow me to produce the required vector image, but I won’t know definitively until I get in there with a final design. If you can, give me a call Monday at 999-999-9999 so we can nail something down.”

    To date, no call, so I am assuming she is not happy with any of the previous options and I do not wish to invest any more time coming up with more options—it will be enough work for me to bring some precision to one of the previously presented options and get it into vector format!


    1. is it acceptable to email the “client” stating that if I don’t get a call from her by x date (another week?) I need to move on to other projects?

    2. should I preface that with some kind of out for her, like “a graphic designer experienced in logo design will likely provide more options”

    3. is it in poor taste to copy my friend on the email to the “client”? I want her to know that I HAVE made additional efforts beyond the first communication with them both, when she stated that she liked the first version of the 2 dog heads in the scales. She is in much more frequent contact with the client than she is with me (as a mentor, joint travel to dog shows, etc).

    Thanks again for all your help! If by some chance this does move forward, I will be asking questions about spacing, fonts, shading, final files to send, etc.

  • @BichonBistro These people are taking advantage of your time and kindness. You need to bring this project to a close!

    Is it acceptable to email the “client” stating that if I don’t get a call from her by x date (another week?) I need to move on to other projects?

    • Yes, I would say that you need to be MORE firm. Give them an end-of-project date. Tell them that the last day you are available to do any work whatsoever on their logo is MM/DD/YY and that includes packaging up the final files. You don't need to supply a reason of why you aren't available, just tell them you aren't. Tell them you need all requested changes at least XX days before the end-of-project day if they would like to see them incorporated into the final mark. If you don't hear back from them, just package up what you have already finished and send it on the stated date.

    should I preface that with some kind of out for her, like “a graphic designer experienced in logo design will likely provide more options”

    • after giving them the deadline, I would tell them that if they are still not satisfied with the result after you make the last round of changes, you would be happy to recommend them to a different designer who could assist them further.

    is it in poor taste to copy my friend on the email to the “client”? I want her to know that I HAVE made additional efforts beyond the first communication with them both, when she stated that she liked the first version of the 2 dog heads in the scales. She is in much more frequent contact with the client than she is with me (as a mentor, joint travel to dog shows, etc).

    • I wouldn't copy her in on an email if she is not looped in to the project at this point, maybe just send her a separate message to fill her in or get on the phone with her and tell her what's up.

  • Moderator

    @BichonBistro Another approach you might consider is to email the client with a less confrontational tone, but a more firm closure. This may spare you any future awkwardness with your breeder and also prevent the project from going any further without significant effort from the client. For example, you could say something along the lines of “Dear so and so, I have not heard back from you in regards to the last set of concepts I sent, so I am going to assume that you do not want to move forward with any of the designs. As there is nothing else I can provide at this time, the only suggestion I could offer is to try working with a graphic designer on your logo concept. Best of luck.”

    I think it’s fine to copy your friend on it, but you may want to blind copy.

  • @BichonBistro I've had problems with clients who have a difficult time responding to emails as well. Demanding yet unresponsive. Huzzah.

    By the end of the project I would send them reminder emails every week or so with all the appropriate linkage and hear back once a month.

    I was put in a similar situation to the one you're in. We were approaching MY deadline, which they knew about from the start, and they weren't giving me any feedback.

    My 'deadline reminder' email was something like this:

    "By (insert date here) I will need to move on other commitments. This means that I will no longer be able to consider your project a priority after this date, and I won't be able to guarantee results. Please provide (insert what you need here) by (insert date here) so that I can finish your project in a timely manner."

    They got right back to me.

    Bear in mind this worked because I'd told them from the beginning that I'd need to be done their project by a certain date.

    Hope this helps. When in doubt, send reminder emails. Good luck 🙂

  • Pro

    @BichonBistro Oh dear lord! Some projects are like that, it's just a nightmare from beginning to end with no slack whatsoever!

    I've had problems with clients not getting back to me in a timely matter as well, and I think it's okay to chase them down as many times as you need to get what you need. If you only sent the one email asking her to call you last June 24th and haven't followed up, it's possible she missed that email, or perhaps read it, meant to call you and then forget. Do send her follow-up email(s), and don't worry about being annoying! Obviously she's shown that she needs the reminders.

    Sometimes you have to get creative or pushy to get what you need (even though you'd think you wouldn't have to resort to that when doing something for them that they asked for). I have one client that's terrible at getting back to me. Sometimes I'll be waiting on her feedback for weeks, only to send her a reminder and be told "Oh my gosh, I replied in my head but not in real life LOLZ!" I'm serious. Over the last several months, I've discovered a fool-proof method for getting her to contact me back for sure: I cc her husband. He makes sure to remind her to write me back. I'm not sure how polite this is or not, but sometimes you do what you gotta do!

    Here you have a perfect in: your breeder friend who sees the client a lot more often than you do. I wouldn't copy her in project emails, but I think it's perfectly reasonable to email her asking "Hey is the client okay, is something wrong? I've been trying to contact her for weeks about the project and she hasn't gotten back to me, I'm starting to get worried." She put you two into contact in the first place so that's a reasonable enough message to send her.

    It's also okay to be as firm as you need to be as long as you stay polite. I go by my personal motto "There's little point getting roped into doing unpleasant favors if the person you're doing it for doesn't even realize exactly how much they're asking of you." That goes for both the client and the breeder, they may think this is normal and a small favor that's asking nothing much of you, but in fact you've been agonizing over this "small favor" project and they should know how much they're asking of you (darn it!)

    I try to phrase it in a way that's polite, doesn't lay any blame on them but at the same time puts into light how difficult the position I'm in (I don't point out they're the ones that put me in that position, as that's clear enough already) and explain I just want to do the best job I can for them and what I need from them to be able to do that.

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