Ooh, this one is a hard one to write.
The designers have presented their first ‘concept’ of my branding and it appears the wheels have fallen off. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.
Let’s not sugar coat it here. The. wheels. have. fallen. off.
When we had our first meeting, they said my ideas were a little too detailed and we agreed they would simplify them. A couple of weeks later, I was back in their office to see the first concept. I was so excited to see what they had done with my ideas. To see what my brand was going to look like. What it was going to feel like.
They opened up the file. And there it was. Some words. My business name in a font that was hard to read. It looked like the font from ‘Smokey & The Bandit’. Then the business name with the tagline, which I couldn’t read at all. Then the name with a really dark teal colour. Then the name with a small embellishment behind it. An embellishment that had nothing to do with my brand.
What the hell was this?!
As they kept scrolling down, I was waiting to see my logo. The logo with the ideas I had given them. With the styling I asked for. But that was it. Just my business name and the splash of nothing. And in a colour that was no where near any of the ones I had marked on their swatches.
Once they presented it, they asked what I thought. I was in shock and trying to digest it. I was quite polite. I tried to be gentle (goodness knows why). I told them I couldn’t read the font. And I said that while the splash of nothing was pretty, it had nothing to do with my brand. I said I had given them 5 or 6 different elements to work with and they hadn’t used any of them. They knew that. They knew that when they presented their concept, but they didn’t say anything. They didn’t prepare me.
They just presented what they had in the hopes I would fall in love with it. And I didn’t. I so didn’t.
When I raised the issue that they hadn’t used any of my ideas – they scrambled. They showed me the rough designs with my concepts. They tried to explain in ‘designer speak’ why some of the examples in my brief weren’t technically logos. And then, they told me my ideas were too restrictive and they couldn’t work with them. We discussed other ideas they could work with for round two and I left having to re-do my brief with some of the new ideas.
I got down to my car and rang my husband. I told him what had happened. Now he was in shock. I drove home going over what they had said. Trying to fathom the words “your brief was too restrictive”. Trying to process the disappointment. The anger. The confusion. How did this happen?
The next day at work, it hit. I embarrassed myself quite nicely by crying at my desk. Oh yes – glamorous. On the plus side, I pretty much got left alone for the day which gave me a chance to think some more. Still trying to work out what had happened. How the wheels had fallen off so badly.
It took me a few days to recover enough to be able to send them the new concepts. I sent a very long email with it. And I laid it all on the line. The reply wasn’t quite what I had hoped. It basically said we are sorry you weren’t happy but… But your ideas were too restrictive. But we are the creative designers. But we gave you a discount because you were a start up. Basically, you’ll get what you’re given. Um, I don’t think so.
If what they had presented was amazing. If it had been a perfect representation of my brand, I would have been open to it.
But it felt like ‘that’ll do her’.
So, I sent an email saying I didn’t want to go any further. I got a phone call on Saturday morning asking if there was a way they could convince me to continue. That they were sure they could come up with something I was happy with. She said she understood if I had lost faith in them. And she was right. I had. I didn’t want to spend more money to find out they couldn’t create what I wanted. That they weren’t going to achieve the look and feel I wanted. And so, I have had to let another designer go. I have to start over with my branding. And I’ve lost money and time.
But my husband and I keep talking about WD-40 which helps me get through. It took them 40 times to get the formula for WD-40 right. Hopefully, it doesn’t take me that many tries.