So, who is LoGoBoom and what is his story?
LoGoBoom is Glen Hobbs of Highlands Ranch, Colorado. I define myself first as a husband and father. Of course, to be good at that, you’re pretty much obligated to provide a roof over their heads, food on their plates and trips to Chucky Cheese. There’s where design comes in.
As a teen approaching high school graduation back in the same year that George Michael’s “Faith” topped the Billboard 100 (that’s as close as I’m getting to giving you my age) I had zero idea what I wanted to do for a career. It’s not that I was stupid. I was a straight A student with a lot of options. It’s just that none of them was of any interest to me.
One of my older brothers, who was gainfully employed, asked me “So what do you want to do?” We were sitting in our parents’ den watching television. I remember it well. I replied with a confident “I dunno.” He probably said something back or slapped me in the back of the head. I don’t remember that. But at that moment the logo graphics for the television show we were watching animated on. “That. I want to do that.” I said. He simply replied “Well that’s graphic design. There are schools for that.” I don’t think I ever thanked him. Thanks bro! And five bucks to anybody who emails me a correct guess at the name of the show.
What? This is a business? People get paid to do stuff like that? And there I was. Headed down the path. I did no research at all regarding the industry. Knew nothing about what I was getting into. I just enrolled and showed up for the first day of classes knowing absolutely nothing about the world of graphic design. So maybe I was stupid after all. But I remember on that first day thinking to myself “this feels right.” I also met my wife while attending that school. Boy was it ever right. Hi Trish!
Before I fast-forward to modern day… a shout out to a couple of my instructors: to Tony Gresham for challenging me to challenge everything and to James McCullough for encouraging me to trust my instincts. Moving on…
What is your typical design process?
See this is tricky. Do I “clean up” the description of my process so I come across as a consummate professional? Or do I lay it on you all candid and raw like? Raw it is. Warning: I am not a good example.
I don’t have a formal process. I don’t have a client questionnaire. I don’t have a contract. We agree on a fee and schedule and then I just listen. I listen to the client (whether in person or via email) describe who they are. What they want. What they need. What they like. What they don’t like. Who they are trying to attracts as an audience. What their challenges are. It’s all there. You know it’s like the old adage that the sculpture already exists in the block of marble…it’s just the sculptor’s job to take away the excess.
My mom used to ask me how I could keep coming up with new ideas. I explained that every client has a unique need. It’s like a math. You never run out of answers because every problem has it’s own solution. But then again, not so rigid as math because with design, every problem can have a million solutions. I just have to find one of them that works.
So here’s what I do. And I even tell my clients this so my ugly habits have already been outed. If I have a set amount of time to work on a logo, I do absolutely nothing with it for the majority of that time. I just go about my business of eating, sleeping, watching the tube, playing with the kids. But it’s in there. In the dusty corners of my mind. Percolating. Some of my best logo designs have happened when I’m driving or showering. Sorry for the visual. But yeah. It just happens. Then once I’ve procrastinated to the point I can’t procrastinate any further, I throw a collection of quick sketches down on whatever paper is handy and dive to Illustrator.
I don’t peruse references for inspiration. I don’t do much research (unless unfamiliar with the industry I’m designing for). I was always that way with illustration as well. I hated looking at references. A while back I heard an interview with the designers of the new Dodge Challenger. They said, and I paraphrase, that they didn’t want to build a line for line replica of the ‘68 Challenger but rather they wanted to build a car inspired by how we remember the car in our mind’s eye. The audience could relate. It didn’t have to be literal. It just had to make a connection in the mind. Brilliant. I approach things the same way. I trust my instincts of what I think will make that connection for the intended audience rather than getting bogged down in the literal. Of course I was always a terrible illustrator so… whatever.
What makes a good logo in your opinion?
I think a good client makes a good logo. You know? I mean a good client will recognize it’s not just their subjective tastes that should shape the design. A good client will let the logo do what it needs to do. A good logo serves business goals. A good logo represents well. A good logo stands the test of time. A good logo is quite often the front door to the company so it should send out the appropriate message. And again, the appropriateness of it is shaped by all kinds of factors that must be considered. So what makes a good logo? I do. I make a good logo. Ok, that’s way over the top shameless self-promotion.
What makes a good logo designer?
A healthy ego. Emphasis on “healthy”. We have to have an ego to survive in this business. And we have to have an ego to put ourselves out there on a daily basis. Here…look at what I made and critique it unabashedly. It takes self-confidence to do that. But that ego can’t get in the way. We can’t be arrogant. The client isn’t always right…but they are always the client. A designer with a healthy ego will have conviction for his choices but at the same time be open to the thoughts of others. It’s a fine line but ultimately one that determines our success.
What are your main methods of finding new clients and which of those methods work best?
Well I’ve been fortunate enough that clients tend to find me. I have a lot of repeat and referral business locally, nationally and internationally. And I’ve established long-term relationships with a number of agencies and design firms across the country from them seeing my portfolio on-line. I owe a debt of gratitude to sites like this one and LogoPond.com, as many designers do, for evangelizing our talents. Having been in this industry for quite some time, I’m still amazed at the opportunity to work with companies from around the world as if they were just next door. This internet thing just might catch on.
How do you present your concepts to your clients and how many do you usually provide? What final files do you deliver to your client?
Well, as I said above, this internet thing is a game changer. Back in the day I was always able to sit down with a client and present face to face. Today is the age of the pdf. But I do miss some of that direct interaction. I remember when I first started working for a local design firm here in Denver. I was hired specifically for my logo design experience. The owner asked me how many logos I typically presented. I said anywhere from a few to 10ish depending on budget etc. He didn’t say much. So I asked, “How many do you guys typically present?” He said “Usually around 40.” He had a great process. Very informal. We’d present a huge amount of ideas. Some very fleshed out…some quite rough. But we’d just lay them all out on a table. Without fail the client would always react with the thought that there was no way they could decide. The owner would say, “You know, just start by turning over the ones you just absolutely don’t like.” Without fail they would very quickly narrow the focus down to about five concepts making extremely valuable comments along the way.
To those of us listening, what they said about the ones they didn’t like was just as important as what they said about the ones they did. We’d then take that narrowed selection and do another study on those. Of course those were pretty large budgets. But it was a great experience in recognizing that initially there are no bad ideas. It’s just that the better ideas will rise up. And it really pushed me to forge ahead once you hit that designer block.
Clearly budget dictates the number of concepts that I present. That’s where the onus is on us as designers to think it through before we design. I think Paul Rand when presenting the UPS logo said he only brought one because it was the right one. It only takes one.
What final files do you deliver to your client?
Vector files (eps) and raster files (hi and lo res psd/jpg) in cmyk, pms, rgb and b&w. Really whatever the client needs. And I always tell them that I keep files archived so if they ever need a specific format down the road they can hit me up and I’ll get it to them at no charge.
Has there ever been a case when the client was not fully satisfied with the suggested logo designs? If yes, how did you handle that? Did you charge extra for the additional designs? How often does this happen?
Absolutely not! Ok, ok. We’ve all encountered this. And really it depends on the circumstances. There are certainly times where the client didn’t like anything and after hearing their comments I could see where I fell short on how I translated their direction. Other times it seems like the client gave inaccurate direction to begin with. I usually tell a client that if they just don’t like anything from my first presentation, I’ll go back to the drawing board at no extra charge. This gives them a level of comfort. And I feel if I miss that badly, it can’t be all their fault. Beyond that, I consider progressive tweaks and revisions to be within scope. But the client can’t contradict themselves or change horses in mid-stream. That will affect the budget.
What are your most favorite design resources? What gives you inspiration and where can we find it? How do you deal with creative blocks?
I think I covered this with the discussion of all my bad habits above. But I do very much like sites like this and LogoPond.com. LogoPond is a great community and you will get honest critique so be prepared. But to make it this long in this business I’ve developed a pretty tough skin. As for my inspiration? Every thing and everywhere. I just look around. And if I get blocked… I take a walk and do something completely unassociated with design. Then I come back fresh.
What are your plans for the near future and where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Well for the near future I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m pretty fortunate to be where I’m at and surrounded by people who love me. It ain’t broke so I ain’t fixin’ it. Oh but I really do need to build myself a website to feature my portfolio. I’m a little behind the curve on that one. Did I mention that I think this whole web thing is really about to catch on?
And in ten years? I can’t say. I plan about 2 weeks ahead. Beyond that…it’s a surprise for all of us.
Lastly, what advice would you give to an aspiring logo designer? And any last words?
Any last words?
Yeah. I’d just like to share a little story. My daughter, Lindy, always offers to help me with logos. She’ll come in my office and ask, “What logo are you working on Dad? Want some help?” She has good ideas. Believe me. A couple of years ago after asking what I was working on she was clearly not interested in the subject matter so she said “I’m going to design a logo for Opal” her little sister who at the time was just crawling. Ok. Fine. You do that.
She goes away with her pencil and paper and comes back in about 10 minutes with this:
Lindy was six at the time. A six year old was able to connect the letterforms of her sister’s name, Opal, into a personal logo that captured a specific phase of development. I KNOW! CRAZY!
How is that possible? I know for a fact that I would not have come up with that idea were I tasked to do so. There’s no way. But a six year old did. I was humbled. And, of course, extremely proud as I showed the sketch to my designer friends and random strangers.
So what’s the take away from this little story? I don’t know. Maybe it’s that we should never take ourselves too seriously. We’re some of the lucky few that get paid to use our imaginations. My daughters don’t get paid to use their imaginations but they do it every day anyway because it’s fun. It’s fun. We get to work at a job that’s fun. Don’t forget that.
I’m going to go play with my kids now. That’s the best idea I’ve had today.
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