In late 2019 I decided it was time for Tricky Taipei to have a fresh logo.

The old logo on the blog had been up there since 2014. The social media icon was updated more recently in May 2018. I’m a little bit proud, but also mortified, to admit that both were DIY jobs using free fonts from Google Fonts.

Until recently, it didn’t feel that important to “brand” Tricky Taipei properly. In my mind, it was only a blog. Just a side project, a passion project. But then a designer friend of mine said to me one night, “You need to take yourself more seriously. Get a new logo.” He was right.

A new logo would bring Tricky Taipei’s social media accounts and blog together into the same family. It would look more polished, like the best version of itself. And it would embody the editorial tone of Tricky Taipei, which to me is original, unfiltered, amusing and a bit cheeky.

What’s the best way to get a new logo designed? Well, you definitely don’t call in favors. Let me explain why.

In my previous career I worked in design agencies as a copywriter. I used to work with a lot of designers, and many of them are still very good friends of mine. Over the years I’ve learned the key to keeping good friends who are designers is not working with them as the client.

Why? Because a logo is just a damn logo. On the risk-reward spectrum, having a designer friend design you a logo is more dangerous than having a photographer friend take photos of your wedding. Unless they really mess it up. (On the other hand, a logo is less dangerous than asking a friend to help you move apartments.)

My friend who said I needed a new logo actually offered to do it. He’s really an amazing designer. But I said no because I respect his time and didn’t want him to work for free. I wanted to be in full “client” mode, instead of “friend/client” mode. Of course, I later went back to him for his feedback on the initial concepts because I respect his eye.

So this is what I did: I signed up on Fiverr and I started looking at designer’s portfolios. After a few hours, I found Luanna Correia, who’s based in Portugal. I liked her work, her pricing, she spoke fluent English and she responded quickly. The entire project took about five weeks, with a brief delay in the middle while she wrapped up something else.

You may be asking, why work with a designer you’ve never met when there are plenty of talented designers in Taipei I could work with face-to-face?

Well, imagine you’re sitting at home and you’re very hungry. You could hire a chef to come to your house to make you dinner. Or you could order that same dinner online and have it delivered to your front door. It’s the same result, but doing my project online through Fiverr was faster, easier and more affordable. Affordable is the key word here because remember, this blog that you’re reading doesn’t make money. (Cryyy.)

Now that I’m on the other side, here are a few things I learned about working with a designer online:

  • Fiverr has thousands of designers from all over the world on their platform. You want to screen for design style, price and reviews. I spent a few hours browsing until I decided on Luanna.
  • Prepare to spend a lot of time on Pinterest looking for logo inspiration and color palettes you like. You’ll want to keep a folder of sample logos to share with the designer so they can get a good sense of your style and taste.
  • Spend the necessary time to put into words your goals for the project. For me, that meant writing a short introduction to what Tricky Taipei is today, and a couple of goals for the near future.
  • When it comes to giving feedback, take a day or two to gather your thoughts but don’t take too long. You want to stay in constant communication because either side dropping off is a huge momentum killer.
  • Finally, be brief and direct. Edit your comments so they’re straightforward and easy to understand. This saves a lot of back and forth, and avoids confusion about where things are at.

And here are my tips for working well with a designer on a logo project:

  • It can feel nerve-wracking when the designer sends over the first concepts. Look through the PDF, then take a day or two to let your eyes get used to the new logos. Keep coming back to the logos and see if your opinions change.
  • Designers on Fiverr typically offer revisions in their packages. Don’t be afraid to use them. If there are four logo concepts, narrow your favorites to two. Then ask yourself, what could be improved in the two that you don’t like? This will help you keep an open mind so you don’t get locked into one concept early on.
  • When the designer sends over the revised designs, look at the four logos again with fresh eyes. Then narrow down again and pick your favorite. You’ll still have revisions to tweak the logo you pick.
  • If you don’t have specific changes you’d like the designer to make, try to describe in detail specific things you don’t like. For instance, the original Tricky Taipei logo concept had dots above the “i”s, but I asked to compare the logo with and without the dots. Similarly, the original social media icon had a very wide “smile”, but I asked to see it shorter because while Tricky Taipei is a feel-good site, it’s not exactly giddy.

Needless to say, I’m really happy with the end result. I love how it’s a little playful and quirky. But more than that, the collaboration was drama-free and very positive.

So if you have a blog, a small business or just a fun side project you hope will grow into something more, don’t procrastinate about getting a logo done. Working with a designer doesn’t have to be intimidating or expensive ⁠— it should be fun and get you excited about the potential of your brand.

This post isn’t sponsored, by the way. I’m just happy to share the back story of Tricky Taipei’s new logo in case it helps anyone else looking to do the same. If you’d like to check out Luanna’s website, here you go. And here’s her page on Fiverr if you’d like to work with her. Finally, this is my 20% off code. Have fun.