I'm currently working on the branding for my startup. I'm satisfied with the options my designer brought back but I don't know which one to choose! Should I just rely on my instinct or ask people? When asking people I get totally different answers! How can I know that I'm making the right decision?
Trust the opinion of the designer, don't make it a free for all of feedback from everyone and your mother. Thatis how bad logos happen. Work with them to decide the best one based on your business goals. They will appreciate you asking their professional opinion on the design.
I have a couple thoughts for you around decisions like this one:
Perfect is the enemy of done ...
Ready, Fire, Aim ...
Nothing is forever and if you miss you can change ... how do you feel? Do you like it? You're the entrepreneur and, ultimately, the business serves you - not the other way around.
For bigger strategic decisions use this structure:
Make it a great day!
Your intuition and your knowledge about the guts behind the brand you are attempting to create are the tools you posses to make that decision. If you want to learn exactly how to go about it you could always give me a call, got some minutes left.
Good luck kind sir.
Trust your designer as far as developing the aesthetic aspects and you seem pleased with the results you've received. So that's taken care of, at least for now.
I suggest trying to put together some focus groups. Front load by briefing one of the groups with information about the company, products, vision etc. I would also keep one focus group as "raw" and uninformed as possible just to get some insights on purely aesthetic aspects of the designs.
Be open to the results and be prepared to kick it all back to the designer and using the feedback.
It's not an easy process but it's an important one. This decision will set the tone of your business and affect market acceptance. Changing your brand identity and design can be tough once you've really built it up in a specific direction. Really studying the results of group can give you very high confidence that you've made the right choice.
When we design brands for clients, we typically present the 2 (rarely 3, sometimes only 1) directions that are the most appropriate ideas to align with the strategy goals. The point of directionals is to explore different ways of thinking and push the team toward the best path for the final design. Sometimes there is a favored or stronger direction and it is typically the one that appears to be more fleshed out, polished and explored, or seems to have more legs. I hope you're not looking at more than 2-3 directions, because that is way too many and can be paralyzing. I also hope that each direction you were presented with was fully explored, so you can get a very sound grasp and visualize how the identity would live in the real world - not just logo ideas on a piece of paper. You need to rely on your designer to help guide you, and work closely together to discuss the thinking/meaning behind the design directions, and weigh the benefits and tradeoffs against the brand strategy to refine a single direction. Throw away the feedback you've gotten from others who aren't involved in the process - that will just be subjective and useless and can lead to diluted results. Clients do that all the time (poll their friends, families and social circles) and it rarely ever leads to good design. This process should not involve the opinions of everyone you know. Respect and trust the expertise of your designer - that's how the best direction will arise. Then you guys can spend your time making the best idea even better.