My Complete Brand Design Process
So, you’re ready to brand your business, you search high and low for the perfect brand designer… and you find me -- *blushes* -- I am flattered! Let’s do this! What’s next?
Well, let me tell you!
I prefer to book my projects at a minimum of two weeks out, but preferably longer. This gives us a good amount of time for contracts and invoices and discovery calls, as well as for you to complete some homework for me! It is important that if you are looking to have branding done for your business, that you allow ample time to find the right designer, and get prepared for the project. This isn’t something you want to rush, trust me!
I always book a discovery call as soon as an inquiry comes through. I love this whole online business thing, but I 100% thrive better with face to face (or voice to voice) communication. There can be no misunderstanding (or significantly less opportunities for it) when you are talking to each other versus emailing back and forth. This discovery call is meant for us to “meet”, for me to learn about your business and what you need, and for me to explain how I can serve you.
Following the call I will either send a proposal or a contract, depending on what we decide in the call. Once a proposal and contract are accepted, you will receive an invoice for your 40% deposit. The contract and deposit are required to be completed in order for the project to be scheduled on my calendar, and are required to be done before the agreed upon start date. My branding projects are generally estimated to take 6 weeks.
It depends on your project, but for the most part, I ask you for a pinterest inspiration board, and a couple questionnaires about your ideal audience and your business, as well as files that are relevant for me to have! See, easy peasy! These bits of fun are “due” by the project start date, which is why I like booking at least two weeks in advance. If the homework isn’t completed by the start date, the project gets postponed and no one wants that!
Week 1: Research.
I’ll shoot you an email to let you know I am diving in. This first week you may not hear much from me, because it is all about discovery and research on my end. I spend time reviewing your questionnaires, looking at your Pinterest inspiration, checking out your competitors, and exploring ideas. I try to refrain from drawing anything at this stage, because often the first idea isn’t quite thought out enough. More of a “nose down in the books” week… hypothetical books… more like Google and Pinterest.
Week 2: Colors and inspiration.
With your Pinterest inspiration, color psychology, and my own research, I create mood boards for your approval to help us nail down a color palette you love. I start with colors and related images because it helps inspire me to create the concepts. Your logo may have no color at all, but the colors used in your overall brand will still inspire a certain feeling or action. The colors are just as important as the imagery. This process usually takes a bit of back and forth, a change in color here, and alteration of hue there. Once you have the perfect mood board…
Week 3: Concepts.
I start by drawing on paper or on my iPad; simple, unfinished doodles. Playing with different layouts and fonts and icons. You will likely never see these concepts. It helps to get everything down, and most likely more than half of these concepts are trash! (like actually embarrassing)… That’s the reality. You have to get the bad ideas out of your head to make room for THE idea, the one that just clicks and flourishes into perfection. Once I get a few good concepts out, I will refine them a bit on my iPad. This stage is also when I start researching typography options. Once a concept is sketched out, I usually have a good idea of the kind of font I am looking for, but there are so many amazing fonts out there, each with slight variances that make a difference! I may send a couple over for your opinions, and use them in concepts as outlines to see how they look. I then send over 2-3 concepts for your review. I’ll ask certain questions, because valuable and specific feedback is key to this process to avoid a constant back and forth and reduce the number of revisions.
When reviewing concepts AND when doing your initial homework, it is important that you are fully invested. Do it when you have time to focus on the task at hand without distractions. The more you give the better for the process. And always share your ideas! I may be the designer, but you’re the business owner, and I am only one brain. If you have an idea then share away! This stage is when your second invoice of 30% is due.
Week 4-5: Revisions.
During the next two weeks we take the feedback from the first round of concepts and revise them down to one. Once the main logo concept is approved, I take that direction to create the alternate logos and the rest of the branding collateral. Depending on your package, this could include patterns, Instagram highlight icons, business card designs, etc. During this stage there is a lot of back and forth communication, so that we can be sure the brand is on the right track and ready to be completed.
Week 6: Final Push.
In the final week we make any final edits, then I package up all your files and your brand education, and deliver them into a nice little Google Drive folder. This is also when your final invoice of 30% is due. Final files are delivered after the final payment is made, and at that stage I will ask you for feedback and we will close out the project and celebrate your launch all over social media and cheers some virtual champagne! Woohoo!
MY brand design process is a collaborative effort. I want to finish the project feeling like we are pals! I want you to feel like you were involved in the entire project, so that when it is complete you can own it, love it, and share it with pride!
I recommend getting a little prepared before hiring a designer.. do research on what you’re interested in, what your budget is, and who you may want to hire. I also created a little eBook to help the “prep” process too!
5 Steps to Take Before Starting the Branding Process