As a graphic designer my work is largely creative but I do not consider myself an artist. The main purpose of art is for expression and design is for communication. When designing a brand identity my job is to execute the best solution for my clients business, it is the combination of creative and strategic thinking. It’s also very important for me to be strategic in how I approach each design project. Having a streamlined design process helps make clients aware of what they will be getting, help manage project timelines and give the highest quality of service to every client.
I want to share with you the details of my design process to help you understand every aspect that’s involved. I believe the best designer-client dynamics come from complete clarity of what to expect and so if you are thinking of working with me, give this a read before you decide...
Step 1. Define the Project Brief
Every job starts with a conversation with you to help understand your business and what you wish to achieve from a new brand design. This conversation is followed up with an in-depth written questionnaire I send to help solidify a detailed project brief. I often get feedback from my clients to say some of the questions I pose in my questionnaire were details they had not thought about before. And so going through this phase can be extremely beneficial to a business owner to help reflect on their business and strengthen their vision.
Step 2. Initial Logo Concepts
Once my client and I are happy we are on the same page it’s time to start bringing their vision to life through a logo. I begin with presenting 4 logo concept designs to choose from. When you have chosen which option you wish to proceed with, we can then go though up to three rounds of revisions to make sure the final result is perfect. Of course if you were happy with the first version of the logo to start with it’s important to know you do not need to use up all your revision rounds. When your logo is right, you’ll get that excited feeling, so follow your gut on this one!
Step 3. Colour Palette
When going through the logo concepts round, I ask my clients not to concern too much about the colour as I like to treat this as a whole separate design phase. In fact, if a client hasn't got a colour palette in mind I often will start the logo concepts in black and white. When we have a logo design you love I will present a few colour palettes applied to your logo. Even if you are dead-set on a certain colour sometimes it’s helpful to try the design in one or two more colour schemes. Colour makes a big impact to your brand impression so it’s important to choose wisely.
Step 4. Logo Variations
Now that the main logo and colour palette are complete, I like to create logo variations and a favicon. These are alternative versions of your main logo with slight differences that make them better for use in specific applications. I may include a more vertical/horizontal version, an image only version, a block colour version, etc. Logo variations are great way to spice up your brand and give you choice to create contrast across marketing materials. A favicon is also created for you to apply to your website – it’s a must make your website instantly feel professional.
Step 5. Typography & Brand Board
Next step I will present type combinations to use across your brand. I like to present this alongside your logo and colour palette on one ‘brand board’ so that you can see how everything is working together. If you requested any additional elements in your initial project brief, such as patterns, icons, watermark or illustrations, I will also present these at this point. Your one page brand board will act like an index for the core elements of your brand.
Step 6. Application
This is when your brand really begins to take flight. Where you want your brand applied is decided in the project brief meeting. My Full Brand Styling Package offers application of your brand to 3 marketing materials. Some popular applications are business cards, letterheads, presentation templates, social media banners, blog post graphics, label design, etc. Like with my logo concept process I offer three rounds of revisions to these designs to make sure we get them 100% right.
Step 7. Brand Style Guide
At this point I will pull together all your brand elements and organise them into the various file formats you may need. Along with this I will create a brand style guide pdf that will essentially act as a recipe book for using your brand. Your brand style guide will outline brand elements with instructions on how they should and should not be used both for print and for screen. It’s the manual to using your brand and should be something you familiarise yourself with and show to all other employees and associates that will be working with your brand.
The above 7 steps make up my Full Brand Styling Package. Some clients choose just to work on steps 1 to 5, making up my Kickstart Logo Package. If there is something extra needed outside of what I include in my packages I’m always happy to discuss this along with rates for additional project scope. I’m very conscious my clients have a budget and always want to be transparent with what you are getting for what price.
During my design process, my biggest aim is to make sure my clients are happy, feel understood and trust my expertise to produce quality designs. I want them to feel like they made the right choice in hiring me, and I hope being transparent and sharing my streamlined design process will help them feel that way.
If you have any questions about the details of my design process, please don’t hesitate to reach out!