This week I want to talk with you guys about our design process. I understand that many out there just see a hefty price tag, or what they perceive as a hefty price tag simply because they do not understand the journey that has to take place in crafting the perfect logo and visual brand identity for your business.
Step 1: CRAFTING THE BRAND MOOD BOARD
Any strategic designer would sit with you first to really narrow down and pinpoint your goals and objectives. So after the deposit has been made, contract signed and you have been assigned a project start and end date, clients receive a welcome email that gets them started on Pinning to .
We use Pinterest at our studio agency to build an Inspiration and Moodboard. What I have found over the years is that oftentimes a client may have keywords or as we call them brand words (the words that you would have selected to describe your brand) and what their visual representation of what it means is not quite what Google might think they are or what they actually are in reality, even in the design word. The phrase “oh, that’s not what I had in mind for what romantic looks like, I meant this” and then they proceed to send me a picture. In my ametuer freelance days I had no real process and everything was a wide open field where both client and myself there was too much room to error.
Its these years of experience has allowed me to craft a better free flowing experience for clients as everything is very structured and clear and I’ll be honest there is always room for improvement and their still is.
Anyway back to the Inspiration Board phase. After you get this email with instructions on being added to your secret client board on Pinterest, you also receive a workbook to identify your ideal client, these are the main two components of the client homework.
Building the board is super fun for clients, well most because it gives clients a chance to explore what they truly want their brand to looks like and in Pinterest they get acquainted with what good design style looks like. On Google there are many horrible design options and its great for the client to be exposed to great design and what your brand will be truly standing next too when you launch your visuals for your brand into the real world!
Then about the day before your project start date we get on a call, this call is scheduled into the calendar using our calendar booking app of choice Setmore as early on as possible from time you get your Welcome email package. On that call we take it from being an inspiration board to a book board by removing items from the board that just doesn’t seem to fit because sometimes clients pin a whole bunch of material and the board theme hasn’t quite come together yet, which we find so the call is our opportunity to do that as I share my screen on the call and we clean it up, when we are done you are able to see a clear theme, aesthetic, essence and feeling of the brand. And if you don’t know already branding is about people feel when they make any sort of contact with your Brand!
Step 2: Design with Strategy
After we have wrapped the previous stage, got on a call, assisted the client in figuring out a design strategy that will connect with their audience and basically build a brand that makes sense! The following day after the call we jump right into designing the logo!
Now get this, after you have gone through a strategy and done the groundwork the goals are very clear and you don’t even need to just shoot in the dark creating a whole set of various options to present to you the client. Strategic design solves a problem, once the design does this, its more about what you like (well of course you must like it but we are not basing the approval on just Ooooo this looks nice but what works and what ultimately is going to solve your problems. This approach is more strategic and that choosing a logo on a whim just because it looks pretty and pretty is not always effective. Pretty is good but pretty paired with what works, makes sense! You can quote me on that. Lol
So sometimes a client may just get one draft to look at if I think it really captures what they are looking for other times there are two great options that solves their problem. In your logo draft viewing for one concept, each concept come with the alternate logo and monogram logo designed and ready for showing also, so as for clients to see the brand logos from a holistic standpoint.
Once the client is happy and the logo is approved we move on to creating the other elements for the brand and the collateral pieces. What are collateral pieces you might ask, we will cover that in the next email…
Step 3: Supporting Pieces
In Step 2, we spoke about getting that logo design designed, the thing everyone focuses on and is not a brand in itself. Today we move onto the collateral pieces.
Collateral pieces are the supporting material of the brand. It can be anything from business cards, facebook cover photo, notepad design, social media template design, flyers, banners, etc….you get the point right?
I am going to tell you a secret building your brand especially the logo phase is such a soul searching experience for clients and requires lots of patience and back and forth from experience. I am not sure what you guys think happen but its a lot of work and because after you get your brand done and there is the possibility of no repeat business, this is why its not cheap.
This is something that is possibly going to last you a minimum of 3 years unless you decide to do a brand refresh. If you take the cost of logo design and divide by 36 months you begin to see that its not so expensive after all.
When you get your brand developed we have created an identity for your fictional entity.
Anyway back to the soul searching, often times clients get stuck obsessing over one element because they KNOW when they are done this is it, they do not want a do-over and they do not want to revisit the design. And this is totally understandable.
What I am trying to get at is that, creatives ought to be respected, the creations and the time that goes into the process needs to be respected and this is why I embarked on this series to really break down not just what to expect when designing with a studio or agency or even a designer that is truly passionate about proper design principles and ethics but the amount of work that goes into the final product.
I know you see those seemingly “simple” and “easy to do” logos out there, however it took a process to arrive at the concept and executing that concept effectively.
This is why with CDB there is a design calendar that clients get booked into. Can you imagine doing this for multiple businesses at a time? There will be so much creative strain and ultimately you won’t get the best of work from the creative team you are working with.
So, if I went a little soap boxy for a moment please excuse me, but it is what it is and if no one is going to educate you, bet I will.
I really hope this series open your eyes and helps you to appreciate the process. It’s okay we are familiar with what clients are feeling, we are experienced with the process. Just be patient with the process and yourself and let us do our job which is to guide you and create the brand that make sense!
Step 4: The Brand Identity
It’s the finish line, the logo is done, the collateral pieces such as the business cards and social media graphics are done and now your brand identity and style guide sheet has taken some shape because it has been clearly populated with all the logos, sub-logos/alternate/secondary logos, the fonts, the patterns (as these would have been born when creating the collateral pieces, etc.
Basically its all done! With some back and forth in between fine tuning minor elements here and there.
As you can see the work is in the homework and the foundation stages of the project. Once you have carefully built the foundation with the right tools and strategy the building of the house (your brand) has a solid foundation on which to be build.
Now I would go on to add that branding is not just the visuals but what it is made up of on the inside, like a house a structure does not make a home. This is where constant inner work has to be done with the brand for the visuals to be effective.
This is where having some business and brand coaching can become very useful.