You’ve set up new business and you’ve done all of your market research. You’re really looking forward to launching your business but there’s the final step of having a brand identity designed to get through.
Or maybe you’ve been running your business for a couple of years now and the DIY logo just doesn’t cut it any more. So now you’re thinking about a brand refresh and you definitely don’t want to do it yourself this time.
Having a strong brand identity for your business is very important, and when it’s done well it can have a positive impact on your business. You can read more about that here.
Either way you want to grow your business and you’ve probably got a lot of questions about how a brand identity design process works right?
When it comes to brand identity, where do I come in?
If you’ve been following me for a while you already know what I do. And if you’re new to following me… I’m a graphic designer specialising in brand identity and design for print.
What you might not know, no matter how long you’ve been following me, is that there’s always a process when it comes to any project I take on.
A lot of the core part of my process is the same regardless of whether I’m working on a brand identity project or a print project. But today I’m sharing a step by step guide to my brand identity design process.
Side note…every designer will have a different process.
A lot of the core part of my process is the same regardless of whether I’m working on a brand identity project or a print project.
Brand identity design steps:
- Do we mesh well?
- The agreement
- The questionnaire
- Finding a route
- Making things come to life
- Feedback and edits
- Finishing up
- Ready, steady go
1. Do we mesh well?
Before we even think about how we can work together we need to know if we mesh well (yes I did just kinda reference a great 90’s movie!) so everything starts with a really informal chat, usually with coffee. And that can be via Zoom or in person.
I need to know if you’re the right client for me, and you need to know if I’m the right designer for you. I also need to know if your project is something that I can take on and if I can meet your deadlines – there’s absolutely no point in me saying yes if your timelines are too tight!
2. The agreement
If we both decide we make a good pair the next step is maybe a little dull but absolutely necessary. I’ll send you a contract and a deposit invoice. Once we’ve both signed on the dotted line and you’ve paid your deposit I’ll schedule your project into my diary.
3. The brand identity questionnaire
I send you a briefing questionnaire. This part’s crucial you know. My briefing questionnaire for brand identity design has about 30 questions for you to answer. It’ll put into writing all the things that are floating around in your head and help guide me when I start on the fun part of the project. You can read more about design briefs here
The kind of questions I ask include:
- What sets you apart from your competitors?
- How do you want to be known in your industry?
- What are the values of your company?
- What do you want your audience to think of when they see your brand identity?
I’ll always tell clients to take their time with this – a rushed brief tends to be one that’ll keep changing throughout the project. And we’ll that’ll end up costing both of us time, and you more money!
I like to go over the brief by myself and then talk it through with you too. Why do I need to that? I know it might seem like a waste of time talking through your answers, but it’s funny how many times a little bit of extra or crucial information comes from a conversation about your answers. A word here or there, or something that you completely forgot to mention. It can make a huge difference to the final outcome.
4. Finding a route
It’s moodboard time. If you’ve not heard that term before a moodboard is simply a collection of images, colours, patterns and fonts that shows a particular style that I think will work for your new brand identity.
I create two different moodboards based on your briefing document; getting this bit right is really important because it gives you a good idea of what’s going on in my head. And we need to make sure that we’re both going down the same route.
9 times out of 10 my clients have chosen a moodboard option immediately. And very rarely, I’ve been asked to make a couple of changes. Making changes to a moodboard is a lot easier than skipping this step and being completely off the mark with the identity I design for you!
Once you’ve signed off a moodboard, I get to start on the fun part!
5. Making things come to life
I’m pretty sure this is my absolute favourite part of the project.
I get to play with colours and fonts, and maybe create some icons too. This is all based on your briefing questionnaire and the moodboard you signed off.
No matter how many times I try, I can’t immediately start these new logo concepts in Illustrator. It’s a good old pencil and sketchbook instead for me. I’ll create pages and pages of sketched out ideas before I feel like I’m ready to take some of these into Illustrator.
I’ll look for the perfect font, or pairing of fonts. And the perfect colour palette. These will come together to create 3 logo concepts for your new brand – sometimes there might be a little variation on one of the concepts which I’ll also send over.
6. Feedback and edits
These 3 concepts are sent over to you as a PDF presentation – for each design you’ll see the main concept as well as mock ups of how that design would look in situ. I always ask clients to keep in mind that I’ve designed logos that I think their audience will love and will be drawn to. And to remember that it’s not all about them and what they love when they’re trying to pick a logo and send feedback.
I include up to 3 rounds of edits in all of my branding packages so once you’e had a look at the logos I’ve designed we’ll talk through them and you’ll either pick one because you absolutely love it, or ask for a couple of minor edits to one of the designs.
7. Finishing up
The style guide (if it’s included in the package) and any supporting collateral comes once you’ve approved the final logo design. This is pretty much the last step in my brand identity design process.
The style guide is a document which shows you everything at a glance. It helps you keep all of your collateral cohesive and on brand. It’s also really helpful if you work with a different designer in the future.
Depending on which package you’ve chosen, I’ll also design a sub logo and a typography palette along with any other collateral you might need.
8. Ready, steady go
And here we are. We’re all done. Wasn’t that a fun project!! I’ll send over a final invoice, and as soon as that’s paid I’ll package up and send over all of the artwork. The main things that are included in this package:
- Logo files suitable for screen use in a variety of sizes and formats.
- Logo files suitable for print use in a variety of sizes and formats.
- I’ll always send you the original vector files too as part of this package.
- Logo usage cheat sheet – a little freebie from me to you.
So there you have it, a brief overview of my brand identity design process
This isn’t a process that I set up overnight. It’s something that’s grown with me as my business grows. And at the moment I find that it works really well.
There’s been the rare occasion (early on in my freelancing journey) where the briefing stage was skipped and the project was nothing but a nightmare. I’ve also gone against gut instinct once or twice and taken on clients that I knew weren’t right for me but they were so desperate to work with me that I said yes.
Plenty of lessons learned there and these lessons helped refine my brand identity process! And it’s needless to say but I’ll say it anyway…this process is ALWAYS followed.
Before we even think about how we can work together we need to know if we mesh well (yes I did just kinda reference a great 90’s movie!) so everything starts with a really informal chat, usually with coffee.
Want to work me?
And if you want to find out more about how I can help you communicate your message with your audience, or if we haven’t been in touch for a while and you’d like to reconnect drop me a line, I would love to catch up! You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.