Inside My Branding Design Process

 Inside look at my design process for every branding package.

If you’re anything like me, you like to know how things are done. When I work with a service provider, I totally trust their process but I still like to know how things run, what to expect, what they are doing behind scenes. 

So today, I’m going to share my branding design process. If you are considering hiring me this is pretty much how I’ll work through things with you to deliver the brand you are hoping for! 

STEP 1 | Client homework. 

The first part of the whole process starts with getting the vision from the client. I have a questionnaire that I send all of my branding clients. I ask them your business, your ideal client, brands you love, and a few more things that really help me discover what you need with your branding. 

I also ask about competition or people who do similar things, and a lot of clients get hung up on this part. I don’t ask about this for the competition aspect. I am 100% community over competition, but imagine if, unknowingly, I use a similar color scheme or font. That’s embarrassing. In fact, something like that has happened once in a weird fluke incident. So let’s avoid that. I can also look at what their strengths are compared to your strengths so we can emphasize those points. 

STEP 2 | Strategy call.

Each brand is a blend of personal style and brand strategy to develop a brand that not only inspires you, but also works to attract your clients. I really love the strategy part. How can we take this style that you love, and put it to work to you reach your audience? I don’t just create something that looks good, but I want you to actually see the results. 

So after the homework is complete, we jump on Zoom or Skype to discuss my ideas, concepts, strategize, and make sure everything is in line with your vision. Hearing you talk about your business is really powerful. And it’s really nice to meet “face-to-face.” 

I used to do this part before the homework, with a free consultation call, but I realized that it’s much better for both of us to do this after I’ve had time to go over everything and do a little research. Then we can discuss the ideas and how they will work together with your goals. 

STEP 3 | Mood Board & Color Inspiration

The next step is where I create a mood board and I know that all of my clients love this part. I scour the internet for images that represent your vision, that evoke the same emotional charge that we are trying to produce with their branding. 

I like to focus on one word at time. And a lot of times I end up grabbing a bunch of pictures that are very similar in style, because it’s not one image that represents a brand. It’s the collection of images and how they fit together. 

 I use Unsplash to gather photos that inspire the direction of the branding.

My favorite place to gather pics is Unsplash because of their collection feature. I’m able to add pics to my collections and then download them as needed. This helps me preview how a moodboard will look before I start working in Adobe Illustrator. (I do all of my design work in AI. Absolutely love it.) 

RELATED: Five places to find stock photos that will rock your socks off!

Once I start putting the images into Illustrator, that’s when, I notice common colors popping up in the pictures. And I can start to come up with a color palette to fit the mood. Or if the client already had a color scheme in mind, I can work the other direction and pull images that fit the color scheme they have already chosen to establish the right mood. I also work with color psychology to decide which colors are a go, and which are not. 

I love playing with color, and I strongly believe that the right color palette really enhances a brand’s message. That means that as we continue to develop the branding we may adjust the colors as we work. 

This recently happened when I was working on the branding for Haven Fibers.

The original inspiration was a full spectrum color palette but as we developed the branding we moved the actual colors we used toward the darker end of the spectrum because we used more brightly colored photographs. If everything would have been rainbow, we could have ended up with much more juvenile feeling than, elegant and crafty, like style we ended up using. 

Think of it like McDonald’s and Target. They both use red in their branding, but they are used in very styles. 

STEP 4| Logo concepts. 

Now I take that inspiration and color and start creating logo ideas. This part takes the longest in my workflow. I don’t think there is a lot of rhyme or reason to my process in this step. I just start trying things, and researching as I go to find the perfect combination of fonts, icons, illustrations, and patterns to customize. 

Sometimes I have to walk away, and give myself breathing room. Sometimes things just flow out. That’s part of being right-brained. 

Each package comes with two options to choose from, but that means I’m working through any number of logo options. “The one” doesn’t always come to me right away, sometimes I ended up making 5 or 10 variations before I settle on a concept that is worthy of showing you. 

Some designers do this through sketches with pen and paper, which is super cool but not really my style. I’ve always felt like I was better on the computer than on paper. I think it just depends on the designer’s style and skill set. In my design classes, I was always much better with mixed media pieces (think collages) than drawing. However, this is definitely a skill I’m working to better. 

Once I’ve settle on two concepts I send them over to you. I could literally spend days trying to come up with perfect logos. I’m always harder on myself than my clients. So I take the two strongest ideas and present them. Then, I can take your feedback and continue to create and tweak things so that your vision really comes to life. Once the logo is “just right” and you give it your final stamp of approval. We move on to the next step. 

In order to help you visualize how the logo will look in real life I will send them as mock-ups. This is a really fun step for both of us, it’s really exciting to see your logo on business card or tote bag. 

 Creating a mockup for each logo design helps you visualize how your logo will look in print, and its really excited to see your business in action.

STEP 5 | Additional elements

At this point, I just start creating the additional elements that make up the rest visual branding. Things like a horizontal/vertical version. Trust me, you always need both. A brand icon to be used as a favicon or simple watermark is also a must-have.

Then there are the additional items like social media images, icons, patterns, or any print materials if needed. I can usually whip these things out pretty quickly because I’ve already established the base of brand so I’m not spending anytime deciding on things like fonts or colors. 

I also let all of clients know I’m available to continue working together as your business grows to create items as they come up. For example, I’ve worked with Tabitha from Brick House Bodies several times this year to create workbooks for her new training programs. It’s so much fun to be a part of that growth. Plus, I already know the brand inside and out, so I’m able to jump back in very easily. 

After we’ve wrapped everything up, I set up a dropbox file that includes all the major file types you will need moving forward. I also set up a brand guide that lists out things like fonts, color hex codes which helps you create graphics that are on brand.

Are you looking to establish branding for your business?
I’d love to invite you to join me for a free 20-min discovery call so we can explore whether we’re a good fit to work together and answer your questions to create a strategic and gorgeous brand for your business!