B R A N D I N G –––
As a freelance graphic designer, I have established a clear procedure to work and communicate with my clients. The reason behind this is clear: it builds a solid foundation to get started with the project, helps me to stay organised and to be more efficient and, above all, it's measurable.
When I start collaborating with a new client, I always stick to this process as I certainly work on making captivating designs and defining a consistent visual system that matches the values and inherent identity of the brand. For that, I combine my marketing and graphic knowledge to create the most outstanding and meaningful designs.
During this process I work hand to hand with my client to get crystal clear on what is the business about, which are its core values, its target and what they want to achieve with my services. Nowadays, in this increasingly competitive market, it is essential to have a well thought-out brand identity to generate a great first impression in the consumer's mind.
So let's dive into it and break it down into the following 6 steps or phases.
Consultation Call & Booking
Execution of the Logo Design
Design of the Corporative Branding Elements
Approval, Delivery & Ongoing Client Support
01. Consultation Call & Booking
This is the discovery phase.
Firstly, after the client fills up the quick contact form, we get to know each other by setting up a consultation call. This is the first step to get to know the brand and which specific services they are looking for. For my part, I introduce myself and share my process, timelines and packages more in detail through a Welcome Guide.
If we are a good match, I start with the on boarding process, which includes the design and budget agreement and a tailored branding proposal. This outlines the terms and scope of the project, each person's responsibilities, the calendar and payment schedule and the expiration date, to make sure we stick to the timelines.
02. On Boarding
In order to get to know the brand more in-depth, I provide my client with a little bit of a homework: I send them a quick questionnaire and ask them to fill it up. This document involves some thinking my client has to do before embarking on the project, that allows me to get a great first insight of the company, the project necessities and some design preferences.
It includes questions such as:
What's the business name and the meaning behind it
What adjectives describe best your brand
What makes your business unique
What problem do you want to solve/address
What is the target audience of your business
I find this such a good exercise to do and really helpful for both parts! On the one hand, it provides me a very good insight of the company and their envision but it also helps my client to know better what they are looking for and to work though some of the foundational tasks in setting up a brand and a business vision. In some cases, this form even makes them consider some questions they didn't think about before.
At the same time, I create a Google Drive folder and start organising the project within folders like concept work, corporate identity manual, bills, mood boards, logos, stock photos... So that everything is neatly organised once we start working on the project.
Therefore, through this form, as well as gathering information about the brand, I also collect links to other firms they look up to and competitors, which really helps me during the creation process. I carefully read all the points and clarify any of them in case I'm not clear on anything.
All the information provided will be analysed and taken into further research to set up a clear and strong branding strategy, which will be compiled in a Creative Briefing. This first guide aims to capture the brand's personality and define the creative direction of the project.
This step is one of the key parts of my working process, as it supports the strategy of the whole project. It is what makes my designs intentional and meaningful, rather than just making things beautiful for the heck of it.
To do so, I carefully take time to research its competitors and think in depth about the target audience. From there, I start creating a mood board to represent the overall vibe or mood of the brand and defining the colour palette it will rely on.
Here's an example of a Mood board I created for the holistic nutritionist DIANA PINA NUTRICIÓN. The vibe and the tone represented in this image is clear: delicacy, tranquility, style, beauty, humanity, sophistication...
This first step made muy client fell in love with the project since the begining!
Sharing these visual boards with my clients really help me to make sure I've clearly understand the brand concept and its necessities. It also allows me to see what resonates with them, their brand and, most importantly, its target audience and gives me the chance to rectify any point I misunderstood.
03. Execution of the Logo Design
Here is where things get exciting!
Once the mood and the colour scheme of the brand are defined, I start working on the concept. I always begin by making pencil sketches. I believe it's so important not to lose the relationship with paper but rather to combine both tools - paper and digital - to take advantage of both and reach the best results. Also, in my opinion, designing before on paper makes my ideas flow more freely and naturally, plus helps me to be more productive: I design heaps of drafts and once I love one I digitalise it.
I take the logo concept and start determining the rest of the visual concept such as the colour palette and the typography. Then, I use mockups to see how the logo and these elements work together in its context. This shows the logo in action and gives a more accurate representation of the solidity of the brand.
After the feedback is given, I begin to readjust the concept if necessary, according to the agreement arranged at the beginning of the process - generally there are two revisions, but sometimes there is just one.
04. Design of the Corporative Branding Elements
Once the logo is perfected, I proceed to finish the Branding Style Board, which usually involves the following things:
Alternative Logos or Submark
Variations of the Logo - Use of corporative colours
Custom Brand Textures, Illustrations and Patterns
Corporate Identity Manual
This is a really important step, as my major aim is that they get in love with their brand. There's more to a brand than just a logo. In order to create a consistent image, a whole visual story should be developed in order to define your business and connect you with your ideal audience. Exploring and defining the personality of your brand and how to project those values is key to success.
05. Collateral Design
While branding serves as a base, marketing collateral, packaging and other printed assets (business cards, bags, stationery, email signature, etc) take your business to a fully next level. In case my client selected a package which included collateral design, we will now move then onto this step.
Creating a recognisable and uniform identity is the best way to add value to your brand, differentiate from competitors and give a strong first impression to your client. It allows you to create a whole and unique brand experience.
06. Approval, Delivery and On-Going Client Support
When all the designs is finally finished and approved, I make sure every file my client will need for printing, editing, websites, social media, etc is clearly organised in the Google Drive Folders that I created at the beginning.
I believe in long term relationships and pride myself on creating meaningful and long-lasting collaborations with brands that convey a heartfelt story. For me, every project I embark is unique and special. I truly believe in the brands I work with and I love to keep hearing from them. I put so much effort and love on each of them, so that when the project comes to an end, I offer ongoing support to all my clients. and a wide variety of design services after this branding process: to create a cohesive brand. As I already know the brand and its core values, it's so much easier to keep working with them.
As I mentioned above, I don't just create an aesthetic logo design, but rather try to get to the root of the brand foundation and build a relationship with my client based in trust and a strong communication.
Finally, I also ask them for some feedback and a testimonial, in order to see what are the things they've love the most about working with me and which are the points they'll improve.
So these are the 6 steps I always follow when it comes to a new project. My process has been refined and perfected over time to be the best it can be and reach the best results, to serve my clients the best way as possible.
I hope you find it clear and helpful.
Thanks for reading!
N O A