People (including me) are always interested in the process of how something is created and what goes on behind-the-scenes. I think it offers a look into how much work goes into the process; the curtain is pulled back and you see that it’s not all it seems on the surface. In design, designers may offer a behind-the-scenes to show how much work can go into creating something simple as a way to demonstrate that design actually, isn’t easy and something that any five year old can do. I love to see other artists’ process because there is always something to learn from them. You can learn anything from the resources they use in their work or their methods. Today I’m going to share my own process and I hope that you can get something out of it.
When I approach a prospective client or a client approaches me, I always make sure that they view my website and portfolio first before proceeding. This is beneficial in two ways:
1- It saves time. When they view my portfolio, they get a clear idea of the kind of work I do and I don’t waste their time and mine by going back and forth giving them reasons why I am not the right person to provide a certain design service for them because of my niche.
I love linking up with different types of designers so I can be able to refer the clients to them, so if you are a specific type of designer, please email me so I can get to know you.
2- They get to know the Allebasi brand. Even if they don’t end up making use of my services, they’ll remember my brand and my services and will likely refer me to other people resulting in the most valuable advertising: word-of-mouth.
Once a client likes my work and wants to go ahead and use my services, they’ll have to make their booking. Here I can either share with them my Allebasi Google Calendar so they can see my availability and book their two weeks with me accordingly. This is on a first come, first serve basis. To book, they have to send me a 50% deposit. Once they book, I send them the branding questionnaire. The branding questionnaire is divided into four parts: Your Brand, Your Business/Company, Your Website and You.
1- Your Brand. Here the client answers questions to tell me a little story about their brand. How they would describe it, the vision and mission and so on. This gives me a clearer idea of how they perceive their brand and would like the public to perceive it too.
2- Your Business/Company. During this part the clients tells me about the services they render and how they provide that service. This for the sake of collateral items. By knowing what their business does and how they provide their service, I am able to design collateral items based on that so they can be able to provide an effectively branded service.
3- Your Website- Here I get answers about what the client wants on their website. Everything from information, social media links, photos and so on. I use this information to be able to plan the layout of their website and design accordingly.
4- You. Here I get to know the client a little better. Here the client tells me about their likes and dislikes, brands and people they admire, a summary of who they are and so on. I use this information so I can avoid accidentally using designs they do not like and to have a comprehensible idea of what they expect to achieve with their brand.
Once the client has answered the questions, the official design process begins. During week one I compile the mood board and design the logos and patterns, create a branding board and design the collateral items. Week two is spent solely on designing the website.
To compile the mood board, I visit the client’s Pinterest boards, (secret or public) which I ask them to specifically compile for their brand.
Pinterest is becoming a really awesome resource for customer relations in branding design and a year ago, I didn’t even know how to use it. It is a great marketing tool as well and more and more marketers (and business owners) are using it to reach their target audience.
Clients pin or upload any picture that they feel resonates with their brand. If needed, I use the branding questionnaire to add more pictures to their mood board. Then I take all those photos and compile them into a mood board using Photoshop and this is when everything starts coming together. When the mood board is done, I send it to the client to sign off on.
I use the mood board to design a colour palette for the client’s brand then I begin sketching a few logo ideas. I always have a piece of blank, unlined paper on my desk so I can quickly dot down or sketch every time I get an idea. I write and sketch without restraint and the result is always a paper whose blank spaces are filled with notes or sketches on both sides. I could use a dedicated sketchbook but somehow I usually avoid those in favour of a single piece of paper, haha.
When sketching logo ideas, I don’t think about perfecting the sketch, this just takes too much time and saps creativity. If you saw my preliminary logo sketches, you would think that I had no drawing skill, haha! That is okay, I do not know of any designer whose preliminary sketches are perfect. Sketches are just for you to see your ideas down on paper and be able to turn those ideas into as many concepts as possible. I would describe the sketching method as taking inventory of ideas related to your design.
After sketching I then transfer the sketched ideas onto my computer so I can start designing the logos. I use Adobe Illustrator for 95% of my logo designs. Like on paper, I allow myself to design as much concept variations as I can I take 3 of the logo designs and show them to the client and out of all three, she chooses one. I then take that one logo and design alternate logos so the client can have options when it comes to using their logo across different mediums.
After the logos have been finalised, I use them and the mood board to design branding elements. Branding elements include patterns and illustrations related to the brand, buttons and also the typefaces for the brand. I then compile everything into a branding board and the brand identity design has been completed.
Next I design the collateral items. Before I design those the client picks five items from a list for their brand’s collateral items. The items include stationery, packaging, signage etc. I design the collateral after the branding board because everything is easier that way. You have a clear picture of where everything is supposed to go and how it will look like because the branding board aids you well. After everything is designed I send them to the client to sign off on and make changes then I make revisions according to those changes.
All the above designs take place in the first week. In the second week, I begin on the website design. First I plan the layout of each page on the website on paper then design everything on the computer. I use Squarespace for mine and my clients website, reason being that my clients do not have to pay and arm and a leg to develop the website of their dreams and they can be able to edit and update their website content by themselves at any time without knowledge of coding. Squarespace also has an amazing 24/7 customer service which I just adore.
Within Squarespace I design and upload my client’s content and also do some coding where required so their website can work the way they want it to and it is unique and consistent to their branding identity. I also set up their business email via Google Apps and also their domain, if it is bought through a third party host.
All my clients have to do is sit back and watch their website get built. When the website is done and the client has signed off on it and the necessary revisions have been made, I plan with them and decide on a suitable day to launch their new website and brand. Because I have to respect the time and date of the date they’ve decided on, I don’t immediately post their brand identity on my website.
I instead create anticipation and awareness for them by sharing sneak peeks and once the launch date has arrived, I celebrate with them then I put share my process on designing their brand through a blog post and then update my portfolio. By blogging about their new brand and website I:
1- Give them exposure. By blogging about it, I get to give you and other readers awareness of a business you could make use of. Perhaps you’ve been looking for a specific business that provides a service or sells a product you want or you come across a business you never knew you would make use of until now. In turn, I get to showcase my clients’ brand and give them exposure to potential clients of their own.
2- Share a comprehensive look into the making of their brand. Like I said, people love seeing or reading about things behind-the-scenes and the process of making something. I get to give you some useful content and have you take something away from it.
To see an example of this, see my most recent brand identity design here.
I am always happy when a client is happy about their brand and launches it with excitement. It doesn’t stop here. I get to check in on them and how their business is doing time and time again and also give them any post-design help they want be it the kind of content they should have up on their blogs (if they have one) or referring them to printers for their collateral items and so on. It’s like giving up a baby for adoption. I want to be the kind of mother who checks in on the baby with its new family and get sent pictures on birthdays and holidays, haha!
Check out my post about why small business owners should blog here.
Whew! A lot goes into the design of a brand identity, doesn’t it? I hope you have enjoyed getting a look into my design process. I’d love to know what you think of my process and if you are a designer, is your process similar? What part of the process is your favourite? Comment below and let me know!