Welcome to my first blog post! I'm going to start this blog with something simple - my personal branding reveal. In this post, I'm going to walk you step-by-step through my design process to give you a little sneak peek behind the curtain.
Step 1 | Research
I start each design project by giving my clients a series of in-depth questionnaires about their brand, workflow, and website. I also request they start a secret inspiration board in Pinterest before their scheduled start date. Since, the client was me, the process looked a little different.
I started at the beginning, identifying my ideal client. I came up with "Multi-dimensional female creative entrepreneurs 20-35 years old. They typically range from middle to upper class and have an eye for style and quality. They are passionate about style and aesthetic and consider it a worthy investment."
I also started a preliminary business plan, created monthly and quarterly goals and much more. But, I won't bore you with the details.
Next, I headed to Pinterest to find my inspiration.
Step 2 | Inspiration
I combed through Pinterest looking for anything that leaped out at me. I kept my ideal client in mind and even wrote a little paragraph about this person - I call her Kelly. It allowed me to put a face to my ideal client and really connect to "Kelly" in a different way.
Once I had saved countless images, I scanned through and downloaded around 20 of the strongest ones. I grouped them in different ways until the overall message felt right.
In my initial questionairre, I ask my clients to come up with 7-10 adjectives that describe your ideal brand. These are mine: soft, inviting, modern, clean, fresh, cozy, warming, friendly.
Inspiration boards serves two purposes in my design process.
Normally, it ensures I am on the same page with my client for the visual direction. Without it, I end up doing a lot of revisions to get the final concept right. Since, I am the client this wasn't an issue.
The second purpose is staying on brand.
An inspiration board serves as my inspiration - shockingly enough. When I start sketching logo concepts, pairing fonts, creating collateral, etc. the inspiration board is always present. Some feel that the brand guide would be more useful, but I disagree. The brand guide ensures I'm using the proper fonts, it doesn't tell me what fonts to choose.
Step 3 | Logo Concepts
When I begin creating logo concepts I sit down with my notebook and start sketching. I play with different combinations, symbols and patterns. Similarly to the inspiration board, I look for what speaks to me.
Once I choose a few designs that I like I open up Adobe Illustrator and get to work. When working with a client I send them three versions, they choose a direction and we revise until the primary logo is finalized. I followed a similar process - just with a lot fewer emails.
Once the primary logo is selected, I work on secondary logos and favicons to give me (or my clients) versatility for banners, icons, social media graphics, etc.
The logo concepts leads me into creating the brand guide that finalizes colors, fonts, logos, collateral, inspiration, really anything you want easy reference to.
Step 4 | Website
In the website questionnaire I ask clients about the purpose of their website, what some successful user outcomes would be, and what they want to emphasize most.
I sat down and considered my primary goals and flow of traffic. Most of my clients book me through my website, so I wanted to place the most emphasis on my portfolio. This allows prospective clients to easily see my work, decide if they connect with my aesthetic and (hopefully) book me.
With this in mind, I designed my website to easily flow from my portfolio to my services page.
My website opens to an image of my work and the first tab is to see my portfolio. I also direct people back to my portfolio from my services page, this blog post and more.
By doing the research up front pulling my website together only took me a couple of hours. I understood my clients, my goals and my work flow. Putting it into action was easy.
Have you recently re-branded your business? What process did you follow? Let me know in the comments!