3 Things you must do if you're working with a designer on your branding.
Yay! You've established your business and you’re ready to hire a designer to help you create your brand’s identity.
You’ve probably saved up for this investment and maybe you’re a little nervous because it feels like a big endeavor. It is! But a good designer will help guide you every step of the way and make you feel at ease.
The following tips will help you prepare for the process and also give you guidance for communicating with your designer during the project.
1. Have a business plan & mission statement.
The most important thing you need when working with a designer on your branding is a clear idea of your business and it’s objectives.
You don’t need anything long or fancy. A one-page business plan will do.
Your business plan should contain your vision, mission statement, goals (short-term and long-term), strategies, and an action plan that outlines how you are going to accomplish all of your goals and manifest your vision.
The following questions will help you when building your business plan and creating your brand’s overall vibe.
What is your why?
First, start by answering “Why am I creating this business?” It is the quintessential question and only you can answer it.
Did you start your business to express yourself, help others, support yourself and your family? Whatever the reason, when you know your “why” you’ll have the passion and courage to pursue your dream, even when you feel unmotivated or are in a slump.
Who is your ideal client?
The whole reason you are investing money in a designer and putting in all of this effort is to create a brand that attracts your ideal client. So you must have a crystal clear idea of who that is.
Be really specific. Where does this person shop? Are they male or female, married or single? Do they dress a certain way? What social media do they tend to favor?
All of these questions will help your designer know who you are speaking to and determine what type of design will attract their attention best.
Who is your competition?
More than likely, you’re not the first person to offer the products or services that your business offers. That’s totally okay, but it’s on you to distinguish yourself from the others and show how you offer something a little different.
What makes your business unique? Is your process a little different in some way? Do you make something by hand that is usually mass-produced?
Think about that little thing that makes you special and emphasize it. It is what will help you stand out from the pack and may be the factor that makes a customer choose you over the others.
2. Know your style.
When designing a brand identity for your business, you’ll want to go beyond your personal preferences and think about the aesthetics your ideal client prefers.
However, since many small businesses are extensions of the business owners themselves, it is likely that your personal preferences will show up to some extent in your brand’s style.
So to that end, think about some of the things you are drawn to.
What is the style of your home or closet?
Look around your home. What colors are present? Are they calming or energizing? (Learn more about color psychology here.)
And what about your closet? Do you tend to dress conservatively or do you like to stand out a bit with unique prints and unusual items?
In the same way that your home and wardrobe express who you are, the colors, patterns, fonts, etc. that you use in your brand will express your business’ values and purpose.
What tends to attract your attention on social media?
Your behavior on social media says a lot about your personality and style. Start paying attention to posts that you like and interact with the most.
Do you always double-tap on Instagram posts with flowers and pastel colors? Or do you prefer more moody, graphic images?
Think of this in relation to your brand. What types of images will interest your ideal client most?
3. Provide useful feedback.
Now that you’ve written your business plan, determined the style of your brand, and hired a designer, there’s still plenty to do on your part. Remember, it’s a collaboration and only you can make final decisions related to your brand’s identity.
After you fill out intake forms and answer questions about your brand, your designer will get to work on your brand elements - logo, submarks, color palette, font combinations, patterns, etc.
When you receive a concept from your designer, you’ll need to reply with helpful feedback in order to end up with a brand identity you love. Here’s how to provide killer feedback to your designer:
Provide detailed thoughts; don’t be vague.
Say things like: “I think the font should be smaller” or “I’d like a more decorative font”.
Don’t say: “It just isn’t there yet” or “I’ll know it when I see it”.
See the difference?
When you are vague, you don’t give the designer much information to guide the process forward.
Send feedback within 24 hours, if possible.
As an entrepreneur, you’re most definitely very busy. But the sooner you reply to your designer with your feedback, the sooner she or he can get back to the drawing board and make the changes that will get you closer to your final, beautiful brand.
I know life isn’t always simple and it may be hard to respond quickly with feedback when you have a giant to-do list and feel the pressure from all of your business responsibilities. But if you prioritize getting feedback to your designer you will help the project stay on course and hopefully will finish on time.
As a designer who offers a 2-week process for branding and web design, this point is one of the most important. There’s no way I can guarentee a 2-week project deadline if my clients aren’t making sure to send me feedback in a timely manner.
Working with a designer to create a unique, authentic brand can be a great experience and you’ll probably come away with a very professional, polished brand identity for your business. Thinking about these tips before you start to work with your designer will ensure you get the best return on your investment.
If you’re ready to invest in your business’ branding and you’d like to discuss your project, get in touch today. I’d love to chat about your mission and goals and how I can help you achieve them!
Did you ask yourself about your mission and ideal client when branding your business? What other questions have helped you create or refine your brand?