Over the next few weeks I'll be taking you behind-the-scenes and offering a step-by-step look into my 3-week client // design process and I can't wait to share it with you!
So, let's get started shall we? First things first, I advertise a 3-week project timeline, BUT - let's get real for a minute - how in the world is that actually possible?
Because I only work with one client at a time and for two reasons...
First, one client at a time allows for a complete focus on YOUR project.
I won't be spending valuable time emailing back and forth with other clients or borrowing time from Peter to pay Paul because for those three weeks, I'm all yours. You may be thinking that sounds kind of obvious, but in actuality, it's pretty rare in the design world.
A lot of designers, agencies, freelancers, etc. take on multiple clients at a time - and there are legitimate reasons for that, [which I'll cover in an upcoming post on The Difference Between a Graphic Designer and a Brand Designer - so keep a look out for that] but for the kind of work I do, I believe it makes more sense to take on one client at a time.
Second, one client at a time allows for efficiency and better results.
Because I'm only working with you during these three weeks, I won't be distracted by other clients and projects as I mentioned before. This will allow me to stay in the mindset of your project, your needs and your brand which will result in a more authentic // cohesive design that fully expresses your brand, without other non-related influences creeping in.
This will also allow for smoother & quicker communication between us which will allow for reviews and revisions of your design to happen faster. And, you may have already guessed, this efficiency is what makes a 3-week timeline possible to begin with.
Maybe you're thinking, "But if you're offering three weeks, isn't that normal?" Let me stop you there. No. It's not normal. A project like this, when multiple clients are involved at the same time, could take anywhere from 6-9 weeks depending on the freelancer, designer or agency.
Trust me. A 3-week timeline is pretty incredible.
Now, let's get into the meat of this - The Getting Started Process.
Before anything can happen, you have to actually want and need a complete brand & website design. [Insert 'Duh' Here.] When you're interested and want to partner up to create the identity design for your brand, it starts by you emailing me.
[Suddenly feeling inspired to reach out? We can get the ball rolling once you contact me.]
Next, I'll respond with an email and include links to a Google Doc of my Client Process and a syllabus of your Client Homework for you to peruse and get a better understanding of what the step-by-step process will look like, when payments are due and what each of us will be responsible for along the way.
Ready to Book
After you've read over the client // design process and taken a look at the syllabus for your client homework and want to move forward, I'll send over an invoice for your deposit and a contract for you to sign. The contract lays out the scope of work, timeline, pricing and what is expected from each of us, as well as what can happen if either one of us doesn't follow through with our agreement.
[That may sound a little scary, but so far I've never had any issues with my clients - the contract exists to protect us both and keep us both accountable.]
Once the contract has been signed and your deposit has been paid, we'll pick out a start date that works for both of us. Your deposit [$2,000] ensures your start date and blocks out your 3-week time slot on my calendar.
Then, I'll send you your full client homework for you to get started. Depending on my calendar // project availability, you'll either have a week or several weeks to complete your client homework before we get started.
Your Client Homework
Your Client Homework consists of three major elements - a questionnaire, a secret Pinterest board and preparing for your website design. The questionnaire and secret Pinterest board are relatively self-explanatory [I expand on them in the syllabus for your Client Homework] but I'll go into further depth of how to prepare for your website here.
Preparing for your Website
If you already have a website, you'll need to save // backup all of your content [copy, images, blog posts, etc.] onto your computer or storage device. Next you'll need to create a DropBox account if you don't already have one. This will allow you to share all of the copy, images and blog posts you want on your new site with me.
[If you don't have images for your website, we can work together to schedule and coordinate a Styled Shoot as a separate project. If this is something you want to do, we'll go through the first two weeks of your Complete Brand & Website design then push pause to work on your Styled Shoot and then pick up with Week 03 of the design to finish off your website. ]
Next, you'll need to create a Squarespace account and purchase your domain through Squarespace [don't activate it yet] or connect your existing domain to Squarespace. Once this is done, you'll need to give me [temporary] access to your account so I can design and layout your website for you.
If you don't feel like you're tech savvy enough to handle this part of your homework, you can always reach out to me for help. Squarespace is very simple to use once it's explained and at the end of your project, I'll walk you through your site and explain how to use everything so you can add content on your own as you need to instead of hiring a web designer to handle it for you each time. [Another perk.]
Client Homework is Completed & Reviewed
Once you've completed your client homework, you'll send it back to me for me to review before our kick-off meeting for the project. This will need to happen within 48 hours of your start date to give me plenty of time to get my mind ready for your project and into what the identity design for your brand should be based on your responses. This will also facilitate our Kick-Off meeting and keep it from going too long. Shorter meeting = more design time.
If you don't have your homework completed in time, it will push back your start date, and we don't want that, so it's very important to have it done on time. Don't worry about keeping track of any of this. I'll send you emails along the way reminding you of important deadlines. After I've received your homework, I'll send you an email reminding you of your start date.
Private Client Page
Next, I'll create a Private Client Page with a Custom Password just for you on my website. This is where I'll upload everything having to do with your brand design. All variations, design elements and major milestones will be uploaded for you to review at any time. At the end of your project, I'll upload all final design elements for you to download and use at any time.
This site will always stay live as a reference point for you, unless notified otherwise. I'll email you the URL and Password as well as a description of how the Client Page will be used throughout the process.
After those few things are taken care of, all we have to do is wait for your Start Date and we're ready to go!
And there you have it - everything that needs to take place before we can get started on your design. Having these things completed ahead of time cuts down on confusion and helps to streamline the process, leaving those three weeks completely dedicated to design rather than tracking down files or trying to connect your domain.
Laying the proper groundwork is extremely important for a successful project, and I'm always available to help clarify any part of the process along the way.
In need of some Branding help? Find out more below.
What did you think of this post? Was it helpful to you? If you're in need of a brand designer or you're a designer yourself, I'd love to hear your thoughts or any questions you might have!
I'm here to make your project and the process as enjoyable as possible so that in the end, you'll have a beautiful brand that meets your needs and speaks to your tribe.
Please share any thoughts or questions below and I'll be happy to respond // answer them!
Love & Blessings,
P.S. Want to take a look at the Branding Questionnaire I send out as client homework?