Hello, and Welcome to an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at my client // design process. Last week we talked about what happens before a project gets underway in order to make a 3-week timeline possible - if you missed it you can check it out below.
Week 01 of 03 is all about the Discovery + Identity Formation of your brand. While all three weeks are fun, the first week is my favorite! Going over your client homework together, playing with mood boards // color palettes, combing through research - UGH - it's just the best!
Below, you'll find how I break up each step by day and the process // reasoning behind these steps. I will give the disclaimer that, even though I've broken these things down into what happens on a particular day - sometimes it's not possible to stick to this schedule EXACTLY.
For instance, with one brand, the mood board, color palette and typefaces might be figured out in a day and for another - it might take three days. For that reason, I actually combine Week 01 and Week 02 [which you'll see next week] to allow for the flexibility that creativity needs.
It would be nice if every step of every project took the same amount of time, but that's just not reality. For that reason, the steps I'll be outlining over the next couple of weeks vary in actual time required to complete them, but in total - the whole process happens over the course of two weeks.
Day 01 // Kick-Off + Research
WHOO!! Get excited - because it's DAY 01 of the project! To start everything off, we'll have a Kick-Off meeting over Skype. This meeting is intended to be pretty quick [1 hour tops] where we'll go over your client homework together and I'll answer any questions you might have.
Then. It's time to begin! Let the Research commence!
Ok. This is my favorite part! I'm a Learner and I absolutely LOVE the research that goes into each brand. So, what's that look like?
As I stated in this post, which shows you some of the process behind The Classy Hippie brand, I start with words. Words. Words. Words. Love them!
I look over your homework and based on the words you used in your answers and in our conversations, I start by looking up their meaning and drawing visual inspiration from there. I literally could spend forever learning about the words you chose and going down an endless rabbit trail of how those words connect to other sources that can offer inspiration, but I limit myself to one day.
I take a day to soak everything in, sketching out ideas, reading articles, flipping through design books, learning more about industry systems in place for your business, perusing Pinterest, looking at artists and other forms of design like architecture, interiors, fashion, etc.
This research and Discovery Phase is imperative to the creation of your brand. Without it, the visuals would have no connection to the meaning behind your brand.
Day 02 // Mood Board
After the initial research, the secret Pinterest board comes into play. This will be the home base for much of the inspiration and research discovered on Day 01. I'll then take images from the Pinterest board and compile them into a Mood Board that captures the look and feel of your brand and upload it to your Private Client Page.
[And now, an interruption in this segment to offer a brief explanation of how the secret Pinterest board will work. In the past, I've had clients create the board themselves and pin things to it that inspire them and then I've created the mood board from there.
Although, this approach can work in certain circumstances, I've found that for Branding, it works best for me to do the pinning during my research day based off of your responses to the Branding Questionnaire than to have you pinning images just because you "like" them.
This way, the images are tied to the look and feel you're going for while keeping your goals, vision, mission and audience in mind. It's important to have these things at the focus before going wild on Pinterest and risking putting a board together that doesn't align with the substance of your brand.]
From there, you'll review the Mood Board along with a description explaining how those particular images and design elements were chosen based off of your responses. At this time you can offer comments, especially if there are variations of the Mood Board for you to choose from, and I'll provide one revision to the Mood Board based on your feedback, if necessary.
Then I'll upload the final Mood Board to your Private Client Page and supply you with a .png of the board that you can use on your social media accounts as a teaser to your audience, if you want.
Day 03 // Color + Typefaces
Chances are, I will have already picked out a few colors from your Mood Board images and implemented them into the design of your Mood Board. If you want to know what I mean by this, check out some of my Color Stories, a weekly design series on the blog every Thursday, for an example.
However, just because I've included color bars into the design of your Mood Board, doesn't mean those will be the final colors, that's just a starting point. I'll spend part of the day testing out various color combinations and select a few as your main colors [to be used repeatedly throughout your brand] and a few for accents.
For the remainder of the day, I'll research Typefaces and test out different combinations that could be used for your brand. Once both the Color Palette & Typefaces have been selected, I'll upload examples of each to your Private Client Page for you to review and comment on what you like and possibly don't like.
If any changes need to happen, I'll provide one revision and upload the final Color Palette & Typefaces at the end of the day.
[What's a revision? A revision is one round of changes. So let's say you like 4 of the 5 colors I've put forward and you say, "That last shade of green feels off to me, could we explore making it darker or maybe even see what purple would look like instead?"
I'll take that feedback and create a new Color Palette, or in this case - two new ones, showing what it looks like with a different green or with purple. From there, you'll have to decide if you want to keep the original or go with one of the new options.
Because I only offer one revision in this step, you wouldn't be able to request seeing another option. If that sounds restrictive and limiting, don't worry. I've never had to *knock on wood* have a revision on Color Palettes or Typefaces, let alone go past needing more than one. That's because of the initial groundwork established in your responses to the Branding Questionnaire as well as the design of the Mood Board.
Keeping revisions to a minimum, especially in the early stages of the process, is crucial to keeping on track with our 3-week schedule.]
Days 04 + 05 // Logo
Alright, here we go - time for the Logo. Chances are, I've already sketched out a few initial ideas for your logo, but I need to go through the process of your client homework and Days 01-03 to gain a more established grasp on what your logo should be.
Like I said in the intro of this post, each project is different when it comes to the exact amount of time spent on each step, but they also differ in how many options of logos I present. With my very first client, I presented nearly 10 versions of her logo and explained which one I thought we should go with. We ended up going with the one I selected because she agreed with me that it made the most sense.
That experience taught me not to present literally every sketch because not every sketch is going to be "gold" in the sense that it aligns with your brand. For that reason, I don't commit to presenting a set number of designs. I'll spend the day sketching out concepts, choose the best ones, even if that is literally only one, and present them to you as 'rough drafts' uploaded to your Private Client Page.
[At this point, you have access to your Mood Board, Color Palette, Typefaces and Logo Concepts all in one place on your Private Client Page!]
Again, you'll have time to review the logo concepts and ask to see certain changes made. I'll provide one revision at this stage and upload new sketches based on your comments. After that, I'll share the direction I think we should go and the reasons behind that choice and you'll have the final decision for picking which design we go with.
Next, I'll work on digitizing and refining your chosen logo. Also, I always start every logo in black and white to make sure we're focused on the form and getting that right before we start applying color, if we apply color at all. It's very possible that your logo will remain black and white and that the rest of your Color Palette will act as supporting colors throughout the designs for your collateral [Business Cards, Letterhead, etc.] and // or social media graphics.
Once this step is complete, I'll upload your logo and you'll be able to make comments on anything you may want to be changed and I'll provide one last revision before finalizing your logo and uploading the final product to your Private Client Page.
[One last thing about revisions. Don't feel like you NEED to make a change just because I've included it in the process. If you like the way a particular design element looks, you can bypass a revision. I've put those in there to allow for the possibility of changes needing to happen, but they aren't mandatory.
It's perfectly normal to not request a revision in one area and to request one in another. If we can minimize revisions, it allows for a smoother, more relaxed pace during the process, which benefits us both! That being said, if you really do want to see something in a different option, ask! That's why they're built in as part of the process.]
Depending on how much time is left in the week, based on how many revisions took place, how our communication went and how the design in general went, I'll either spend the last bit of Week 01 designing your logo variations [vertical, horizontal, mark & watermark - if applicable] or the very beginning of Week 02.
There you have it! One week in and you have all of the essential elements required in order to create a cohesive brand, a Mood Board, Color Palette, Typefaces and Logo Variations! Stay tuned for Week 02 which will be all about taking those elements and designing the various collateral items that you'll need in order to complete your client experience.
In need of some Branding help? Find out more below.
What did you think? Was this helpful for you? Was there anything that needs further clarification? Let me know in the comments below!
Love & Blessings,
P.S. If you missed my post on everything that needs to happen before the 3-week timeline can begin - check it out HERE.
P.P.S. Remember to follow me on Instagram to keep up with the LIVE, in real time design of Every Street CLT, happening for the next three weeks, so you can see this process in action!