Behind the Scenes of Our Branding Process
Last week, I shared how I’m using Skillshare to invest in my own education and learn more about design and business. A few years ago, we started working with the platform Asana for project management, but haven’t super consistent with using it to handle all of our internal and client projects.
This morning, I decided to watch one of Skillshare’s classes on Asana to jumpstart some ideas on how we could further use the platform in our business. One of the reasons I love using Asana for project management is because it is FREE to use! No matter how you operate your online business - whether it’s product-based, education-based, or service-based, Asana is a great way to organize and track your tasks for productivity (and to grow your team!)
Instead of giving a full breakdown of the platform (since we’re still finding ways to optimize it for our team… more of which I’ll share in a later post!) I figured I would share one process we’ve really solidified - our brand design process. I plan to turn into an automated system using Asana so we can better serve our clients and spend our time doing what we do best!
A Look into Our Branding Process
Our process starts with an inquiry through our website’s contact form. We still occasionally get email referrals and Instagram DM’s, but I try to make it a point to direct all traffic back to our website. With an intentional contact form, you can gather the exact information you need to make sure you’re a good fit for a potential client.
The Initial Call
We follow up with website inquiries to schedule an initial consultation call. This is a chance to get to know each other, share more information about our process, and hear about their goals for branding.
After the initial call, and once we determine whether or not it’s a good fit, I’ll put together a personalized proposal to outline the project and give a few initial ideas. I typically send along the contract and deposit at this point to get the project rolling and make sure we’re all set to get started once the proposal is approved.
Even though we’ve gone through an initial discovery/consultation call, we always start with an in-depth discovery process to identify our client’s long-term goals, visual style, ideal client, and brand values. This helps us to truly understand the brand we are designing for and make sure everyone is on the same page.
After the discovery call, I’ll put together a PDF outlining the brand’s objectives (including project goals, ideal client, values, and descriptive words) alongside a mood board and creative direction. This helps me to organize my thoughts and make sure that the visual inspiration aligns with the deeper brand values and message.
Once I’m happy with the creative direction, I begin designing three distinct logos to present to the client. While I don’t want to create too much variety, I do want to showcase a few directions the brand can go. Our goal at this phase is to solidify the best design solution so that we can begin refinement.
Brand Style Guide
Once a logo concept is selected, we add a color palette, type treatment, secondary logos, social media mockup, and business card design to test the flexibility and strength of the brand asset system. This is a great way to see the brand in action and make some crucial design decisions.
Once the brand style guide is delivered, we go through two rounds of refinements to critique and perfect the design to make sure it will solve all of the brand objectives and stand the test of time. This is a great chance for us to get feedback from a team, focus group, or investors to make sure the brand aligns with everyone’s vision.
Packaging & Delivery
Finally, it’s time to package and deliver the logo assets. I become extremely OCD during this portion of the project and check for details that need to be buttoned up and refined before a logo is ready for use. This usually means outlining strokes and type, double checking alignment and consistency, and creating as many variations and options as I can to help the client implement the design onto their website and collateral.
While I’m proud of the process we’ve nailed down over the years, there are some ways I’d love to improve it this year. For instance…
I’d love to create a Media Kit to outline our range of design services. I’d ideally send this document after the initial inquiry when scheduling our consultation. It’s always helpful to give a potential client enough information ahead of time so that they can determine whether or not they are a good fit.
I’d also like to expand on our discovery process to include team interviews and go on a deeper dive into the ideal client. We’ve started to work with more established brands and I think it’s fascinating to get team buy-in and have a few more seats at the table when making big brand decisions.
I’ve always made digital mood boards, but this year (as I build my new studio in Montana) I’d like to make these mood boards physical so that I can have a quick visual reference as I’m designing. I also think there’s so much power in creating work with your hands.
I hope this look inside our branding process has inspired you to take a closer look at your own processes and look for ways to refine and improve with the new year. I’m excited to dive back into Asana this season as a way to track my goals and make sure each client is getting the same excellent experience.
If you’re curious about working with Asana, or need a little guidance finding the best productivity process for your small business, I strongly suggest getting started with Skillshare!