THE 5 STAGES OF CHOOSING A BRANDING DESIGNER
So you’ve decided to launch your own business – woohoo! Congratulations, it’s one of the best decisions you’ve ever made! Trust me, I’ve been where you are right now. Now you need to nail that branding. But, with all the startup costs you have to fork out for, this is a big investment and a massive decision to make. This is such an exciting time for you and your business, so the branding process should be one of the best experiences you have. That’s why choosing the right person to work with is key. And that doesn’t just mean the standard of their work – I’m talking the relationship and connection you have with them and the passion they have for your business too. So how do you make the right call? That’s where my 5 stages of choosing a branding designer can help you…
STAGE 1 – WHAT DO YOU NEED?
First up you need to be clear in your own mind what you need. Do this even before you hit Instagram and create that über cool pinterest board! What are you after? A new logo? Or maybe you’re happy with that and want to refresh your colour palette? A new website? If so, what platforms are you open to? Do you want it to be fully SEO optimized?
Knowing exactly what you want will help so much when you get to stage 3, which I’ll come on to later. All designers offer different items in their packages so when it comes to shortlisting you need to know who’s going to offer you the best solution for YOU. For example, some may only deliver one logo concept, while others offer 3 or 4. Will they provide colour palettes and font choices? How about patterns and textures? Can they create illustrations and vectors? What do you get with their website package? Can you integrate a blog, or a newsletter?
There’s a lot of questions to answer, but don’t be daunted, I’m sure you’ve got a lot of these bubbling around in your mind already. The key thing is, the more sure you are of what YOU need, the easier it will be to choose the right designer.
STAGE 2- WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET?
As I chatted about above, this is a big investment given all the other startup costs you have. So setting a budget (and sticking to it) is so important. There are so many designers to choose from, with prices and packages ranging from £300 up to over £5,000. Obviously knowing what you need will help determine your budget, especially when you’re researching designer’s packages, but the other key point to make here is that you often get what you pay for.
It has to feel right for you, and I’ll come on to that later, but this investment should set you up for the long term so finding that extra wiggle room in your budget could be the difference between one amazing branding experience which creates the launch pad for your brand, or repeating the process with a new designer within 6 months to a year. Would you rather buy four New Look handbags a year, or one Mulberry that’s timeless?
STAGE 3 – WHO GRABS YOUR ATTENTION?
The most fun of all 5 stages! Go crazy on Pinterest, like away on Instagram, this is all about finding designers who grab your attention, and makes you feel excited with their work. Do as much research as possible and make a hit list of all the people whose work you love.
Check out their portfolios to see if they have a house style – maybe they’re quite minimal, or use a lot of illustrations, but whatever you see has to feel right for you and your brand. Once you’re happy, gauge their packages and prices alongside your requirements and your budget. This should give you a shortlist to reach out to and get the ball rolling.
STAGE 4 – HOW DO THEY WORK?
So you know what you want. Check. You know your budget. Check. And you have a shortlist – awesome. Now you need to know how they work. What are their processes? Do you get a proposal detailing their services and what you’ll be getting for your investment? Are they available on Skype? Do they like to meet face to face? Or do they only operate through email? Do they want to get to know you, and your brand? Or do they just want to jump straight into the designs themselves?
Everyone works differently, but you have to feel comfortable and happy with the journey before it begins.
STAGE 5 – HOW DOES IT FEEL?
The final stage of the process and probably THE most important of all. By now you know what you want, how much you’ve got to spend, who’s on your shortlist, and how they work, so you should be down to a couple of amazing options. At this point it’s all about your experience. You’re investing a big sum of money, to get something amazing for your brand, so this journey should be a super exciting moment for you.
So how did each designer make you feel during the design process? Who did you connect with the best? Who shares your passion for your brand? Did they just want to do some designs and get paid, or did they make you feel like they were really invested in helping you become a success? You want a designer who gets excited about you and your business and really wants to work with you to make it happen. This chemistry is so important. Above all, trust your instincts. They are so powerful, and they are the reason you’re at this point in the first place. Whatever decision you choose to make, it has to feel right to you.
So there you have it, my 5 key stages to choosing a designer. I hope this little framework helps you when you’re on the hunt for new branding. I’ll leave you with one final little point to consider – timelines. When do you want to launch your new branding, or website? Often the best branding designers are in high demand, so would you be willing to wait for your favourite to be free? Or are you in a rush and willing to compromise to get the job done quickly? I know what my approach would be, but every project is different, so the decision is yours.
Good luck with your branding journey!