As brand identity designers, a lot of us have learnt our fair part on how to get our first client, how to negotiate pricing and how to do all of the necessities but what we have hardly paid attention to is what happens after all of that.
The other day I came across this series called Building a Brand, by thefutur, It was such an insightful YouTube series explaining the ins and outs of how to build a brand from scratch. But again this was feasible to them as they are a design firm (blind) and can afford to have such an elaborate and well-planned process.
Curious about building a process for myself, I started applying some of those principles and practices on a smaller scale, in a “beginner freelancer dealing with a hasty client” scenario. I came up with a few tools, which if incorporated into your process let you create a more structured design process for branding.
The process that we will be looking into goes like this- Discover, Define, Design, Develop and Deploy. The tools we use for this process might change but the outline of the process itself won’t.
1) Google forms
As a designer, you need to ask as many questions as you can to try and figure out what exactly a client needs / wants and also know the difference between the two. Why is the client going for a rebrand? What is he trying to achieve? What exactly does his venture do? What is his target user base? Google Forms lets you effectively extract the answers to these key questions.
Moving forward we have to make sense of the answers given and move into the phase of Define. Understanding the clients’ needs this way will let you have a clear idea about your goals, articulate your vision, and create an effective plan.
2) Figma as a whiteboard
After collecting this data now its time for the designer to collate this data and make sense out of all of this and use a tool that will enable them to pull out insights and tangible design direction from the data synthesis.
Next comes the most exciting phase in the process and that is designing it. Let’s get our creative brains in motion. We begin this process by sketching and iterating on paper with a pencil.
3) Adobe Illustrator
Next, we hop onto Adobe Illustrator to start playing around with various iterations and slowly start edging towards our final result.
Pro tip: It’s good to give three options to the client because this allows him to say no to one without having to say yes to one.
Further after making the basic brand guidelines its time to mock it up because to a client it makes a lot of sense and is very easy to understand the entire identity in action rather than just seeing it on your presentations. Mocking it up in well thought out mockups will get them to buy the idea.
4) Adobe Photoshop
After making the brand outlook on illustrator we now go on to explore various mockups relatable to the client’s use case. So now we move into the areas of giving them a gist of how this brand will look in real-life applications.
Pro tip: Mockup their brand so that they feel really proud of it, maybe like a big logo on a wall. This will make them happy to see that we believe their brand is going to be big. And the happier they are the better it is for you.
Now that we are moving into the Develop step of the 5D process we now will have to move into innovative tactics and tools. It’s also a good practice to come up with strategies that are tailored to the client’s unique needs.
5) Keynote, Google Slides, PPT
It’s now time to not only take our designs to the client but to go ahead and show them some branding strategies and execution techniques to help them achieve the goal that they were initially doing this rebrand/branding for. So we put up a very well made pitch deck to first help them understand your designs and second, how you can roll out this new outlook in the most effective way.
Let’s get this project done and dusted with the final step of Deploy.
And it’s time to send in your finely-crafted work the client. Hmm, shouldn’t you be getting paid first? Yes, for sure.
6) Google Pay, Paypal
Using these platforms you can make sure that you get paid on time and request for pre-delivery payments as well as all your other payments like advances, milestones, etc. Well, easier said than done, we designers know how hard it is to get paid on time! More on that later ;)
Now to the final step.
7) Google Drive, Dropbox
Using these platform you can easily send to your client all the files you have been working on such that they are stored in the cloud and neither you nor the client really needs to have it all downloaded
Pro Tip: Invest in an exclusive hard drive, just to keep well-managed folders of different projects as well as client work. You never know when you will need it and it’s cheaper than paying for expanded cloud storage in 5 different platforms. Let’s say tomorrow you need to apply for a job and need a portfolio. You can look into this and curate related work.
We at Turtlewig, are building a platform for you to take care of everything you need to manage as a design freelancer, in just one place. We’re sure it’ll streamline your process so much you’ll wonder how you could work without it.