You’ve spent the past few months scrolling Pinterest, pinning drool-worthy brand boards that grab your attention and, let’s be honest, make you a little jealous. You know you need to make your brand look more professional and use colors and fonts that reflect who you are, but how exactly do you do that?
You’re thinking about working with a brand designer—someone who creates visual brands all day every day. Well, except for quick trips to refill her oversized coffee mug. (Decaf, please!) Before you work with one, there’s some important homework to do.
Stop scrolling Pinterest, and answer these four questions first.
1 | Can you articulate the purpose, value, and vibe of your business?
The key to designing a truly unique brand that will stand out in your industry—Being able to clearly articulate the heart and soul of your business. It doesn’t mean that you need to know what this looks like visually, but you must be able to communicate what you’re all about, why you’re doing it, and what you want people to know about you. Describing your business with passion and clarity is the vital foundation for your designer. If you can only describe your business in vague or general terms, your visual brand will also be vague. When your brand is blah, your business (and sales) could be too. To get started, set aside 30 minutes to brainstorm and write out all the words and feelings that you want customers to think of when they land on your website or see your product. Next, whittle down your list to 20 or so keywords.
2 | Who’s your ideal client?
When you have a clear understanding of exactly the type of client you want to work with, you can speak directly to them with your branding and attract the right people for your business. It’s not enough to say that your ideal clients are “women” or “millennials.” Those categories are way too broad, and you can’t be all things to all people. Get specific: Maybe your ideal clients are college-educated women who are 24-30, make $100,000 per year, live in a major US city, and spend all their extra money on mimosas and manicures. Take the time to do some research, talk to your current or previous clients, and pay attention to conversations on social media. What you’re listening for here are the actual things your potential customers say. Write these statements down; this is branding gold!
3 | Are you ready to collaborate?
Hiring a brand designer doesn’t mean that you have to come to the table with specific ideas, colors, and fonts so that someone can just throw together some digital files for you. If that’s what you’re looking for, there are lots of talented graphic artists who can do exactly that. Great brand designers are experts at listening to and working with you. They have years of education, experience, and intuition, which is exactly why you want to work with them.
Most people find this to be a huge relief because they have all these thoughts and ideas swirling around in their head but don’t know how to pull it all together and tell a visually appealing story. They often feel like nobody could possibly make sense of all their messy and scattered thoughts. I promise it’s possible.
A collaborative relationship with a brand designer takes trust, communication, and a lot of honest back-and-forth conversation to create an effective visual brand. It’s also about respecting and valuing each other’s expertise. Your brand designer will ask you lots of questions because you are the expert on your business and she wants to understand as much as she can to design the best brand for you. Know that these are the right questions, and remember that you also hired her for her expertise, so keep an open mind to her recommendations and trust the process.
4 | How much time can you commit to the branding process?
Some brand designers will create over a several month period, in which case you’ll probably only hear from them once every week or two. But many design over a much shorter timeframe—anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. This usually means you’ll be in contact at least every couple of days, and at certain points of the project, often several times a day. Know ahead of time what your designer expects so that you can block time on your calendar accordingly. You don’t want to book your designer and then plan to be on a remote island vacation without Wi-Fi for two weeks in the middle of the process.
Working with a brand designer should be fun, and it should feel good—this is your brand that you get to create together!
What other questions do you have about hiring a brand designer? I’d love to chat about them. Get in touch!
If you’re ready to look like the pro you are so you can grow your business with confidence, you might like my signature Just-for-You Branding Package.