As a creative entrepreneur, you know about the creative process. It's the way in which a project is laid out and the steps that are taken to get a specific project done. Every creative has their own process of doing things. This is true whether you're a photographer, event planner, stylist, blogger, crafter or designer. We all have a specific way we go about completing our tasks.
There is no one size fits all. Our processes may overlap, or have similarities, but they will never be the same. How you go about your process is personal and that's a good thing because it's what makes you unique! Your clients are hiring you because of your unique style, expertise, and qualifications. Which includes your creative process.
It is so important to communicate this process to your clients and ensure that everyone
- a) understands the project
- b) knows the deadlines and
- c) knows what's going to happen when and by whom.
I'm so excited to share my creative process for branding clients. The goal of this series is to help my clients understand what's going to happen during the life of our projects. Other creatives can use this to discover and communicate their process to their clients.
STEP ONE: PROBLEM DEFINITION
My first step in the process is always the problem definition. A client contacts me because they need something (aka branding). Clients won't always know what their problem is, and it's my job to help them through that. Often times clients recognize that something isn't working and needs updating. They will look for a designer that they both trust to solve their problem, along with someone who's work resonates with them.
Sometimes a client problem shows itself as different scenarios, such as:
"I'm not booking enough clients"
"I'm not selling enough products"
"I can't seem to book the right clients"
"I can't seem to find the people I know need my product"
"I can't seem to use my visual identity, I have no idea where to start"
These are all problems that can be solved with a strategic visual identity and branding system.
Through the inquiry and questionnaire phase, the client answers questions and fills out worksheets that help us both nail down what the exact problem is. This helps both of use figure out what the wants, needs and goals are for the project.
An important part of the branding process is the questionnaire phase. All clients fill out various types of questionnaires to determine their audience, values and brand voice.
This is one of the most important phases for me as a designer because it allows me to get a better understanding of what their current problems are, where they want the company to be, and who they want to sell things to.
Getting my clients to nail down these things is SO IMPORTANT for determining their visual identity.
I'm always available to help my clients through these first two steps, helping give them insight when they need it from an outside perspective. The consultation is where it all comes together. We work through their questionnaire answers and come up with keywords, phrases, and outlines for their visual identity. During this time, I also answer any questions or concerns to ensure we're both on the same page.
After all the initial work from the client is completed, my work starts to begin! We've defined the problem, explored their goals and audience, and moved onto the research phase.
During this part, I take away everything the client has completed this far, along with what we've talked about during the consultation, and start more research. I look into their existing brand to see what's working, what isn't, what's helping them achieve these goals we've just determined, and what is actually hurting them.
I then look into their competitors, and see what they are doing differently, who their audience is, and what kind of visual look they have (and how that may or may not be working for them). I also use this time to research some of those keywords we came up with and determine some visual elements that would help represent those.
My favourite places to go for inspiration is Pinterest, Behance, and dribble.
TAKE-AWAYS FOR YOU:
- Always define the problem. If you don't know what the problem is, then how are you going to solve it?
- Go through a branding questionnaire to help you determine the problem and establish goals for a project.
- Re-search what others are doing. How can you do it differently? What are elements that aren't working for them and how can you change it to work for you.