Every designer approaches this process differently, but good designers don’t just pull amazing ideas out of thin air. A lot of work goes into building a meaningful brand identity. These are the steps I take with each of my branding clients.
The first conversation I have with a branding client takes place during a free inquiry call. On this call, I explain what branding is, talk through the process, and educate them about things like color and fonts. This call sets the foundation of our work together and ensures that we have shared language about branding and a shared understanding of how we'll work together.
I have the client complete a questionnaire to gather information about their brand's personality, values, target audience, competitors, brands they admire, and more. I then dig into their responses and do my research to get a complete understanding of what we hope to convey in their brand identity.
Set the Mood
Next, I take everything I've learned and put together a mood board. A mood board is a way of expressing the ideas I've gathered through color combinations, imagery, typography, symbols, and other visuals. It helps establish a clear visual direction for the brand. I then present this digital mood board to the client to ensure we are on the same page.
Now, it's time for concept development. I begin by hand sketching and brainstorming ideas. Then, I transfer my best ideas to the computer, illustrating them digitally, adding color, and choosing typography.
I present the agreed-upon number of design concepts to the client, sharing not only the visuals but also the story behind each. I explain the reasoning for different artistic choices, the meaning behind symbols, and the logic behind the colors and typefaces selected. The client shares feedback in the meeting and then spends a week reflecting on the concepts and sharing any other edits and revisions on their preferred design.
There are generally two rounds of refinement in a branding process. During this part of the process, I make revisions and then present updated drafts to the client for feedback until we land on the final design.
At the final meeting, I deliver all of the final brand identity files as well as the brand identity guide. I explain the file types, how to download fonts if necessary, and how to use the brand guide to make sure the brand is consistently represented. I answer questions, offer referrals to other service professionals, and make sure that the client has all the support they need. If the project includes other deliverables like business cards, print materials, or a website, we then get to work on those pieces.
Wondering what this process might cost you? Freelancers charge anywhere from $500 to $5,000. Small firms will cost between $5,000 and $20,000. If you work with a large firm, you can expect to spend $30,000 to $80,000.
And that, my friends, is what it takes to create a brand identity that’s as meaningful as it is beautiful!