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All great companies need an identity, conveying this visually is key in communicating the vibe the business is trying to convey. Unfortunately like everything else, it doesn’t always work out exactly how we imagine. Therefore, we need to adopt a strict and disciplined design process to make the activity runs that much more smoothly. In this post, we will take a look at an alternative way of doing things, and walk you through the process of creating an identity from concept to delivery.
First things first, what is a process? A process is a series of steps taken to achieve a particular goal. In the branding world, it’s the steps required to transform an idea into reality, thus bringing your concept to life.
1. The First Client Meeting
Client meetings vary hugely depending on the client, project, deliverable etc. but the initial meeting is a good opportunity for both the designer and the client to show some of their personality. It is a also good opportunity for you, the designer, to show your professionalism, knowledge and instill confidence in the client that they have made the right decision coming to you.
It always helps to do your homework going into a client meeting, researching the business, their social media presence, products, projects etc. so you have a decent idea of what the company stands for and a rough idea of their personality. This also allows you to steer the conversation in different direction to find out more about the business and the task at hand while letting the client know that you care about the identity you are about to create for them.
Talk about your process and discuss the budget, if this is not a good fit it is good to get it out of the way right off the bat and save everybody some time. Talking about the process enriches the conversation and shows you, the designer, in a better light. Always remember to take notes during the meeting, otherwise essential pieces of information will get lost.
2. The Debrief
The next step is usually to assess what exactly happened during the meeting. Look over your notes, clear the air and see what additional information you might be able to dig up on the project. This is a good time to do this now that you have a background on the company and the task at hand, while it is still fresh.
3. The Proposal or Creative Brief
The aim here is to be as clear as possible because this document will serve as a guiding path for the project, if you need reassurance that you and your client are on the same page, show them the brief and make sure you are in agreeance.
If the next step is a proposal, you need to cover:
- Team or personal presentation
- Your services
- Case studies of some of your best work
- The client’s project scope of work
This may vary depending on the client. It is always good to reiterate the scope of work with the client at this point, thus what your proposed quote covers. This is a good time to remind them that any additional jobs are not included in the current scope of work and they will need to be discussed separately.
4. Contract / Agreement
It is always a good idea to draft up a contract upon approval of the proposal and take a deposit before starting any creative work, this will cover you incase the client goes quiet on you for some reason and the job is aborted.
5. The Creative Process
Start by creating mood boards, this will clarify the visual direction which you are working in. Use brainstorming to pour out all of the predictable and mundane idea that initially pop into your head, this will free up space to leave the creative juices start to flow. Then we turn these ideas into sketches, the goal being to turn ideas to visuals in a quick fashion, eliminating the non runners. It’s always a good idea to check in with the client at this stage, showing them the low fidelity sketches, and informing them of the various design directions you are exploring. Welcome and encourage constructive critisism.
I would usually choose 3 concepts to explore further in the digitization phase. Each of these will be designed in both colour and black and white versions. Once the client receives the PDF of the proposed digital logos, you’ll get the chance to agree “one” proposal for further development/iterations. Make sure every little detail is as it’s supposed to be and there are no hidden surprises like ligatures or spot colours. There will be some back and forth at this point beofre getting final sign off. Once the logo has been signed off I would prepare a presentation showing some applications, such as business card, letterhead, clothing, whatever suits.
When handing over make sure everything is neat and tidy. Presenting the logo in a folder with small,medium and large jpegs, pngs and a PDF, along with the.ai and .eps files. The guidelines manual should also be designed at this time, and would commonly include Logo Variations, Spacing and safe zones, colour palette, imagery use and typography (this can be dealt with in a lot more detail if needs be.)
This process is just the tip of the iceberg, but we hope it gives you a more strengthened sense of discipline and streamlines the creative process for you. At Babelfís we’re constantly trying to improve the way we do things, and this process is constantly evolving so play with it and see what works best for you!