This blog post demonstrates in detail about my process of working with clients on Branding and Identity Design Projects. Please give it a read and always feel free to reach out to me here (Instagram) if you have any questions.
When I get a client enquiry, I usually take a call with them to understand the requirement, scope and budget. Most of the enquiries come in only after they have browsed through my portfolio, so proof of work or sample test work (which I never take) is usually not a part of this discussion. We discuss possible deliverables, payment plans and negotiate over the timeline in this call to find a middle ground. The call could take between 30-40 min.
After this call, I provide a rough estimate on the project budget. I usually get a green-light from client for the budget within a week's time. This sometimes requires follow-ups and maybe another call for the client to understand my process better. I also use this time period to gauge if the client and and I are a good fit for each other.
Onboarding is a clear process where I share a Terms and Conditions Document for them to sign along with an invoice for the advance payment. For all my clients I have a three-part payment plan where they give 34% in advance, 33% as second instalment and 33% as final instalment.
Only after an enquirer has made the advance payment and signed the documents are they considered official clients. Post the payment, I send them an invite for a discovery video-call and thank them for trusting me with their brand.
The most intense section of the whole process. I usually recommend my clients to have some beverage with them for this coz this session can last between 90-120 minutes.
Discovery is a long video call/in-person session held with client to understand their business, their problems, their growth plan in deep detail. Nothing is missed in this one. All brand attributes, vision and mission are juiced out here. The information gathered in this session forms the core for the design decisions to be made in the upcoming phases.
Based on Discovery and the research done after, words are turned into visuals in the form of a mood-board. This process can take upto two weeks.
At the end of the two weeks I usually present two different styles of design in the form of a visual mood-board to the client and request for feedback on what feels most on-brand for them. We pick apart portions of mood board that they really connect with and part that they don't. This is done over a video call and can last for an hour. At the end of this call we have a pretty good sense of (at least) brand colors and the style of typography we need to proceed with.
Logo, variations and other visual elements
Based on the mood-board and the client feedback on the same, we come up with two logo options. This also takes close to 2-3 weeks as the presentation to the client includes a complete logo site with many details such as logo variations, logo in different backgrounds, brand typography, brand photography, brand patterns etc., all of which are finalised at this stage.
Around this time the client makes the second instalment of the payment before we set up a call for presentation. The client is presented these options over a video-call or in person. Here we refer back to the discovery document and the mood-board to elaborate on why certain design decisions were made. If the options provided are not satisfactory, we go back into dissecting the mood-board more to get specific feedback on what the client really connects with and repeat the process of coming up with a new option for logo.
Once the client has approved every aspect of the brand design, I start building the brand guideline. Building the guideline could take close to a week and the call after lasts upto an hour. The brand guideline is highly important as the clients are supposed to share it with other creatives from a different domain, such as photographers or social media designers etc. for ease of process and for brand design consistency across platforms.
If the client has not chosen to take any additional services such as packaging design or web design, we move on to arrange a final handover call. But if they did take the services, then the brand guideline is prepared but not presented to the client.
The process is similar to the branding design but with lesser steps. For example, Discovery calls are shorter and more channeled towards what the goals with the website or packaging are. Similarly, the wireframe is shared instead of mood board for web design and so on.
The client is looped in on all stages of progress over multiple calls as the design progresses and we work through the feedback till completion. The client is provided pre-discussed number of free revisions and most of the time all design feedbacks are covered under the same. Sometimes, blissfully we get no revisions.
Because we already have the core of the branding sorted earlier, packaging design and web design can be completed at a fast pace but again that totally depends on how many items we are designing for packaging and how elaborate the website is.
Once the client makes the final instalment of the payment and approves all designs for final production, the final files are created and shared to the client through a drive link in a organised format to which the client has access for the next 90 days.
While the client navigates through their assets, website and the final files, they are welcome to reach out with any questions at any time and I revert to their concerns within 24-48hours.
You thought it's a goodbye after handover? Not a chance! Clients are offered an exclusive service of brand auditing every quarter where they can get design based growth tips and advice for a a very minimal sum over a call. Bonus: First Audit is free of cost!
And that’s all. Hope to see you on the other side where you are experiencing this instead of just reading. Looking forward to create a beautiful brand for you!