Sometimes I work directly with the client, but more often, I work with or through an agency or marketing company, who provides the messaging, key attributes and design direction on behalf of their client. Either way, I don’t start designing until I have a clear idea of what the design should accomplish based on verbal and written instructions:
Key attributes. A list of 5 to 7 words that describe the essence of a company. A rehabilitation company’s key attributes might include compassionate, visionary, proven, empowering and aware. Once these attributes have been chosen and agreed upon, I design looks that reflect those attributes in a visual way.
Design direction. A more informal discussion of how the client and/or agency imagines the finished product. We might discuss brands the client likes or dislikes, what types of images might be appropriate, any constraints on the design, etc.
Messaging. Copy that helps convey the brand identity. In the branding design process, messaging might be as simple as a tagline or could be all the copy for the pieces designed. In the case of Ivinson Memorial Hospital, messaging was provided for the tagline, billboard copy, ad headlines and brochure titles and definitely drove the overall look of each design.
Items to be designed. This is a list of the materials to be included in the branding design. A start-up company should probably see a logo, website, stationery, brochure and maybe a powerpoint template. The key is to show enough different materials that the overall look and feel is clear and distinct and future materials can be visualized easily.
After the instructions are provided to me, the design process starts. I usually spend some time checking similar company’s brands, looking at stock sites to determine the kind of photos or illustrations I’d like to incorporate, and brainstorming ideas. Once I have two or three solid ideas, I start putting it all together. My goal is to give the client two or three design options that each convey the key attributes in a different visual way.
When working with an agency partner, I show my designs as they’re developed and get feedback along the way. Once the designs are approved, they’re ready to present to the client. I frequently provide foam core boards with print-outs of the materials, or I can send files as pdfs.
My contribution may be complete at this point, depending on your preference. I frequently hand over my InDesign files and links so that the actual production of each piece can be done by an in-house designer. Or I can stay on the job until each piece is delivered.
Please contact me if you'd like more information about branding design or if you have any further questions—I'd be happy to discuss your individual project with you.