The ultimate guide to working with a designer Part 2: The design process

The ultimate guide to working with a designer Part 2: The Design Process. Learn how the process works after you hire your graphic or web designer

The Design Process

Each designer’s process is a little different and this is something that you can discuss in what is called the onboarding phase of the design process. For most designers the overall process is the same, it’s just the smaller steps in-between or how they deliver their proposals, questionnaires, or worksheets to you that may differ. You can take a peek at the questionnaire and worksheet I use with my branding clients by visiting the freebies section of my site.

Client onboarding may look like a form on website, a DM, an email, phone call or Skype to determine if you’re good match to work together. The designer will then determine if they can handle the scope of your project.

Discovery Phase

Once the contract has been signed and a timeline agreed upon you typically move on to the first actual phase of working together, which I call the discovery phase. This is where you’ll get homework assignments from the designer that can include a questionnaire and directions on pinning inspiration images to a Pinterest board. This phase will also likely include strategy sessions, mood board presentation, and questionnaire follow-up discussion(s) to make sure on they are on the right track with your vision and everyone is on the same page.

Design Phase

After the moodboard (a designery word for inspiration board) has been approved and everyone is confident that the project is moving in the right direction your designer will actually start designing :) For me this takes the form of an old fashioned #2 pencil and my sketch book. I draw and draw and draw some more. During this phase is where there will be logo concept presentations where you will be required to offer feedback. This part of the process can look different depending on how your designer works. Some designers will deliver multiple logo choices while others do a one design method, where they present one design fully realized. This can work amazingly well when there is a lot of collaboration during the discovery phase and designer truly has a grasp on what the client wants. After the concept(s) is delivered, feedback is given, then refinements to the concept will be made. This cycle continues based on the number of refinements/revisions that the contract states is included. If you have additional items (social media graphics, cover photos, profile photos…. Banners images… etc.) that are being designed they will also be presented during this phase.

Launch Phase

Get the champagne and plan the launch party. It's time to go LIVE with your fabulous new brand identity. During this phase you’ll pay the final invoice and the designer will deliver your final files based on the terms of your contract.  Most designers also include a style/brand guide. Some may call it the brand blueprint. This can take the form of a single page or multipage document that outlines everything about your brand in one succient place. You can hand this guide over to your web designer (if it’s someone different), your virtual assistant or anyone that will be creating content using your brand to ensure that all your visuals will be consistent.

Schew…. This is A. LOT. OF. INFORMATION…. But hey, you’re spending lots of money on hiring someone to create what is going to represent you and your brand, so it’s going to pay off to be well informed! So let’s wrap up this how-to with the final piece of the pie. If you want to be a rockstar client to your designer make sure that you give quality feedback. Download my free guide: How to give quality feedback to your designer.

So with part 1 of how to hire the right designer, plus part 2 on the design process AND the free guide to giving quality feedback, you are ready to get started on your new branding or re-branding project.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions!

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