Behind the scenes of my designing process

Behind the scenes of my designing process vol 01.

Branding, Design

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Aug 21, 2020

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Behind the scenes of my designing process

If you’re like me, you like to know every detail before hand and you like self educating. This article is to give an insight of my designing process for branding. So maybe you’re a potential client who’s been eyeing my work, or a designer that’s looking for inspiration on things they can implement in their own process. Then this read is for you.

|Read on my process for website designs here.

I have a specific procedure I like to follow when it comes to my projects and clients. Part of my mission is to provide a friendly and excellent client experience. Every project is different from the next, but in the end the client walks away 100% satisfied.

My process goes as followed:

inquite & connect

CLIENT APPLICATION CONTACT FORM

Anyone who is interested in working with me will fill out my contact form on my website. This is also the first impression that a potential client is serious. 

Once they fill out the form and submit it to me, they receive a confirmation email with my welcome pack attached. I encourage potential clients to go though this while they wait to hear back from me personally (within 48 hours). So far, clients have been extremely grateful for this little guide as it has everything they will need to know about working with me, the process and what they can expect. It will also probably answer any questions a client may have. 

Once I touch base with them and discuss further about their inquiry, we determine if we’re a good fit. If we both agree to move forward, a proposal, contract and invoice is then forwarded to the client. They will sign the contract, pay the deposit (50%) through the invoice and then their project and date is officially confirmed in my schedule. Yay!

I manage projects, contracts and invoices in my CRM tool called Dubsado.

I do offer payment plans and ask clients if this is something they will need. This is information I need to know before crafting an invoice.

discovery and strategy

strategy session

All projects begin with strategy and direction. A brand can’t thrive or become successful otherwise. Each client is given the option for a video call, voice call or email (some clients are shy and that’s okay) to discuss their brand, goals, vision and clientele. Of course anywhere they are stuck or have questions or are unsure of something, i provide my knowledge and support to guide clients through this process. For example, some clients have came to me and were unsure of who their ideal clients were or was unsure on how to attract their ideal client. This stage of the project is to make sure the client is 100% sure and confident about things like that. We dive deep in the who’s, why’s, what’s and how’s.

HOMEWORK– pinterest board and questionnaire

Clients are given homework to complete that is due on the morning of our project start date. This homework is for me to get a better look into their business and long term goals. I provide a questionnaire. This will have questions to get the client really thinking. What they do, what are they trying to accomplish with the brand, how they help their customers, how they are different, what are their values, goals etc. If I have any additional questions I always forward them over to the client.

Learning this information helps me get a better understanding of exactly what the story behind the brand is, and the message they are trying to portray.

The more I know about a client and their business, the more meaningful designs will be.

I also get my client to create a Pinterest board and pin up to about 35 images of colors, fonts, patterns, other brands, imagery, etc that inspires or resonates with them.

Moodboard

A mood board is presented to the client after their homework is complete and submitted.  I will go back and forth on taken notes, the questionnaire, Pinterest board and my own research to carefully curate a moodboard. A moodboard provides a vision of the style and mood of the brand. It is made up of aesthetics such as imagery, fonts, colors, etc.

This is just for direction purposes and is not the final choices of the brand (like the fonts or colors).

DESIGN

The moodboard was just for direction and to make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to the overall style and mood of the brand. From the homework and moodboard, I start to provide imagery direction, typography selections, custom illustrations, etc. These will be used for the brand.

It’s probably obvious that I like to get creative and show a client my skills, so even draft designs are presented in a beautiful manner. Im pretty extra like that☺️.

In the design process, there is a lot to it and my clients just sit back and watch me work at this point. During the process, I always keep my client updated and in the loop. Always checking in, and presenting designs for proof and approval before going onto the stationary designs and any add in’s included in the project. I also provide zoom videos for tutorials and to forward large amount of information.

I like to do things in a specific order so that the process is smooth and easy. I’m giving you a complete detailed BTS of how I go about landing on my designs and in what order.

Everything designed was referenced from the initial inquiry, the homework, my own research and the moodboard.

COLOR PALETTE

The first thing I craft up is a color palette. My color palettes can be anywhere from 4-6 colors (sometimes more but rare). The color selection is one of the easiest steps in the process. I usually present multiple (usually 3-4) color palettes for my client to choose from.

Let’s clarify, That’s 3-4 different palettes, not 3-4 colors.

TYPOGRAPHY

One of my favorite steps in the design process is deciding on typography selections. I love learning and using new fonts and have a fun time playing around with them. I like to explore widely when it comes to font selection. I’m quite organized and have my own file of fonts and I’m always on the search for more. Links to required licenses for typography are forwarded to the client. When it comes to how I choose and select fonts for clients, I often turn to Google Font, Adobe’s Font or the creative market. Sometimes I’ll even tweak or create a custom font.

When it comes to typography chosen for the logo design, I’m a strong believer that even small touches can make or break an entire brand. Especially if you don’t select a typography that suites the overall design well. Something that may not seem like much (such as the positioning and the layout) can actually make a logo go from looking like “it’s getting somewhere” to “NOPE” within seconds. Luckily, I have a good eye for these things.

This includes color choices too! Sometimes I may swap a color or two (with clients approval) but this is rare. 

LOGO

When designing the logo’s, I often start with several sketches on paper or digitally on my iPad with procreate. I usually make several variations and options and then narrow them down to a selected few – usually 3 variations. Often, I always have a hundred idea’s pop in my head and I try to get them all down on paper or my iPad. If I sketch a design on paper or my iPad, I will have to finish it on adobe illustrator. All of my designs are edited and formatted on my Mac, as it allows for more tweaks and settings.

I present the logo variations to the client for review before proceeding to the next step. They will pick one of the main logo designs and then I’ll work on the alternate logo and submark. Sometimes revisions are needed and sometimes a client is satisfied on the firstt round (yay!).

All logo designs are presented in black and white and will also be designed in color variations. Color is only designed after the clients approval of the black and white designs. A habit is to try to use no more than 2-3 colors from the palette for the logo color.

As the brands visual’s identity comes together, I start curating a final mood board. This moodboard is a moodboard if their actual brand and something they can use and reference back to, as the other one was just for direction purposes. Imagery, chosen color palette, patterns, typography and logo is neatly displayed on the mood board and these will be the brands aesthetics.

refine & expand

refinements

Clients are given 2 rounds of revisions. All assets are then presented to the client together, and I allow the clients to provide feedback on whats working and what isn’t. If a client wants revisions, I’ll make the needed changes and fixes to whatever the client desires and then send it over again to the client for approval.

STATIONERY DESIGNS AND ADD ONS

Any stationery designs or add ons requested by the client will then be designed after clients approval of all other designs mentioned above. This part is pretty easy, straightforward and fun, since we already know the direction and identity for the brand by this stage.

FINALIZING 

I send clients a “finalize release” form for them to sign and agree on the designs before I start to wrap things up and format the files. They will sign this release form if they are happy with the over all brand and the designs. This is usually done after the color palette, typography, illustrations and logo has been selected and designed.

Once everything has been designed and approved by client, it is now time to finalize everything and get them ready for presentation on high quality mockups and the final moodboard with the brands aesthetics.

I’m very specific when it comes to the final design. I go over it 100 times making sure it is right. I like to to be absolutely sure about a design and I want to make sure the client gets everything they visioned. It’s true that I could spend a whole day sitting down and revising designs.

Did I mention I like to be creative ?

I always use mockups and stock photos during my design process for presentation purposes. It gives me and the client a point of view from the outside. Presenting designs in these ways allows me to also see which mockups are best used for the brand as well. This also helps so I can provide the best suggestions and resources.

When I show a client designs for approval, I also include a short video/PDF explaining my reason behind the choices of the designs and selections.

I present designs to my client via my CRM tool (Dubsado) or email.

FORMATING

The final step after presenting the final moodboard and getting that positive feedback from the client, is formatting. I format the files and organize folders to hand over to the client. The final deliverables will be sent in a zip folder, neatly organized, via google drive or email with a link to the folder on google drive. Once client is happy and all is well, a client may submit feedback. I may include this somewhere on my website.

I provide PNG (Both solid and transparent), JPG, PDF and ESP files. I also provide RGB and CYMK color files for both print and web use. Clients can request additional formats if needed. All files are given in both web and print version (72dpi and 300 dpi).

All the designs are ready and final payment is made(if it hasn’t been already) before handoff.

deliver

USEFUL DOCUMENTS

My clients are always left with pretty PDF’s with a personal customized brand styling guideline. This includes details such as color HEX codes, typography information, how to use your brands elements, etc. Resources and tools for launch are also provided.

I also share my personal knowledge with growing your business and how NOT to use your brand elements.  

SUPPORT AFTER HANDOFF

After everything has been delivered to the client, I don’t end the communication just yet. Even their client portal remains active for an additional 4 weeks after project end date. My clients can keep comfort in knowing I stick around for 1:1 support for an additional 30 days, should they have questions. I don’t want to send a client on their way with their designs and just cut all communication. After all, we did just spend the last few weeks working together.

I offer my support and advice to clients who need it and they’ve always been grateful for it.

If clients need additional support that exceeds my standard free support, or need on going services, they are given a discount on these services.

I’ve only had about 36 projects (Small and big), As HelloMisha only launched in early 2020. However, so far the journey has been great and I look forward to creating more meaningful brands!

Hellomisha was EST in 2020 but the talent was born in 1993.

Bonus!

GIFTS

So, in my inquiry form I have two optional fields. One is address and one is their favorite coffee shop, flowers Or wine. Now, since my services don’t require anything to be shipped, I don’t need an address. However I put this field so that clients can leave me thier address if they want to. Why? Provided a client doesn’t put me through hell (giggles), or takes advantage of my kindness and understanding, I will GLADY mail them a gift simply for being an amazing client. 

The gift is half a surprise as you can guess with the question in the field. However, I do learn a few things about clients during our time together and I most likely will add a second gift of something they would like.

So far, I’ve gifted every single client 😉 

I WANT TO GIVE A LITTLE INSIGHT ON THE TOOLS I USE DURING MY DESIGN PROCESS –

My toolbox is quite handy. I use a hand full of tools when it comes to my designs including hand sketching when an idea pops up in my head at random.

For drafts, designs and formatting, I use procreate on my iPad, and adobe suite on my Mac. Transitioning between multiple programs/apps to get the perfect end result. 

I’m a very dedicated designer, so I spend lots of time and effort on designs, often exploring ways I can add or remove features to give it a better appearance. Once I’m happy with what I’ve come up with I’ll take that piece for final touch ups and edits in adobe photoshop or illustrator (good for typography aswell).

You can actually see all the tools I use to run my business here.

I’m curious, designers what are you using ?!

As you can see, I’m passionate about my business and enjoy making a clients experience a memorable and easy one.

Well, there you have it. A peep inside my process and toolkit 🙂 and if you found this helpful would you do me a favor and pin it to share with your friends ?

pin with me !

other posts you might like:

5 Favorite Elegant Fonts Vol 01.

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