Whether you’re building a brand new business or rebranding an existing project, your business needs that expert touch to create a brand that works. But it seems like there are countless designers creating beautiful brands and offering comprehensive packages. How can you determine who will be the best fit for you?
I get it – the whole process can feel overwhelming! Creating a comprehensive brand is a big investment, and I want to make sure you love the outcome. I’ve walked through this checklist with many of my own clients, and I figured it was time to make it available to you, too. If you’re thinking about hiring a designer, here’s my tried-and-true method for finding that perfect fit.
Know yourself first.
Before you even worry about getting to know designers, take some time to clarify your own needs. Think of it as a quick internal audit. No matter who you hire for your branding, you’ll need clarity on your own business model and mission in order to give them a crystal clear picture of your company. Some questions to ask yourself:
- What do I offer? I know, this seems obvious, but I always urge my clients to take a second look. You’ll want to be clear about your products, packages, and services in your brand design, so you need to know what those are before you get started. Even if you’re a new business, it’s important to have your offer(s) nailed down before investing in a brand.
- Who am I serving? Clients need to trust you before they’ll buy from you. If you want sales, you’ve gotta know who you’re selling to! Who is your ideal client? What is their problem or pain point. Don’t worry about the ‘how’ yet, as brand strategy will help you with this. But DO have an idea of who they are so you can tell your designer.
- What are my values? A designer can help you clarify some of these specifics – but before you hit “send” on that inquiry, make sure you have a big picture plan rolling around in your head and ready to share with your designer. Ask yourself: what are my core values, in work and in my personal life? How do I express those values in my work?
- How do I communicate? All good brands have an identifiable voice – and yours should sound like you! Establishing the language around your brand and the tone you use in communication with your clients or customers is essential (and part of the brand strategy process). Come into the design process with an idea of how you will describe your brand voice. If your designer can get to know you through your brand voice, the process will be much, much easier.
If you’re not clear on these four areas of your business, it’s probably not time to hire a designer. Take a step back and dig into the big picture, jotting down your notes along the way.
Start swiping on socials.
Instagram and Pinterest are designers’ best friends, and they’re a fantastic place to start as you search for your perfect design fit. If nothing else, it will help you narrow down your style preferences. You can even build your own mood board or idea dump on both of these platforms. Don’t be shy – add everything from inspiring photos to preferred color palettes and fonts. Every detail you can hand over to a designer helps. And best-case scenario: in your search for the perfect aesthetic, you find the designer of your dreams! Most posts link back to a designer’s portfolio or credit their work, so an inquiry form is often just a click away.
Narrow the field.
Once a few designers have caught your eye, it’s time to bust out another checklist – but this one is for them. As you’re perusing sites or social media profiles, here’s what you should look for:
- A robust portfolio. You’ll definitely want to hire a designer with some branding chops, so check out their past work! It’s always a great sign when you see a wide range of work instead of just one style. When you see a diverse portfolio, you can rest assured that the designer is good at creating brands that fit their clients, not their personal tastes and preferences.
- A similar set of beliefs. Trust me on this one: you want a designer that gets you – and your worldview when it comes to business. There are endless philosophies out there these days, and if you’re approaching work in a totally different way than your designer does, chances are slim that building a brand together will leave you both happy. When you read your designer’s website, do you get the sense that they work the way you do? That’s a good sign to keep them in the running.
- Testimonials and reviews. Previous happy clients mean future happy clients! Look for testimonials from clients who love their new brand – bonus points if they highlight how easy it was to work with this designer, or that elements were delivered on time, every time.
Time to invest!
Notice that until now, I haven’t mentioned cost. That’s because price shopping truly won’t get you very far. If you want a cohesive, comprehensive brand, you will need to invest – but if you choose well, you won’t regret a single penny. Making a significant investment like this is always scary, but it’s worth it (if you’re financially able to take this step without significant worry).
Get a clear budget in mind ahead of time, and if all of your top designers are way out of your range, it’s probably best to wait until investing in a quality brand is feasible for you. I know, it’s tempting to take shortcuts and go with a cheaper option – but I’ll always stand by the “you get what you pay for” slogan in the world of design. When you reach out to a designer, make sure they have a solid timeline, a contract, and an invoicing plan before you commit. If they check off those boxes, then get ready for the brand of your dreams!
If you think I’m the designer for you – well, hi! So glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to hear about your branding dreams. Fill out this form and I’ll be in touch!