My Process from Start to Finish {Part 2: Branding}


Next up in my series about my process: branding! 

The simplest way to explain what branding is = how you present your business to the world. Many people think branding is just a logo and some colors, but it's much more than that. Branding encompasses the style, mood, and tone of your business: how you want your potential clients or customers to think and feel about your brand. 

So how do we make this happen? Much of it comes through the visual presentation of your brand.

If you don't already have a logo, I'll work to create one that matches your vision of your brand. We'll also discover a custom color palette that perfectly represents what you want to convey to your audience, and we'll match 2-3 fonts to your brand as well (yes, fonts actually say quite a bit about your brand!). 


TIMELINE: approx. 1-2 weeks

01. Mood board and branding questionnaire

The mood board for one of my clients

The first thing I do when starting the branding process is look at the Pinterest mood board my client created. (Find out more about how to make a mood board here.) 

When examining the mood board, I look for common themes:

  • What is the predominant color?

  • What other colors show up again and again?

  • What's the overall style?

  • What emotions do I feel when looking at the board?

  • How would I describe the general vibe I get from the pictures?

I also consult the branding questionnaire my client filled out before we started the project. I really pay close attention to the words they use to describe their business and how they picture their brand to be. 

After looking at the mood board and the questionnaire, I start to get an idea how the two can work together to develop a full-fledged brand. I'll then jot down some notes about my ideas in my client's file to refer to later when I start to flesh out the logo and other brand elements. 

02. Creative brief presentation

The brand creative brief for one of my clients

Once I feel like I have a good grasp of what my client is looking for, I'll write a creative brief, detailing my understanding of their business, who they're trying to attract in terms of clients or customers, who their competition is, how they're different from their competition, and any creative considerations I should take into account while developing their branding. 

I'll also create an edited mood board using images they pinned on their Pinterest mood board. I try to choose images that I feel are representative of the overall style of the board. 

Once the creative brief and edited mood board are complete, I have my client schedule a call (videoconference) with me to go over what I've come up with. In this call, I share my screen with my client so she can see what I'm presenting. :-) 

Together, my client and I take a look at the creative brief to make sure I'm on target. If I need to make any edits (to be honest, this is rare), I'll do it immediately in the actual document. We'll also look at the edited mood board to make sure I captured the right vibe for her business. If I left off a pic she feels is essential to understanding her vision, I'll go back and add it to the edited board. 

Once all of this is complete, I can (finally!) move on to creating the visual branding. :-)

03. Brand creation process

The logo design for one of my clients

When I'm creating a brand, I usually start with a rough idea of the color palette before moving into the logo design.

For instance, in the example here, I knew I wanted to use that shade of pink but I didn't know which colors would go with it yet. However, based on that pink, I started drafting the logo. 

I went through a few revisions of the logo design before I found the one I decided to go with. This is usually how it goes – after a few rounds, I gain clarification about what I want and refine the design until I feel it matches my client's business and what they envision for their brand. 

After the logo is created, I move on to the color palette. I'll start with the color(s) I used in the logo and then flesh out the palette from there, referring to the mood board for inspiration. I also take into account what the colors represent in terms of color psychology (see this post for more about that) and how the colors interact with each other based on a color wheel. Gotta make sure they all play nice! ;-)

After I have a solid idea of which colors I'd like to use, I start selecting fonts. Because my logo designs are text-based, I've already got a foundation for deciding which fonts to use.

Choosing fonts involves a lot more than just picking a couple of ones that look nice. There's a lot of consideration that goes into the process regarding the details of each typeface. A few of the things I consider when choosing fonts are: 

  • Are the strokes thick or thin?

  • Are they serif or sans serif or script?

  • Are they display typefaces or more suitable for body text?

  • Are the characters rounded or do they have sharp angles?

And of course, the fonts must complement each other – if they don't mesh well, then it's back to the drawing board! 

04. Brand presentation

A color palette from a brand presentation for one of my clients

The last step in my branding process is the brand presentation.

When I have the visual branding steps completed, I'll ask my client to schedule a call with me to go over the branding.

During the presentation, I go through everything I've created, starting with the mood board to refresh our memories about what inspired my process, then presenting the logos, color palette, and typography selections. I also go through my reasoning for making the choices I did. (Nothing happens by chance!)

At this time, my client can offer feedback – which, in my experience, has always been really positive! If any tweaks are needed, we can usually make them during the presentation. If I can't make them right then, I make a note about what changes need to be made so I can do it after the call. 

Once I get my client's approval on the branding, this part is done!

Next up in the series: COPYWRITING! To be continued . . . .