Why my design process doesn't start with design

I’m sure you know that if you had a hundred different designers make a logo for your business, you would have 100 different logos. Why? Because design is an open-ended creative process. Each person will have their own ideas, style, and approach to designing a logo. More than that, it’s subjective; what might look great to some people is unappealing to others.

Because of this, it can be unnerving to hire a designer to create a logo — or anything visual — for your business. How do you know that the investment will result in a final product that you actually like? What if you wait and wait to see your logo… and it falls flat? Or it comes out completely different than what you pictured?

Honestly… I feel the exact same way. Yes, even as a designer! There’s nothing I hate more than spending my hard-earned money on an unknown product. That’s why I don’t want you to feel that way either.

The fact is, designers can’t read your mind! Knowing what you imagine for your logo and what kind of design will best serve your business involves a lot of good old-fashioned communication. And that’s why my design process doesn’t start with design. In fact, I won’t even pull out my sketchbook until at least a week into our time working together. 

Imagine if you were known among your circle as being a great baker. One day you get a text from a friend: “Hey, can you make a birthday cake for my cousin’s kid’s party? Thanks!” Do you pop up, run to your kitchen, and start sifting together flour and sugar? No! How on earth would you know what sort of cake to make?

What flavor does your cousin’s kid like? Are they a boy or a girl, and how old? Does the party have a theme? How many people will be eating the cake, and does anyone have dietary restrictions? When is the party? The fact is, you need answers to all these questions in order to even begin planning this cake.

My branding process starts with asking these questions, except for that instead of pertaining to a cake, we’re talking about your logo. And because your logo will last you a lot longer and be seen by many more people than that birthday cake, this part of the process is even more imperative.

This is what I like to call the Discovery Phase. In this first step, I essentially interview you about your business, your goals, and your vision for rebranding. We’ll also talk about how the story of your business and your objectives for your rebrand translate into some key visual characteristics. That’s a bit more abstract than cake flavors and birthday party guest count, so here are some examples of what that looks like:

  • What are a few big goals you have for your business? How do you think you will expand in the future?
  • What are the desires and aspirations of your ideal customer?
  • Who are some of your business competitors?
  • Where do most of your customers hear about you?

Because your logo is at the center of your brand and represents your business to your customers, it’s important to get it right. This means more than having a visual impact; it means that it resonates with your target audience and signals your product’s value & good reputation. In order to do that, we start the design process communicating the goals & expectations of your rebrand and discovering the path forward to a logo that will serve your business, and that you’ll love.

Read more about the full process of developing a logo from beginning to end!

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