Finding your branding designer soulmate

It may be that time in your business path when you want a little branding spruce-up. You've been searching and pinning, searching and pinning, and you've decided on how you want your new logo to look. The only thing is, you don't have a graphic design bone in your body, and you don't know how to tell a designer just what you want.

I know a lot of people struggle with this; they have a gorgeous idea, but can't quite get it onto paper, and through the medium of email, it can be tricky to tell someone just what you're envisioning. As a designer (and I know this is naughty), but I have my favourite clients. The ones who have obviously been working with designer-y people for a long time, and know just how to communicate and get what they want. So, I thought I should give some pointers to the ones who are wanting to re-brand, but don't know how to hire a graphic designer.

Finding your soulmate in branding design

The first (and the most important) step is finding a designer who can give you what you want, and more. They speak your visual language, and just get it. Have a trawl through social media, get in contact with that brand stylist whose designs you love. Ask other businesses who created that beautiful logo of theirs, and get in contact. It's all about finding your design soulmate, and that can take some time. (Let me save you some time, I'm right here!)

Rates, time and contracts

Any graphic designer worth their bob should be straight with their rates and contract details from the get-go. Ask in the first enquiry email what their rates are, whether you need to pay a deposit, how long they plan on working with you, and anything else you're unsure of if it's not on their service page (in my opinion, it really should be). I love it when people are serious about working with me, it gives me some reassurance that this person is wanting to work together and doesn't just want something pretty to put on Instagram (this happens more than you'd expect!).

Telling them what you want

After the contracts been read and agreed to, deposits have been paid and the designer is ready to start, it's time to tell them exactly what you want if you haven't done so already. Take some time in putting a mood board together images that encapsulate your brand and why you've chosen them. 

This is a major help, but it's best to avoid putting other's branding in there, as it can hinder the designer's view. 

If you've hired them because you're obsessed with their own work, send them screenshots of designs they've done in the past that you love, and what parts you particularly like. Of course, you can't expect a designer to do an exact replica of another logo they've done with your company name, copyright laws and the just plain-being-a-decent-human-being law say no to that. The same goes to sending other artist's work and demanding an replica. That's not cool.

Keywords are also a great help in addition to mood boards, but only when they actually make sense. Saying 'welcoming' or 'gorgeous' doesn't really narrow it down. 'Strong', 'smooth', 'flowing' is a bit better. 'Light', 'heavy', 'sharp', 'clean' may not sound like they would make much sense, but they do to us! Words can change a whole identity so be careful and considerate when thinking of them. 

All of this depends on how your designer works, however. I have quite a regimented way of working with a client, and will ask them for all of this before the start date of the project. I give them 'homework' before they book their project slot that ranges from a branding questionnaire full of thought-provoking questions, and steps on how to create a secret Pinterest board + collaborate it with me so I can see all their imagery. That way, I can review it with them and really understand what they want before we start, so we waste no time. 

If things don't go the way you were expecting

In all honesty, I'm yet to experience a client being unhappy with their new identity. I never want to be in the situation, but I know it happens when communication isn't great and both parties haven't listened. It's best to avoid this calamity all together by listening to your designer as well as being stern in what you want, but if things do get rocky, check your contract. The contract is there for both of you. Also, talk to them. Say what you want changed exactly, and try to sort the situation before it gets messy.

I hope that's made the process seem a little less daunting to you all. If you're still stuck, 'How To Style Your Brand'  by Fiona Humberstone is a great reference to have, even if you know you want to hire a designer. There's a whole section dedicated to it.

Also, if you missed that huge hint above ^, we offer a branding service for small business owners, entrepreneurs and bloggers. We're dedicated to creating some beautiful, stand-out-from-the-crowd identities for you, and we'll work together to create something outstanding. You can get more details here on our service page, as well as see past clients.

brandingLola Hoad