It's time to invest in a brand strategist to take your business to the next level and shopping around has become more of a hassle than you anticipated. How do you decide which brand designer is right for you and your business? Here are a few questions we recommend asking them (preferably over video or phone) to help your decision making a little easier:
5 Questions to Ask a Brand Designer
1. What is my time commitment as the client?
Building your brand foundations should be a team effort between you and the designer, and is most certainly not something you want to hand off and come back to when it's complete. If the brand designer is experienced, they'll have a solid idea of how many meetings their process involves and if there is any extra time required on your end for misc. tasks or homework.
From Flourish: Our clients meet with us for 45 minutes each week within our six-week process, and there's an hour's worth of homework due on meeting 3.
2. What does your process entail?
There are certain topics that should be covered before hopping into design work, such as your core messaging, values, brand traits, and target customer. Ask the brand designer if there's a meeting agenda so that you can be sure that the end result is an educated one.
From Flourish: We have a six-week process that is broken down as such:
Meeting 1: WHY, core messaging, brand beliefs.
Meeting 2: Target demographic.
Meeting 3: Competitor Analysis
Meeting 4: Brand mood board and logo concepts.
Meeting 5: Brand reveal.
3. What makes you different?
Pay attention to the time it takes for your brand designer to answer this question. If they're meant to help you distinguish yourself amongst other brands, they should have a confident answer as to what sets them apart from other designers. It may be their process, their background and formal education, or their aesthetic.
From Flourish: We design lifestyle brands from the inside, out. There are two differentiating factors within this statement: 1. we don't even think about touching the "outside" of your brand (logo, colors, fonts) until we have a solid understanding of your "inside" (purpose, messaging, target customer), and 2. we don't make business look pretty, we build lifestyle brands. Our process simultaneously educates business owners on how to think from a value-based perspective when it comes to making connections through messaging.
4. Why do you do this?
Because it's uncommon to be formally educated in brand strategy, there's a likelihood that your designer started on a different career path before this. Do a little digging with their history and learn more about their background and the true reason they've decided to shift to brand strategy. Previous backgrounds in marketing, graphic design, or communications are bonus points in our book.
From Flourish: We believe that people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Every brand we help flourish learns to lead with their why statement; their reason for existing. If you don't understand the value and impact you have on your target customer, you're likely to get stuck in a "sell sell sell" mentality that will never make those deep, personal connections that build trust and legitimacy (online or off).
5. What do I leave our process with?
This answer could mean the difference between coming out of this process with clarity or coming out with confusion. Ask if/how your designer is capturing all of the conversations needed for design work, and be sure that you receive all of your live files. You should receive all brand marks in hi-res vector, .pdf, and .png format. All collateral should be in its original .ai, .ps. or .in format. Any fonts used or recommended in your brand package should be purchased properly and sent to you as well. Not having these live files will result in you having to tap the shoulder of your designer (and pay them hourly) to make any edits in the future.
From Flourish: Our clients leave our process with a Visual Brand Guide as well as a How-to Booklet on how to implement all of the discoveries we've made over the six weeks. All live files and fonts are handed over to the client for them to use however they wish.