You’ve set up an awesome business, everything is in place, you’ve got a logo you made on Canva because it’s cheap and does the job. Business goes well, your customers keep coming back because your product is the best and your customer service is second to none, but does your brand reflect that? Nope, it probably doesn’t!
This is where working with a graphic designer comes in, and it can be a daunting yet essential decision to further improve the growth of your business and ensure new customers know you’re going to offer them the very best. This is what your brand does for you; it acts as the very first touching point to your business and is vital to leaving a good first impression with potential new customers.
Here’s ten things that I’ve found are essential talking points when starting a new branding project. I make sure all of these points are discussed with my client before any design work starts, but if you need a heads up then these are important points to consider:
- “How much will it cost?“
It might seem simple enough at first, the designer tells you it will cost ‘£500 for a re-brand and a new logo’. Sounds good to you. But what about the small print? Do they require a deposit? Are there any potential fees? It may be that only a certain number of revisions are included in the initial price, or perhaps printing costs aren’t included – be sure to check before agreeing to anything.
Make sure you read all the information your designer gives you – check over their website and ask to see their terms and conditions. Also, beware of designers that will create your branding for £50 – there is only so much time that can be put into a project for £50 (i.e not very much) and, even then, it won’t be done to a good standard – professional designers simply don’t work for that little.
- “What will I receive from you?”
Be sure to ask how many versions of your logo you’ll receive and what the files types will be. A good brand should have at least two versions of the logo, supplied in a variety of file types including a vector file so that it can be used anywhere. Don’t worry if you can’t open any of the files the designer sends you, they are probably made by professional design software so can only be opened by the designer or any other designer you may work with in future. You should also receive some kind of brand additions, such as a colour scheme (including Hex, RGB and CMYK colour values) and on-brand font suggestions. Know what you’re getting before you agree to a price.
- “Who will be working on my brand?”
This is more of a question to ask an agency or design studio with multiple employees, but an important question nonetheless. Working with one designer has it’s upsides; they will be your point of contact throughout the project and will be the one putting your requests into place. With an agency or design studio your brand may be passed between individuals or even outsourced to another designer at an inflated fee. However, having multiple people working on a project does mean they will bring more ideas to the table, so it’s not all bad.
Another point to be aware of here is that many graphic designers refer to themselves as “we” and hide behind an unregistered business name (e.g Happy Lemon Designs) to give the impression that their business is larger than it is, when in fact it is just an individual designer working from their bedroom. It really doesn’t matter if you’re working with an individual designer who works from home or a designer from a big agency team, so long as they’re good at what they do and can create quality work that’s all that matters.
- “What do you need from me?”
Less of a question and more of a consideration for you to think about – what will your designer need from you to ensure your brand turns out right for your business?
Here’s a short list of things to prepare and think about before anything else:
> What are your brand values
> How do you want to make your customers feel
> What do you need your brand to do for your business
> Why do you need a brand – are you starting from scratch or do you need an update
> What is it you don’t like about your old brand / what does your old brand fail at
> Who is your target audience
> Who are your closest competitors
> What will your logo be used for (shopfront signage, website, packaging, etc)
> How did your business start
> What aspirations or plans do you have for the future
Considering all of this beforehand will go a long way to ensure that your graphic designer will be armed with a range of valuable information to ensure they can create a great brand that works hard and does everything it needs to.
- “Will I own the designs?”
This is very important to any business. Make sure you receive something in writing that states that you will own the copyright of any designs and logos following payment to the designer, especially if you plan to register it in any way.
- “Where are you based?”
Check over the designers website or social media pages for a location, address, or telephone number. If a business hides any of this information then there is a good chance they are doing that for a reason. You need to be sure that you can contact your designer easily by phone and receive good service from them when you need to. Also, if you’re a small or local business you may want to work with a local designer who knows the area or may already be familiar with your business.
- “What experience do you have?”
You wouldn’t let an inexperienced builder loose on your home, so why should it be any different with a graphic designer and your business? Ideally, a designer with a qualification in graphic design or an impressive portfolio built over multiple years’ in the profession (ideally both) is a good sign they know what they are doing.
Graphic design is a saturated profession these days; anyone can teach themselves Photoshop and then call themselves a graphic designer. You just have to post in a Facebook business networking group asking if anyone does logos and you will be inundated with responses. Everyone will claim that they are a professional and can do what you ask and so it can be very hard to separate genuine designers from the rest.
On that note, one of the key things to consider when pinpointing a professional is their price range – inexperienced designers or hobby designers will be cheap and offer unlimited revisions with a quick turnaround time, while experienced designers charge more and will spend much more time on your brand. Agencies will charge more than a freelancer because they have a larger team and more overheads to consider.
And then there’s Dave’s sister’s dog’s best mate from down the pub who will do your logo tomorrow for free, but we won’t even go there.
- “Can I see your portfolio?”
Check out the designers portfolio of work on their website – there should be a good variety of quality work presented here, and if not you may want to look elsewhere. Keep an eye out for testimonials from their previous clients, too. Be sure that the designers style or speciality suits your needs, because this is likely what you’re going to get. A good portfolio means good work, after all.
Now you’re ready and prepared to work with a graphic designer on your brand, hopefully the prospect is a little less daunting. Always remember, if there is anything you’re unsure about just ask – any professional will be happy to explain and give you an answer, no matter how many times they’ve been asked it before!