Now Most Freelance Designers When They Get Into Freelance For The First Time They Wing It In Terms Of Their Processes And That Certainly Is Something That I Did For The First Couple Of Years When I Had A Design Project I Would Just Jump Straight Into It And I Wouldn't Have Any Set System.

Now I Knew What I Was Doing And I Knew How To Design My Logos Or My Brochures But I Wasn't Following Any Kind Of Process And Then After Around About The Second Year I Realized That I Really Wasn't Moving The Needle In My Business So I Started To Ask Some Questions About Okay Well What Do I Need To Do And The First Thing That I Came Up With Was That I Needed To Start Documenting My Processes.

The First Area That I Started With When It Came To Documenting My Processes Was Within My Strategic Brand Design So I Want To Go Through My Design Processes Today And That Will Help You To Think About Your Own Processes And Then To Start Thinking On The Larger Scale About Your Own Business And About The Processes As A Whole Within Your Business




Now If You're Building A Strategic Brand You Will Have Built Your Brand Strategy By The Time You Get To Designing Your Brand So You Want To Review Your Brand Strategy As A Whole So You Want To Look At All Of The Strategic Branding Elements Everything From Who Your Audience Is To Who Your Competitors Are The Position That You're Taking In The Market And Then Of Course Your Human Brand Persona And The Characteristics That You've Defined That You Want Your Brand To Display.

Now, These Characteristics Are Key Here When It Comes To Designing Strategically As Designers As Brand Designers We're Able To Express A Message Within The Visuals That We Design And What We Need To Be Focusing On What We Need To Be Prioritizing For A Strategic Brand Are The Characteristics That We've Defined Within The Brand Strategy That We Want The Audience To Understand About Our Brand That We Want Our Audience To See That Our Brand Has So That Is The First Point You Need To Review That Strategy You Need To Have A Look At All Of Those Strategic Elements And Make Sure That You're Injecting Those Characteristics Into Your Visual Designs.

Now At The Very Least Even If You're Not Developing Brand Strategies At This Point You Need To Be Thinking On A Strategic Level In Terms Of Your Creative Thinking So You Need To At The Very Minimum Understand Who Your Audience Is And Understand Your Competitors And That Will Really Set The Tone And Give You Some Tools To Work With When It Comes To Designing Your Logos


Now Your Brand Strategy And Your Strategic Thinking Will Come Directly From The Brief Itself And You'll Have Gone Through That Discovery Session And You'll Have Gone Through That Brand Strategy Session Or Maybe Even A Brand Strategy Workshop To Really Crystallize The Ideas Here And Gather The Information From The Client But Before You Jump Into The Design Process.

Even If You Have Taken The Time To Develop A Brand Strategy You Want To Review That Brief Again The Brand Strategy Process Itself Can Go On For Quite A While And By The Time It Comes To Designing Your Brand You May Have Forgotten Some Key Decisions Or Some Key Conversations. What You Had With Your Client So Make Sure You Review That Brief And Look For Specifics Within That Brief Look For Specific Requests From The Client Or Specific Conversations That You've Had With Them


Now If You Do Have Your Brand Strategy At Hand This Is Where You Need To Go To And What You're Looking For Here Is You're Looking For Keywords Now You'll Find Keywords Everywhere Throughout The Work You'll Have Done Up Until This Point Every Conversation That You've Had With Your Client Any Strategic Work That You've Done Anything Got To Do With Your Audience Or Your Competitors Or The Position That You're Gonna Take In The Market Or That Brand Personality Tone Of Voice Your Brand Message Or Your Story All Of These Brands Strategy Elements Are Going To Have Some Key Words Here And What You Want To Do Is Start To Gather Those And To Collect Them Within A Master Key Word Document So Just Create A Spreadsheet And Start Collecting All Of Those Key Words And Essentially What Those Key Words Are Are The Raw Materials Of Your Brand Design.

Then You Want To Gather As Many Keywords As Possible And Then Categorize Those Keywords Into Lists But Then You Want To Start Expanding On Those Keywords With Word Association And A Very Good Tool To Use Here Is Power Thesaurus Or Powerthesaurus.com And Just By Taking Those Keywords And Popping Them Into Power Thesaurus And Really Start To Expand Your Keyword List Here So What You're Looking For In This Case Are Synonyms And Ideas To Expand Those Original Keywords Now Once You're Finished With That You Can Take That Even A Step Further And Start Mind Mapping Or Word Mapping Your Keywords.

So Take The Most Relevant Keywords And Put Them Onto A Blank Document And Then Just Just Start Branching Out From That In Terms Of Key Word Associations And This Is A Very Very Useful Technique Because You Can Come Up With Keywords That You Wouldn't Have Found Through The Power Thesaurus Method Or Just From Your Brainstorming So Really Think About Pushing Out The Keyword List Here And Really Go As Far As You Can With That List.


So You've Got An Exhaustive List Of Keywords Now What You Want To Do Now Is Really Start To Think About Bringing Your Idea To Life Visually Now I'm Not Talking Here Yet About Thumbnailing You'll Get To That Later On Really What You Want To Do Is Start Visualizing Your Idea In Terms Of Words.

So Start Thinking About What Does It Look Like Physically What Does It Feel Like Emotionally How Would You Describe So Really Brainstorm Your Ideas Here And Really Push Them Out In Terms Of Explaining What It Will Look Like You'll Get To Bringing Those Visuals To Life Later On With Your Thumbnailing And With Your Illustrations But For The Moment Keep It Within Words And Really Just Push The Idea In Terms Of How You're Thinking About What That Brand Is Gonna Look Like Visually.


Now This Is The Next Step In Really Bringing That Idea To Life Visually And Again Remember The Key In Terms Of Designing A Brand Strategically What We Really Need To Communicate To Our Audience Are The Characteristics That We've Defined Within The Brand Strategy.

What We Want Them To Understand About Our Brand So Whether We're Gonna Be Gritty Or Tough Or Professional Or Clean Or Elegant Or Organic Whatever The Idea Is Whatever The Characteristics That We've Defined Within Our Brand Strategy That Is What We Need To Communicate Visually And Mood Boards Are A Really Good Way To Help Us To Really Put Those Initial Ideas Together.

So Here We Want To Mood Board Everything We Want A Mood Board The Color Palettes The Typography The Style Of The Logo The Human Brand Persona The Image Style So Really Capture A Mood Board For Each That's Really Going To Solidify That Look Of The Visual And Then When You're Done With Capturing A Mood Board For Each And Every One Of Those Strategic Elements. Then Capture A Master Mood Board As To The Visuals That Will Best Represent The Idea Of Our Visual Brand.


Now This Is My Favorite Part Of Brand Design Its Brand Design At Its Rawest For Me And You Know When I First Got Into Freelancing On I Didn't Have Any Of My Processes This Is The Area That I Would Spend Most Time On Because I Just Enjoyed It And I Would Sit There For Hours And Hours On End Regardless Of The Budget That Had Been Allocated To The Job But You Really Need To Think About Your Processes Here Because If It Is Something That You Enjoy Like I Enjoyed.

Then You Can Waste A Lot Of Time Or Invest A Lot Of Time When Not Enough Budget Has Been Invested In You So What You Want To Do Here Is You Want To Take A Series Of Pages Maybe Four Pages And Grid Those Pages So You've Got The Series Of Boxes And Then Use A Stopwatch Keep An Eye On The Time That You've Got On Really Push The Ideas Here You'll Probably Have Two Or Three Really Good Ideas That Came Up In Your Mind As You're Doing The Strategic Work And They've Probably Been Marinating In Your Head And If You're Not Careful You Can Get Stuck On Those So Get Them Out Early And Then Just Move On Quickly

Just Keep Going Just Keep Pushing The Envelope Don't Stick On That Original Idea And Make Sure You Get As Many ADS As Possible Here And As I Said Use That Stopwatch And Make Sure You Keep An Eye On That Time Don't Allow Yourself Too Long Here If You're If You Put Yourself Under A Bit Of Pressure With The Stopwatch Then You're Forced To Really Move On Quickly And Get As Many Ideas As Possible So Again Make Sure When It Comes To Your Processes Here That This Is Not Something That You're Doing Out Of Enjoyment It's Part Of Your Business As Part Of What You're Doing As A Service To Your Clients And You Want To Document That Time.


Now By The Time You're Done Thumbnailing You Should Have At Least Two To Three Ideas That Can Form The Foundation Of Your Potential Visual Brand Now If You Don't Have At Least Two Or Three Solid Ideas Give It A Little Bit More Time To Your Thumbnailing

And Go Back And Draw Up Some More Grids Get The Stopwatch Out Again And Really Try To Push Some More Ideas Out But What You Want To Do Before You Move On To The Screen Is Have Some Solid Ideas In Place If You Jump On That Screen Too Early If You Go On That Screen Before You Have A Clear Idea Of What You're Trying To Design Then You're Going To End Up Pushing Pixels Around Your Screen And That Is An Absolute Time Killer

So Make Sure Before You Jump Onto The Screen That You're Starting With A Good Foundation Of Two To Three Solid Ideas And Then Bring Them On To Your Screen And Here It's All About Polishing It's Not About Coming Up With New Ideas

If You Feel That You Need To Come Up With New Ideas Pick Up The Pen And Paper Again And Go Back To The Thumbnailing But Here It's About Polishing It's About Playing With Those Corners With Those Edges With Those Shapes And Really Trying To Bring Some New Ideas And You Know To Really Push The Original Idea Out Into A Visual Brand That You Could Potentially Be Proud Of So Again Make Sure That You Have Some Solid Ideas Before Moving Onto The Screen And If You Need To Come Up With Some Fresh Ideas Go Back To The Pen And Paper


Now I've Seen Inexperienced Designers Do This Time And Again And It's Actually Something That I Used To Do Early On In My Freelance Career They Spend Ninety To Ninety Five Percent Of Their Time On The Actual Graphic Itself So That Is The Logo The Shape How It Looks And Then When It Comes To The The Typography They'll Grab Whatever The Business Name Is Put It Below The Shape And Then They'll Select From Their List Of Pre-existing Fonts

That Is In Their Database And They'll Come Up With Three Variations And That's It That's The Only Time They'll Spend On Typography But The More I Learned About Strategic Branding The More I Realized That Typography Plays A Huge Role When It Comes To Communicating Specific Characteristics Because Typography Already Has Predetermined Characteristics Through Their Designs

The Designers That Took The Time To Design These Typefaces Design Characteristics Within Them And You Need To Understand What Those Characteristics Are Being Communicated And Then Align Those Characteristics With The Characteristics That You've Determined Within Your Brand Strategy

To Take A Lot More Time Actually Allocate A Certain Amount Of Time For Typography And Go Ahead And Do A Bit Of Research Really Go Further Than Just Selecting The Type From Your Database And Really Identify The Characteristics That You Want To Define That You Want To Display From Your Typography From Your Overall Brand

Then Identify Those Characters And Characteristics Within Your Typography So Again Spend A Bit More Time Allocate A Specific Amount Of Time For Typography And You'll Find That By The End Result in You Will Have A Brand Identity That Is More Aligned With Those Characteristics That You've Determined Within Your Brand Strategy


Now The Work That We Do With Color Tends To Be Pretty Intuitive Because We All Have This Innate Understanding Of Color And That's Due To Our Relationship With Color From Nature So We Know That Grass Is Green It's Earthy It's Healthy We Know That Water Is Cool So We Know That That's What It Communicates It Communicates Calm So We've Got All These Intuitive Understandings About Color But It's Really Important To Understand The Deep Psychology Behind Color

And What Variations Of Colors Make People Feel And Then Align That With What You Want Your Audience To Feel Determined From Within Your Brand Strategy So Really Take The Time To Understand The Psychology Behind Color And Go A Little Bit Deeper Than Just Grabbing A Few Colors And Deciding Which Color Palette That You Like And Then That Will Go Further Into The Conversations That You Have With Your Client When Talking About The Strategic Colors That You've Put In Front Of Them You Can Have A Conversation About What That Communicates On A Psychological Level


An Art Director Now When I Was In My Agency Roles I Always Had An Art Director Who Would Review My Work And Then Give Me A Couple Of Pointers As To Where I Need To Improve Or To Tell Me It Was Crap To Go Back To The Drawing Board But When You Become A Freelance Designer

You Don't Have That And What Tends To Happen Is You Design The Way You Would Normally Design And Then There Is No Filter At The End Of That That Goes Directly To The Client But You Really Want To Take A Step Back Here And Learn To Criticize Your Own Work You Know Put Ego To The Side And Really Play Devil's Advocate Here

And Look At Your Design Work And Ask Yourself What's The Worst Thing That Somebody Could Say About This Design It's When You Take A Step Back And You Become That Art Director You Can Really Improve Your Designs

On The Whole But It Really Does Provide An Important Filter Before You Start Sending Content Out To The Clients So Really Learn To Take A Step Back To Put Your Ego To The Side Play Devil's Advocate And Really Point The Finger And Try To Point Out What's Wrong With Your Designs And Then That Will Help You To Go Back And Really Polish Them And Push Them To The Next Level


So You Want To Go Back And Have A Look At That Strategy You Want To Go Back And Have A Look At That Brief Before You Send Anything Off To The Client

You Want To Make Sure That The Brand That The Client Has Asked For Or That The Brand That You've Determined Within Your Strategy Maybe You'll Have Ironed Some Differences There Between The Brief And The Strategy In The Early Parts Of The Brand Development

That It's Aligned With The Final Visual Brand That You've Identified That Those Characteristics That You've Identified Early That You Want Your Brand To Communicate Are Being Communicated Through Your Visual Designs Really Take That Time To Review That Strategy Document To Review That Brief And Make Sure That The Work That You're Putting In Front Of Your Client Is Based On What You've Determined That You Want Your Audience To Understand It's Based On Those Characteristics It's Based On That Message That You Want To Tell Your Audience

Now Most Designers Wing It When They Go Into Freelance For Themselves For The First Time And They Design Exactly How They Would Have Done In Their Previous Roles But When You Start To Understand Brand Strategy And When You Start To Understand Strategic Design It Becomes Apparent That You Need To Include A Lot Within The Design Of Your Brand You Need To Include Those Characteristics You Need To Communicate Everything

That You've Defined Within Those Strategic Branding Elements Your Visual So It's Really Important To Have Those Processes And Again If You Want To Grow A Business Then Your Processes Are The Bread And Butter Of Your Business If You Don't Have Processes In Place Then You're Gonna Have Nothing To Hand Over To Anybody That You Bring In Or If You Wanted To Sell Your Business At A Later Date If You Wanted To Build A Business That You Could Sell Well Those Processes Are What They Will Look At At The End Of The Day

So Start Building Them Now Start Looking At Your Design Processes And Documenting Now Your Design Process Might Be Different To my Chances Are They Will Be Because If There's One Thing I Know About Designers Is That We're All Different And We All Work Differently As Well So Your Processes Might Be Different To Mine But Regardless Whether They're Different To Mine Or Whether They're The Same Or What Do You Want To Take My Processes Into Your Own Business

Here Start To Document Your Processes So You Can Start To Build On Those You Can Start To You Know Really Start To Build A Framework Around The Business That You're Building So That Later On You'll Have Something To Hand To Somebody Coming In To Help You And As I Said This Will Be The Foundation Of Your Future Business.


I am an engineer by profession but being a blogger is my old day's dream to create my site for those who are more curious about my birthplace than I am coming from (India). the current city lives in Navi Mumbai, India

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