My absolute favourite part of my job is setting up the process for my custom clients. I offer a full branding and design package that will have you walking away with a beautiful brand logo, business card designs and brand style guide, PLUS a mobile responsive website!
One of the biggest things people say to me is that they just don't know where to start with their brand and that they don't know how to connect with their brand. Sometimes I even hear that they feel like their brand is scattered, disorganised and doesn't make sense.
These are really common things to feel when you start considering your brand and so I have developed a process that not only gets to the bottom of these issues and solves them, but does so in a way that is really fun, intuitive and holistic!
So let's step through my process. I will walk you through each of the elements of my custom client process and explain why you will love it. How do I know you will love it? Well, everyone flipping loves this process, and I know you will too.
Ok, drum roll...
ON BOARDING + NEW CLIENT WORKBOOK
When a new client approaches me, I ask them to tell me a little about themselves and their potential or existing brand first through email. If I think we are a good match, I will send them a work brief and quote that outlines the project deliverables, how it will work and proposed timelines, and include also a breakdown of the cost.
I like to be upfront about the cost so that there are no surprises for my new client down the track. The final price will be the quoted price. If the client feels comfortable with the work brief I will send through a Paypal invoice or they are welcome to send through payment via Bank Transfer.
I have a payment upfront policy. There are a variety of reasons for this and you can read all about them here! However, if people are struggling to make this full payment, and I have a work queue, I will invoice for 50% holding deposit and the remaining 50% as we start the project.
From here, the client is given a start date and the link to their new client workbook. Some clients will also require some basic coaching and guidance at this point. I encourage clients to start their workbooks early and provide as much detail as possible.
The questions I ask will give me an insight into:
- who the client is and what their vision is for their brand;
- clients aesthetic tastes;
- we conduct a mini customer profile and competitor analysis;
- and ask for a range of examples to give me a sense of what the client is looking for.
STARTING THE PROJECT AND THE CLIENT PROJECT PORTAL
When the time comes to start the new project, I send the client a project commencement email. I use Canned Responses offered by Google Work Apps (the provider I use for my custom domain email address). I let them know that it's time to launch their project and provide them with the login details for their very own project portal!
The client project portal is a super cool thing I started doing around a year ago (back then I was on Wordpress and used a plugin called Project Panorama which was very pretty but didn't provide me with the options I wanted). I now use a separate, passworded page in my Squarespace site to house each of the client portals. I provide the client with the URL and password and inside they will find information such as:
- the project description and start and finish dates
- project deliverables and the status of the project
- project timeline and due dates
- initial designs previews as the project progresses
- final designs (in a range of sizes/types) for download
- tutorials and step-by-step guides
- any additional information and logins
The client project portal is a hugely important part of my custom work process. It allows everything to be kept in one place and means that the client is rummaging through their emails trying to find files and information they might need!
DESIGNING THE BRAND
Once we get started, things move along quickly. I look over the new client's workbook and follow up with them if I need to clarify anything.
- MOODBOARD: I always start with establishing keywords and from here create a moodboard that is designed to capture the feeling, the essence of the brand.
- LOGO DESIGN: We then move onto the logo design. The client will be provided with a variety of initial designs, each taking the brand in a unique direction. The client will be encouraged to select their favourite and provide feedback on any changes. From here, the client will be given two rounds of revisions before the final design is created.
- BRAND BOARD DESIGN: Once the logo is finalised we will then begin work on the brand board which includes secondary logo variations, fonts, colours and elements.
- BUSINESS CARDS: Before we start on the website, the business cards are designed. The client is given two different designs and one round of revisions on their favourite design to make sure it's perfect!
- WEB DESIGN: Once the branding is all done, we create your Squarespace website! You will be able to browse the Squarespace tutorials and select one that you feel most attracted too. Alternatively, I will select the template for you and we will get started. I perform advanced editing and coding on these templates to make sure that your website is absolutely perfect and I load all your website copy, images and brand elements in for you.
This whole process takes around 3 weeks. So within the month, clients have a full and complete brand and website that they can start using instantly!
TUTORIALS + STEP-BY-STEP GUIDES
One of the key things I offer my custom clients is tutorials and step-by-step guides for printing and on how to use and understand their new website. I believe in giving my clients the power to take control and understand their brand and website and how it all works.
It's so easy to set people loose with their new brand and have them work it out for themselves, but my inner coach gets the better of me and when I think of how on of the biggest issues my clients have is that they don't know where to start, I figure sending them away with all the tools and know-how to get started is a better way!
So I will put together step-by-step guides for printing through Moo.com (or whatever other printing company you select) and how to edit and maintain your Squarespace website. I provide a combination of written and video tutorials depending on what is most applicable and training is included in their project cost. I recently learnt that some designers charge for this training, and I can understand how that would frustrate people! I don't want my clients to feel as though their are potential hidden costs - everything, including the training is included.
To create my video tutorials I use Camtasia for Mac and Screenflow is another widely used option! I love how easy it is to use, it is super intuitive and I have been able to do everything I need with it. I also use a Blue Yeti Microphone but I would also recommend Audio Technica ATR2100 Mic if you are after something cheaper, but of great quality.
I also provide a comprehensive brand style guide. This helps my clients to be consistent moving forward with their new brand. This really takes the guess work out of brand communication (e.g. social media images, advertisements and blog posts) in the future!
BUILT IN MINI-COACHING
As I have mentioned through this post, a lot of my clients come to me feeling confused and unsure about what to do with their brand and how to move forward. Built into my brand design packages, I help my clients to make good decisions for their brand and give them advice on things like what printing company to go with and how to position their brand.
My aim with this built in coaching aspect is that my clients will walk away from me confident and ready to tackle anything they can dream up for their brand.
PROJECT CLOSING PROCESS AND QUESTIONNAIRE
At the end of the project, I will always send a final email thanking the client and recapping on what amazing things we created together. I also let the client know that all final files are in their portal and I will provide the URL and password one more time here so that it is easily accessible. I leave the portal online for 2 months from the date of that closing email, and I always make note in that email of the portal delete date (and I schedule it in my calendar too so it's something I don't need to think about!).
I also send my clients to a closing feedback questionnaire that asks about their experience and satisfaction working with me. This is such an important step for me as I feel that it really helps to strengthen my business - be it if I need to change or modify something, or even if it is reinforcing that I am doing a great job. Whatever the response, it is always super useful and I really appreciate my clients doing this for me!
In the questionnaire, I ask for a testimonial and permission to use it across my website, social media and communication points. I also ask permission to display their project on my website, blog and on social media. I find that asking people upfront about this stuff is the best way - their info is all in one place, there's no surprises when you share the project on your blog, and they know that you value their privacy and ultimately want to give them the final say!
I absolutely love my custom client project process. Having this process in place has changed the way I operate within my business and means that both me and my client know exactly what is happening when and where!
Working this way can be considered collaborative, and that is exactly what I aim for!
Have you been thinking of hiring a brand designer to help you reach clarity and confidence in your brand?
I would so very much love to help you. I have spots open in my schedule from the end of May onwards and I would LOVE to talk to you about your brand project! If you like the sound of my process and are looking for a brand stylist and designer that not only creates something beautiful but also someone who can coach you through creating a sustainable brand that connects with the right people, the sounds like we are a match made in heaven!
Jump over to my contact page and shoot me through a message or use this form below and I will get back to you soon!
(NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. This means I get a small financial kick back from them.
I do, however, strongly believe in and recommend all products and services provided here!)