A Look Into Our Design Process
Today, we’re sharing all about our design process details—no holding back on the “secretive” steps. We want to be candid with you, because isn’t that what #communityovercompetition is all about? As designers, small business owners, and creative entrepreneurs, we’re all learning the best resources for our small businesses, yet we find ourselves withholding our processes from each other because that’s what we’re supposed to do, right?
Well there are times to keep things to yourself, but we’ve found the more we share our process the more positive responses we get from the competition—ultimately resulting in friendships! Yay. Win Win.
For the first time ever, we’re sharing our first steps in the design process, the Discovery Phase, with you. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
The first phase in our design process involves sending a two page brand questionnaire to our client. Through our task-management system, Asana, we house all files, documents, and communications with the client through this system. This really helps us stay organized.
The brand questionnaire is then uploaded into Asana and assigned to our client with a specific due date. The great thing about our brand questionnaire is it’s a Google Document. As our clients fill out their questionnaires, their responses automatically save. We love this feature because we don’t have to worry about them losing any valuable content or time they’ve invested.
We have two different types of questionnaires: Brand Identity and Website Questionnaire. As you can guess, the website questionnaire is used to determine our client’s needs for their site. It really gives us a foundational roadmap for their Squarespace website. It asks specific questions like:
How many website pages do you need?
Do you want social media icons?
Do you want an e-commerce site or blog added?
As for the brand identity questionnaire, this document has a mix of questions. Anything from what are your business goals in five years to what is your mission statement and tagline? These type of questions are the first several questions in the document. Then we drill down into brand specific questions such as:
What colors do you prefer?
What brands inspire you?
Do you want an illustration added?
These questions give a us a better direction for their brand. Have you thought about crafting a brand questionnaire? Or have you started but not sure where to continue? Take a look at our guide to crafting a brand questionnaire.
Research Client’s Competitors
Our next step is diving into our client’s competitors. If we want our client’s brand to flourish, we have to know what the competition is doing so we create something completely unique to our client and outdo the competition’s branding.
We ask our client’s about their top competitors in our client questionnaire so we know exactly what to research. We take a look at their social media, especially Instagram and Pinterest—very telling! Then we take a look at their websites and their blog. This really gives us a good feel for the competition, and allows us to craft a brand that will cultivate our clients’ small businesses.
Research Client’s Target Audience
Our next step in our design process involves our clients’ target audiences. We ask a variety of questions about our clients’ ideal clients. This is very important because if the brand we design doesn’t resonate with the audience, the sales will not flood in.
Our goal is to research the target audience and find out all sorts of demographics—what they love doing, what appeals to them, what deters them, and so much more. This will guide us as we begin to select the color palette and typography. Ultimate goal: we want the brand to appeal to our clients’ target audiences.
Create a Mood Board
Once we’ve completed the research phase, we pull together images to create a mood board for brand inspiration and art direction.
Mood boards are a lot of fun to create. It’s a physical or virtual board that holds a variety of visuals such as photography, brand inspirations, typography, and color palettes that inspire us as we begin to design our client’s brand. It gives us a great starting point, however, sometimes that’s an additional step that doesn’t necessarily have to done. Pinterest is also a great resource for creating a private board to collect visuals for inspiration and art direction.
The final step in our design process before we present an initial logo solution is the fun part—sketching! We love hand sketching a variety of concepts. The more we sketch on paper, the more we see our vision come to life.
Once we have our ideas on paper, we love seeing the extra elements such as a illustration or a submark develop through digital illustrations in Adobe Illustrator. Sometimes we have so many sketches it’s hard to choose our favorites to share with the client. After we do narrow it down to our favorites, we put together our initial logo presentation on Squarespace. It’s an easy way for our clients to be on our site but view their logo design in an interactive way.
That’s a wrap!
You now have a peek into into our business’s design process. Are we nervous what your thoughts are—YES! But we’re also excited to hear your feedback and hopefully hear some of your design process as well.
We all want our small businesses to succeed—that’s why we believe in listening to each other’s stories and processes and really learn from one another. We LOVE that. Who’s with us!? Let’s collaborate, not coexist.
For collaboration ideas, please send us a note. We’d love to connect and work with you!
B&M Design Co is a boutique design studio established in the MidWest. We design authentic brands for business owners and creative entrepreneurs to flourish. 🌿 We specialize in logo design, visual brand identity, web design and other design services. We know building a brand is not a simple task, so we want to extend an olive branch, a symbol of peace and victory to allow your brand to flourish.