An Inside Look at my Branding Client Process
Some of the biggest events in your life involve a structured, or not-so-structured, process. Your high-school graduation. Your wedding day. The arrival of your first child. All these big events include planning, preparation and organizing. Every successful event must have some form of process.
I’m in no way comparing a rebrand or website design to these life-altering events, but it is an event nonetheless. An event that, just like the others, has a process.
We’ve all worked with those people who are neither structured nor organized, and the “process” is typically chaotic. If you’re anything like me, that stresses you out. I’m the type of person who loves to have a plan. Not just a plan, but an efficient plan at that.
And I’m no different when it comes to my client process.
Since I frequently get asked about my process, I thought it was time to write a blog about it. So if you’ve always wondered what it would look like to work with me on a branding project, wonder no more.
I offer 3 branding packages, so each package’s process looks a little different. The smaller the package, the shorter the process. But for the sake of this post, I’ll walk you through my largest package i.e. my longest process.
1 | Schedule the Project
Once the client has contacted me, we schedule a phone call or in-person meeting where I learn more about them, their business and what they’re looking for. We discuss the process and timelines, and I answer any questions they have.
Once we’ve both decided it’s the right fit, I send over a contract and an initial invoice for 50% deposit (via 17hats). That secures a spot on my project calendar, typically between 2-6 weeks in the future.
2 | Setting Everything Up
Now that the paperwork and scheduling side is all taken care of, I work on setting up the project. There are a few steps I always go through:
Set up new project in Asana & assign dates
Set up their project file in my filing system
Set up a Google Folder for the project
Customize their Welcome Guide
Once I’ve completed all the above steps, I send my client an email titled, “Welcome Guide & Client Assignment”. This is the official start of the process on my client’s end. The email includes instructions on what to do next, i.e. their client assignment, and their welcome guide. In this email I make sure the client is aware of when their assignment is due and their project start date. I also ask the client for a 30-minute kickoff meeting the Friday before their project begins.
3 | Client Assignment
Like I mentioned above, I ask each of my clients to participate in a client assignment.
The assignment consists of:
Collateral + Social media questionnaire
Website Content request
The assignment is delivered via a shared folder on Google Drive. It’s super easy for the client to hop into the folder and do the assignment, and it also makes it easy for me to check in on their work and make sure they’re on the right track.
I do ask each client to complete their assignment before the project begins. This way I have everything I need when the project starts, which allows me to make complete, well-rounded decisions for their brand. It also helps the flow of the process, so our timeline isn’t delayed waiting on content. This ensures the client will have a seamless, enjoyable experience.
Once the assignment is complete, we pow-wow for our kickoff meeting. During this meeting, we go through the client assignment and clarify any gray areas. This meeting is crucial. It ensures I’m on the same page as the client before we ever jump into the design process.
4 | Design Process
At this point, the client has completed their assignment, we’ve had a great kickoff meeting—so we are both on the same page—and it’s time to get started!
I use my Asana boards to help guide me through the design process.
In a nutshell, here’s the entire process for my complete brand + website design package:
Create Inspiration Board
Create logo concepts
Create secondary marks + design features
Select color palettes and fonts
Create social media branding + email signature
Create 4 collateral items
Final file handoff + website tutorial
Publish blog post + launch new brand!
Throughout the design process the client is very involved in decision making. The process includes time for revisions, client meetings, and special surprises.
Since I have such a detailed process, projects rarely get sidetracked and timelines rarely are pushed back. This means clients are able to advertise the launch of their new brand/website without fear of the date being pushed back.
5 | Final Handoff + Walkthrough
Once a project is complete, I send over a final invoice (via 17hats) and final files (via Google Drive), and then setup a time to do a walkthrough. For the walkthrough we meet via Skype or Google Hangouts (or in person if they’re local). I walk them through the entire website by sharing my screen with them, and I explain how to create blog posts, swap out photos, etc.
I also record the meeting so they can reference it later and I include the video in their folder.
6 | Blog Post & Brand Launch
To wrap up the project, I publish a blog post explaining all the details of the project. I link to the client’s new website and post on social media to share in the celebration of their new launch.
This is a great way to drive traffic to my client’s new site and create extra buzz around their exciting launch.
From start to finish, I try to make sure my clients have an enjoyable experience. I make sure they feel included in the design process and remain excited about their results. I also include a few special surprises along the way.
Here are what past clients have said about their experience and my client process:
“Casi is the absolute best- she redesigned my logo and built a new website for my business. She is incredibly organized, professional and everything stayed on time and on task. She problem solved issues that came up quickly and always had great ideas.”
—Ginny, Ginny Filer Photography
When asked “What was your favorite part about working with Casi?”
Response: “The ease of the process. As someone who is busy for other reasons than this blog, I loved working with her because of her patience and understanding that I am a customer with limited online knowledge.”
...“[Casi was] laidback, creative, helpful, kind, cares about her customers and the design process. Truly invested in creating beautiful websites to attract the right customer.”
—Michelle, Donuts for Miles
“Casi is a talented and hard-working designer. She has a workflow process that is easy to follow from concept to design with feedback in-between.”
—Robert, Capitol Hill Clothiers