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Do this before you start designing!

Us designers know how good it feels to land an exciting design project.

For me it’s currently wrapping up a brand identity and packaging for a candle business—a project I’ve been eager to work on ever since I conceptualised a similar brand for one of my YouTube videos. (crazy that this video still get's me enquiries to this day). Now, when you’re working on an exciting project and you have a clear vision for the brand, it’s tempting to jump right into Adobe Illustrator and start designing. However, before you do that, take a second...

Why? Because there are some important things you need to do before you begin designing. And it all starts with a simple call.

By having a strategy call before you start designing you’ll be able to gather the all important information that will give you the keys to create a brand that’s not only visually appealing, but also strategically backed.

So it’s time to don your deerstalker and turn on detective mode.

Because just like detectives ask questions to uncover the truth about a crime, you will probe to discover the truth about your client, their goals, and more.

But what things should you discuss on this call to uncover the truth? 1. Understand their problems.

Before you can provide a solution to their issues, you need to understand what the issues are in the first place. Make sure to ask them questions like:

  • Do their customers recognise their branding?

  • Are they attracting the right customers?

  • What’s the biggest problem they are facing as a business?

Once you’ve gathered this information, you’ll have a clearer understanding of how to construct a strategy and brand identity to address their issues. 2. Get to know their target audience.

Once you’ve broken down their problems, you’re going to want to identify their target audience.

You might think all you need to do is ask them…

However, not every client will have an answer and it's your job to dig deeper. That’s why I like to put together a little questionnaire which will help them to figure it out and in doing so I can use this information to create detailed brand personas, which will later help inform my design decisions and ensure the brand is attracting the right audience. I can’t share my questionnaire here because it’s exclusive to those enrolled in my Client Process course. However, when you’re putting together a questionnaire to help clients identify their audience, remember that the quality of the answers depends on the quality of the questions. Try to come up with questions that elicit more than just surface level answers. 3. Define their purpose.

Lastly, hone in on the core of the brand—the reason they exist.

This is the secret sauce that sets them apart from the competition (which you can use to your advantage when designing their brand).

Without understanding this, their business won’t stand out from the crowd. Next, all you’ve got to do is build out their brand strategy, (if you want to see what my strategy process looks like, I go over it in this video). And if you want even more help, I have a brand strategy template available on my website that will help guide you through the strategy process, covering everything from competitor analysis to identifying their target audience. P.S. You don’t have to offer brand strategy as a designer, but what I will say is... try and be more intentional when it comes to designing brands, as this will ensure it stands the test of time!

Chat next week,

Abi 😊

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