In the past I’ve seen this question a lot … What do I need to know about #branding? OR How do I find a great designer? I’m going to make this post from the point-of-view of the designer based on interactions with clients and how prepared / unprepared they were…

1. Going into branding blind

So tell me this, when you’re purchasing something or doing anything for yourself, do you research? Do you ask yourself questions? Do you put together a plan and set goals? Im sure you do, well you need to do the same thing for your brand.

I have a brand brief that I send out to all my clients so I can get a feel of who they are and what they want their brand to be. Here are some questions that you need to ask yourself no matter what you are branding:

  • What is your mission statement?
  • What is your vision for your brand?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are some brands that you feel are similar to yours?
  • What is your personal style?
  • What colors do you love?
  • What colors do you hate?
  • What emotions are you trying to evoke through color and imagery? Color psychology is important.
  • What are some colors that are consistent in your life and living space? This helps with easy, consistent content creation.

These are just starter questions that you need to have the answers to before you even get into trying to design anything yourself, or have someone design it for you. Why? Well you’re not a professional, but you want to look professional. And there are so many “designers” out here that don’t have a lick of actual training or formal education that helps them interpret things like color theory, brand strategy, placement, layout, fluidity, color psychology, and so much more …

I could be here all day letting you know what people don’t know. YOU NEED TO HAVE A PLAN AND VISION IN PLACE BEFORE YOU HIRE ANYONE. A great designer can help you get there, but you should have the basics already aligned.

2. You get what you pay for

Let me guess you went on Fiverr or decided to design your website using a free service … or are you paying wix monthly? Well thats great but you know when you are using sites like wix, square space, blogger, or WordPress.com (not to be confused with self-hosted WordPress.org) you run the risk of all of your content being lost or deleted if they ever have a breach, their servers go down, they decided to go out of business, anything.

YOU NEED TO INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS. What you put into it you will get out of it! Hire a real designer. Self-host your website so you have complete control over your content, monetization, everything. If you are taking all of your information from someone that is making money selling information but has never worked as a designer, marketer, or creative in any way, you are setting yourself up for failure.

They are selling you what may have worked for them without disclosing that it may not work for you. You need a professional if you want professional quality material, period. Can you do everything yourself? Yes, you definitely can, but I suggest you join some design chats, ask designers questions, ask marketers questions, watch videos from professionals. Don’t fall victim to the blind leading the blind. I see it everyday. What have I seen?

  • Bad Design
  • Bad Advice
  • Spending unnecessary money
  • Scams

3. Nothing is consistent

You don’t promote enough. You don’t post enough. You just aren’t doing enough on a regular basis. Oh!, and you have no strategy when it comes to your visuals. You are using stock images and nothing has a personable feel. Your fonts are different. A mess.

You have to do the work to see the results. You need to post daily. You need to engage with your audience. You need to have consistent branding, colors, visuals. The best way to get what you want is to figuratively do it yourself. Come up with how you want to portray your brand publicly and stick to it! I will be talking about a posting schedule in another post. It will help.

3. Vetting a designer

You need to be able to spot the real deal, the creative industry is very saturated with enthusiasts masquerading as professionals. While a degree doesn’t make a designer, education of the industry does … and there is a difference.

Questions to ask:

  • Do you have a resume? portfolio? You want to see the extent of their experience. Designers that have worked in agency is a plus because they have dealt with a fast paced, client facing production process.
  • What programs are you using to design, you need to make sure your deliverables are being created in the proper format. Example – logos, illustrator. flyers, photo editing / rendering, photoshop. books, page layout, flyers, business cards, marketing material, InDesign.
  • What deliverables will I receive upon completion? Unless you are planning a continued relationship with the designer request native files (AI, PSD, INDD) it may cost extra, but very necessary. Request these files when dealing with freelancers for sure.
  • Do I own the rights to this design? You need to make sure there is a transfer of ownership once your project is finished. Your designer needs to also have some sort of brief so they can get to know you, your brand, your business. If they don’t, how can they design for you?
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