Do you ever wonder what a brand designer really does on the computer all day? Most brand designers spend their day sketching, illustrating, and designing until they get it just right. But on top of that, true brand design also takes research, deep digging, and intentional planning to create the right look for your business. All of these things go into designing and developing a brand and you may not have realized that we spend so much of our work day doing them. I try to share behind the scenes peeks over on Instagram to show what the process can look like, but I thought it would be fun to give you an in depth look at a day in the life of a brand designer here too.
Researching and planning
The very first step of a brand design is to do research. I do this by having a kick off call with my clients on our start date so we can dig in to their client homework and discuss the details of their brand. But even after reading all their answers on the brand clarity questionnaire and talking with them, I still spend time researching their brand, their audience, and their style so I can create the best design for them. This is probably something you wouldn’t expect brand designers to spend so much time on, but it is an important step of the process. By spending time here in the beginning, I am able to better create design concepts for their brand, which saves us both time in the end instead of going in circles to find the right look.
Designing and developing
After doing research and brainstorming, I start designing. this is the bulk of work that a brand designer does, and probably what you think of when you imagine what we do all day. However, time is spent designing and developing all aspects of the brand, not just the logo. Part of my branding process is to design additional elements to create a complete and cohesive brand. This includes things like patterns, icons, secondary logos and brand marks, and branded collateral. So when I am designing for a brand, I’m focusing on logo design, but also the other elements to complete the brand as well. His part of the process can look different for every designer, and it depends greatly on how you work best. For me, I spend time sketching out concepts on paper, transferring he best ideas to illustrator, and playing with fonts and graphics until I find the right combination and layout.
Trial and error
Sometimes designs just don’t work out. Believe it or not, brand designers can spend a lot of time designing things that will never even get used. I can go through several logo concepts before landing on a small selection to send to my client that I feel truly fit the brand. And then we only choose one to work with so more options will get thrown out too. Even though I try to be as efficient as possible with my time, sometimes you just have to go by trial and error to see if a design concept will work. A lot of time can be spent on trying out a concept that may end up in the trash can. Even the best of designers will go through this, but it’s a step in the process to get to an amazing end result.
Finalizing details and file prep
Once all of the design work is done, my job is far from over. Even though we done the important part of building an intentional brand, I still have a lot to do to get it ready for the client to use. After all of the designs have been finalized, I then prep all the files to send over to the client. That may sound simple, but with so many files it can be time consuming. This part of the process can include prepping files for printing, linking all images, outlining fonts, checking spacing and alignment, and saving the files in different formats for different use.
Managing clients and leads
On top of all the design work I do, I also have to manage current and past clients as well as talk with new leads about how I can help them with their business. When I’m done working with a client I don’t want them to feel like I’ve dropped them the day our project was finished so I try to check in and keep up communication as much as possible after our work is done. In addition, I’m typically managing the workflow of anywhere from 2-8 clients at one time. I try as hard as possible to work on only a few projects at a time so that I can focus more attention to those projects, but inevitably there are always projects that run past their timeline which requires extra management. And of course, I have to stay on top of managing new leads so that I can book new clients and set up their projects so everything is ready to go when their start date comes around too.
Overall, a day in the life of a brand designer is full of more than just designing. While that is the main part of the work that I do, it just scratches the surface. The actual design is the focus on my work and ultimately what people come to me for, but I also spend a lot of time working on other elements for their brand too. And we didn’t even mention the other aspects of being a business owner in general!