Look for Process

Every great designer has great processes. They know how to interview the client, turn that interview into clear objectives, show direction with examples and lead the client through the design process.

Junior designers ‘wing it.’ They try to impress with technique and flair. They skip past the important first phases of design which is discovery, research and sketching. They jump straight to the computer and go for the final product not understanding that a pencil and paper is the quickest way to get a feel for composition and that the best work may look simple but it is arrived at through many steps and lines of inquiry.

My process is simple but very deep. It goes in five steps and it works for the smallest of design needs all the way to building a full global brand. It's just a matter of scale and time. A patch has far less audits than a full brand identity.

So without further ado, Here they are:

1. Research. Research is comprised of a series of audits. I look at your marketing plan, your competition, the tech involved in your business, as well as the language and voice of your brand to date and any industry legal information. Basically the goal is to know your business and industry as well as you do.
2. Strategy. Based on the research, it's time to synthesize and clarify your brand or project strategy. Understand the problems needing to be solved. Remember, design is about function first. Ask, what is it for? Create briefs summarizing research and overall creative strategy.
3. Design. Based on the research and creative strategy brief, we manifest the look and feel, typography, word mark, icon(s), textures, and color for all animated, digital and print applications that are needed. This is a collaborative process, all hands on deck, you are sure to learn a lot as am I.
4. Implementation. Once the design work is all done its time to develop all applications for all necessary touch points. Packaging, signage, website, favicon, correspondence, business cards, collateral, advertising, environments, vehicle graphics, uniforms, ephemera, etc.
5. Management. We launch the project or brand, create design SOPS, brand manuals, deliver all reproduction files and often engage in retainer management when it’s a full brand.

That's how I move from start to ‘finish’ with any project. It's a meticulous process that takes time but has impeccable results.

So if you are out there and you are looking at hiring a designer, make sure you are going through all of these steps or something similar. Like I said, every great designer has a process that feels somewhat like mine.They may condense things or combine steps and call it a seven or a three step process but all of the details will be in there.

If you are trying to save money, and are hiring a junior or going to a website where there's a field of designers, remember that you are going to have to be the master of the process and you won't be able to rely on them for it. If you don't have time or the understanding to manage the design process, I highly recommend hiring a professional.

If you are looking at me but you don't think my style is quite a fit, no worries, hit me up and I will point you to a great designer that fits the style you want. As always, just slide in to my dms or send me an email. If you think you can't afford it, there's always a way, and you should never settle when it comes to your business your brand and your future.

I hope you find this helpful and challenging and look forward to hearing from you.

Jesse Barney