Branding Your Business

As a designer I tend to read a lot of different articles from a lot of sources to stay on top of trends but there’s one trend that just makes me cringe. I know most industries struggle with this but the rise of technology and the ease of entry has really lessened the value placed on design, logos and branding in general.

I belong to a few different creative groups and I know photographers struggle with this, they call these people “fauxtographers” I’m not sure what we should call it for designers but it’s the same thing.

I spent two years at Kent State University working on a degree for Visual Communication Design and I believe I spent about 3 months from one of my many classes on an actual computer. The rest of my hours and days were spent learning the concepts of design.

Why do certain layouts work?

Learning spacial recognition, negative space, the weights an image carries compared to that of a headline or italicized fonts, what about a paragraph?

I only ever worked on Lorem Ipsum but we used it in every way possible.

We learned to pay attention to detail. Have a purpose for everything that we’re doing. Align our items in a certain way and understand where you want the viewers eye to look and where you want it to go next. How are you going to achieve that?

It’s frustrating when you hop online now and read articles that talk about creating a logo and they start off saying, pick 5 fonts that you like. Type your business name in those fonts and pick the one you like most.


This is why people don’t feel the need to spend money on hiring designers when they think it’s as easy as that. These are the $20 logos that you’re purchasing.

The Design Process

Whenever I begin working with a client, especially on a new branding project, I always find out who they are, what their business is and who their target market is. You need to understand who the client is and what their needs are before you ever begin putting the pencil to paper.

Once I have a general concept of the client and where I think they might want to go with their image I typically ask them if they have thoughts of what they’d like to see. I tend to see a split of clients, half of them think they know exactly what they want and the other half tend to give total creative freedom. Either way, I treat them the same. I have found that those that think they know what they want, typically don’t but it’s always interesting to see what they’re thinking!

Once I gather my information I go home. I start thinking, I’m not good at thinking on my feet and I know that so I work with it not against it. I think on the drive home and once I get home I jot down everything that floated through my head and start sketching out ideas.

I almost always work in black and white to begin. Perhaps it’s my old school ways but I find that colors just throw people off even more. They get fixated on little things so give them a little bit and chisel things out as you go. I tend to give about three different options, all varying in layout and font combinations but all cohesive designs that could stand on their own.

Clients are then given the opportunity to look at the designs and either pick which one is their favorite or pick pieces and parts of the logos. They may like the font of option 1 but likes the layout of image in option 3. I then take what they have to say and do a second round of logos based off of those notes. Normally a logo is decided upon on the second or third revision and that’s when I’ll give them multiple logo options based off of the initial logo that they could use in any medium and that’s when we implement colors.

Clients will typically walk away with at least a half dozen different variations of logos: the initial logo concept, a horizontal logo, a squared logo, a simple favicon version, the full colored version, a black version, a white version. You never knew you would need so many versions! Oh and I never forget the art file, always make sure you receive the art file and fonts that are used. You paid for it and the designer may not be around when you need edits made in the future so you’ll want to make sure you have that on hand.

Like most other creatives, true designers put a lot of time, attention and heart into what they do. Please don’t simply type something in a pretty font and move it around willy nilly in your favorite color combination and call it a brand. My heart cries a little each time I read and see those displayed.

There are so many designers out there ready to help and for the most part you could probably find a designer, ahem…me, or any other that would be willing to sit down with you and hash out a few ideas. There are a ton of different creative groups out there that you could ask questions online with and get a general consensus of ideas. We all know you start somewhere and I would rather see you with a beautiful logo and brand material than struggling because you’re afraid you can’t afford to hire someone.

Community over competition…if we all help each other out the world will be a slightly better place to live and grow in!

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