Why is it so important to find the right designer?
Dearest brand owners, finding a brand designer is arguably the most important search you’ll do. Finding the right brand designer to work on your brand is vital because the designer’s interpretation of your brand/brief will impact how your brand moves through the world from then on. Branding design is also quite the investment, and choosing the wrong designer can result in lost money, lost time, and lost brand recognition. Working with the wrong branding can result in multiple rebrands over time—each time you rebrand, you’re paying tons of money and you’re also losing a lot of brand recognition that you’ve built through social media and marketing.
So, Alyssa, how do I find the right designer then?? Don’t fret, dear brand owner, I’ve written up a complete guide to finding the right designer for your brand. For free.
Things to Consider (in order of most important to least):
- Design Style: Look at their portfolio and try to find projects that speak to you and that you might even reference as inspo for your own brand. If you can’t find any projects that excite you or feel related to your potential vision, move on.
- Expertise / Niche / Previous Experience: It’s ideal to find a designer that specializes or has expertise in your industry. This usually means they have a good idea of the needs of the brand and are familiar with your competitors and market.
- Budget: If you can’t afford them, then that’s that. But, if a perfect designer is slightly out of budget, it’s a better investment to save up for them than to potentially settle for a less compatible designer and get a less than ideal outcome. In my opinion, budget should not be as much of a factor. If you’re talking to multiple designers and they’re all within the same price range, the decision-maker shouldn’t be the price.
- Compatibility: It’s so important to book a consultation call before you agree to anything! In your call, there’s some questions you’ll need to ask to establish compatibility (I provide them below). If you and your designer have weird vibes or don’t communicate well, you can probably feel that in the call and you’ll know to move on. Your brand designer should make you feel excited and comfortable. Period!
Essential Questions to Ask:
- How does your design & project process work? Look for answers about how you’ll communicate, timelines, revisions & feedback, and how they get to know your brand. It’s important that you’re aligned on the level of collaboration.
- What sort of process do you use for understanding the brief? Look for answers about questionnaires, strategy calls, etc. It’s really important that your designer is thorough and takes the time to really understand the foundation of your brand and its needs.
- What information is included in the brand guidelines? The BIGGEST thing to look for is usage guidelines. A “guidelines” book that just gives you the font names and color codes is NOT a guidelines doc (it’s a style guide). Your brand guidelines need to have clear instructions for the application of the brand like color pairings, type formatting, logo usage, etc.
- Do you have experience working with (your niche/industry)? Look for answers that demonstrate either direct or indirect experience with the needs of a brand like yours. If you’re a consumer brand, then you’ll want a designer with experience designing CPG brands, ya know?
Places to Find Brand Designers:
- Instagram: Look up “brand designer” and you’ll find soooo many talented people, but you might be overwhelmed. I recommend searching specific tags and hashtags like “bold color palette” “fun brand design” “beverage brand design” etc.
- Pinterest: When you’re browsing for inspiration to add to your brand mood board, there’s a good chance that some of your pins were created by brand designers that are available to work with you! Click on the pins and see if the user posted is the creator.
- ilovecreatives Directory: This is a great place to find all types of creatives, not just brand designers! Make sure you’re using it as a place to discover creatives only; take the time to click on their websites and portfolios and vet them too.
- Try to book your brand designer months before any deadlines you might have (especially if it’s a launch)! Some designers are booked out months in advance, but like a good restaurant, it’s often worth the wait. To avoid making rush decisions, do your search way even 6 months in advance!
- Make sure your brand business foundations are solid and established. There’s nothing worse than spending the time and money to create a brand identity, just to have the audience or ethos change! So, make sure your audience, purpose, and product are here to stay.
- It’s going to save you a lot of stress in the future if you work with a brand designer that also designs other brand collateral (websites, social media, packaging, etc) because then you can work with one person from start to finish and have everything be cohesive. Pssst! We do that here at ATNN as a full-service studio, and we offer our return clients little discounts here and there, too.
I’m going to be real — brand design really varies in price and it depends on a lot of factors. However, I’m just going to list some rough numbers based on what I’ve seen!
- <$1,000: You’ll either be working with a younger and newer designer or be receiving less deliverables! Nothing wrong with either; just keep in mind that it might come with less expertise and a less established process or a more minimal brand system.
- $2,000-4,000: This is a pretty average range for brand designers that work with smaller brands! The deliverables are most likely comprehensive enough to serve you for years and they probably have a couple years of experience, too.
- $4,000-$8,000: This is a common range for brand design studios or senior brand designers that have distinctive experience or are in high demand (either for their style or expertise or skill). You’ll probably receive a more robust branding system and more precise usage guidelines as a result of the expertise.
- $10,000+: Anything in the 5 figures category is most likely a branding agency that has a team working on the project. This is best for larger brands or brands with the funding to do so. You’ll probably engage in an intensive, long-term relationship with the agency to complete all brand materials.
So there you have it, everything I think that brand owners need to know before embarking on the very exciting journey of brand building! I hope this was helpful and if you have any questions or are interested in potentially working with us, shoot us an email or head to our project inquiry page.