How to Prepare for your Brand Identity and Website Project
You’ve been busy working away, proven to yourself that your business idea is viable, made some clients really happy and earned some sweet moolah (yes, that’s stolen straight from the mouth of Kip, Napoleon Dynamite’s older brother!).
Now that you’ve accomplished those important goals – congrats to you! – you’re ready to invest in your brand identity and website. It’s time to make sure your brand and website accurately reflect just how awesome you are, ensuring they are working together to help attract your ideal clients, so you can get back to what you do best – doing great work for great clients.
Here are 3 steps to help you get ready to hire a designer and get your brand identity and website done!
1. RESEARCH DESIGNERS
Ask some of your business friends for referrals. Have any of them worked with someone they really liked and would highly recommend? If so, be sure to ask for details about their experience.
You can ask in any entrepreneur related facebook groups you’re in for referrals. Or you can try googling ‘brand identity designer’. Pinterest is also a great place to search.
Once you’ve found a few potential designers, visit their websites. Take a look around. A few questions to keep in mind while you’re looking around:
Does their site design appeal to you?
Does the work they show in their portfolio appeal to you?
Does the tone of voice used on their site and in blog posts appeal to you?
Do they display their service(s) offered and is that a match for your needs?
Is their availability posted and does it work for your timing?
Can you get in touch with them?
Do they offer a free consultation call, so you can get a better feel for what it would be like to work with them?
Reach out and get in touch. Did the designer ask questions relevant to your project? Did you get a good feel for what it would be like to work with them? Do you feel confident in their ability? And don’t forget to check in with your intuition. Your gut is a valuable reference tool.
2. HIRE A DESIGNER
You’ve done your homework, researched designers, taken the time to talk with the one’s you were most interested in and made a decision on who to hire. What happens next?
The Contract. Some people view contracts as taboo or awkward. But really a contract is a great thing. It takes assumption out of a working relationship, providing a framework that details exactly who is responsible for what, what the deliverables are, when they will be delivered and when payment is due. Any professional designer will have a contract for you to review and sign. You should definitely review it and ask any questions about it that you’re not sure of. Be wary of working with anyone without a contract. It’s there to protect both you and the designer and relieve both parties from having to ask awkward questions once a project has begun.
The Invoice. Once you sign a contract, your designer will likely send you an invoice for part of the project fee (this should be stated in your contract). Typically, the deposit secures your spot in their queue and is non-refundable. So be sure you understand their process, know when your project start date is and make sure that you can get all the prep work we’re about to talk about ready before your start date arrives.
The Deliverables. Do you know exactly what you’ll be getting from the designer you’re hiring. Do those items all work for you? The contract you sign should state what you’ll receive, when you’ll receive them, the formats they will be in and how you’ll access them.
3. PRE-PROJECT HOMEWORK
After you’ve signed the contract and paid your invoice, there will be time before your project starts. You may initially think that this is a bad thing but it’s not, I promise!
Before your designer can get to work on your brand identity and website project, there are some important things that need to be done. Some of the items you may already have complete and some may be things you need to get done. Let’s take a look.
Your designer should have ‘homework’ for you to complete. This homework will consist of questionnaires that help them understand your business’s goals, personality and visuals so they get a high level overview of your business but also start to see what makes you unique. Here are a few examples of questions you’ll need to provide answers to:
FOR YOUR BRAND IDENTITY
What is your mission statement?
Who is your target audience?
What is your brand voice?
List details about your business: your goals, services/offerings.
Define what makes you different from your competition?
If you’d like help defining your brand, grab a copy of my free brand development workbook here.
FOR YOUR WEBSITE
What is the purpose of your website?
What pages does your website need?
What elements need to be on every page?
What are a few inspirational websites you like?
For your website, you’ll most likely be providing all the content and photos. Will you write and edit the content yourself or will you hire a copywriter?
For website imagery, do you already have photos, need to have photos taken or can you find stock photos that work for your brand? You’ll either need a good photographer or some time to scour stock photo sites. Here are a few stock photography websites for reference (some are free and some you’ll need to pay for):
Death to Stock Photo
At this point, if you’ve made it through all the steps listed above, you’re well prepared to work on your brand identity and website project.
Now you just need to organize all the parts and pieces so you can easily hand-off all your hard work to your designer.
And last but definitely not least, once your project start date arrives, have so much fun working with someone who listens, works hard and provides results.
I’ll bet that if you’re reading this post, you know I’m a brand identity and Squarespace website designer. If you’re interested in working with me, check out my services page.