Hey there! I'm Emma - horse girl, coffee mug collector, and the founder of Homeward Creative Co.®, a boutique design studio based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My mission is to help creative solopreneurs and small business owners grow their business and attract their dream clients with heartfelt, strategic brand design.
What you Need to Do Before Working with a Brand and Website Designer
You’ve seen other business owners with beautiful logo designs and gorgeous websites, and now you’re ready for your brand to look that good! If you’ve never done it before, you may be wondering what to do before working with a brand designer.
Before emailing a designer and diving right in, there are a few things you should have prepared before starting your brand or website design project, so you can see the most success.
Let’s talk about those!
Make Sure your Business Name is Legal
Of course your business needs a name before you can design a brand identity around it! But you need to make sure you can legally use that name before you do anything else. In other words, you won’t be infringing on anyone else’s trademark by using it.
Why is this important? You don’t want to invest a good chunk of money on a brand identity, only to receive a cease and desist letter from someone who already owns your business name. This will force you to scrap everything, wasting precious time and money.
So what do you do? Well, I can’t give actual legal advice (designer, not a lawyer). But I do know that if your business is not named after yourself (ex. Lucy Pevensie Photography), I highly suggest at least conducting a due diligence search with a trusted lawyer. He or she will conduct a thorough search in your industry to make sure your business name is a-okay to use before you invest in brand design.
(P.S. If you decide to work with Homeward, we can include this step as an add-on to your branding project!)
Have a Basic Understanding of your Business and Target Audience
Having a basic understanding of your business seems… well… basic, right? It can actually be easy to forget! Sometimes, when new business owners have big dreams for their brand, they jump into design work before really knowing anything besides the kind of work they want to do.
Beyond the kind of business you want to run, you should be able to clearly define how you run it, who you’re serving, and why(that last one’s extra important!).
For example, let say you fell in love with photography and want to turn your hobby into a business. Great!
How are you going to run your business so you can stand out? Will you do stylized portraits in a local studio? Or casual candids in far-off places? Are you going to specialize in wedding photography? Or family and newborns? What kind of experience will you provide for your clients?
Who are you going to serve? Go deeper than “engaged couples” or “families with kids.” Maybe your dream clients are adventurous and outgoing couples planning destination weddings – the kind of people who would jump in the ocean in their suit or dress at the end of the night, no questions asked. Or maybe adventurous families in Arizona with elementary-age kids are more your style. No matter who they are, make sure you know exactly the kind of people you really want to serve, and learn everything you can about them.
Why did you start your business in the first place? Was it to be able to work from home so you can be with your babies? Or to help young moms feel beautiful in those foggy postpartum days? Keep asking “why” and go several layers deep until you uncover the true reason. Check out this blog post for a brand strategy exercise that will teach you how to find your “why!”
So, before working with a brand designer, make sure you’ve taken the time to deeply understand your business and dream audience. The design decisions we make for your brand identity and website will be heavily influenced by this information!
Gather your Website Resources
If your design project also includes a website, having a few materials ready beforehand will make the process go MUCH smoother!
Be prepared to provide website copy (the words on your site), written by either you or a copywriter. If you don’t have copy for your site, let your designer know before booking your project! Most designers will be happy to refer you to their favorite copywriters.
Having nice brand photos will also be really helpful. If you don’t have a huge gallery of professional brand photos yet, that’s okay! Depending on the site, we can get by with a handful of good photos – even curated stock images can be great in some cases. Just don’t forget a headshot of yourself!
If you have testimonials from past clients or customers, go ahead and start collecting those. If you don’t have any, start reaching out to your people and ask!
I highly recommend purchasing these policies from a trusted legal template shop at any point before your website launch. My personal favorite is The Creative Law Shop!
P.S. If you choose to work with Homeward on your website, I would love to connect you with my favorite copywriters and brand photographers. And if you’re ready for all-in-one brand transformation, we can include copywriting and brand photography as part of your branding package to get everything done at once! If you’d rather write your own copy for now, no problem! My web design packages include an DIY Copywriting Workbook to guide you through that process.
Know Your Goals
As with any investment you make for your business, you should understandWHYyou want a new brand identity and/or website. What are your goals? What do you hope this project will accomplish?
Think beyond, “I want my brand to look good.” What real problems do you hope a new brand identity or website will solve for your business? Do you want to stop attracting low-budget inquiries? Step into a different market? Convey a new message? Make more sales?
We’re doing more than just creating a better website or prettier logos. We’re solving a deeper problem!
Before working with a brand designer, you should also make sure it’s the right time for this kind of investment. Is branding the next right step for your business? Or should you focus on mastering sales skills or improving your processes first? If you’re not sure, we can always talk about it on a discovery call!
These are the most important things you should do before working with a brand designer to see the most success with your project. This list will likely be a little different for every business! If you want to contact a designer, but you’re not sure you have everything ready, don’t be afraid to reach out anyway! There’s a very good chance they can help you with some of these, or connect you with someone who can.
Are you ready to dive deeper into your business and finally have the brand identity of your dreams?
Ever feel like your branding is all over the place? This workbook walks you through a step-by-step process for discovering what makes your business stand out and creating a vision board that reflects your unique brand style.