8 Questions to Ask yourself Before Hiring a Designer
Knowing when you're ready to work with a brand stylist
As a fairly new business or creative entrepreneur, it can be difficult to consider and justify big investments while you are trying to establish yourself in your industry. It may seem unnecessary to budget for a brand identity or website when you’re trying hard to keep the books balanced. I get it, I really do! So today I want to talk about knowing when to hire a professional designer and how there are so many ways it could be valuable, if your business is ready!
But first, what is branding?
Your brand is not your brand styling. It’s the core and perceived image of your business; the emotional connection your client feels when engaging with you on a digital or social level; the tone of your voice in your phone conversations and blog posts; your marketing strategy; sometimes even your wardrobe. Your brand is where image meets experience. The great mind that is Seth Godin writes “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” A brand is hard work and it’s an essential part of a success story.
Starting your journey with a solid foundation of core, tone and values paired with an identified mission and business goals, is priceless. This elevates your brand and positions you as a professional and expert. Yes, an expert! How exciting is that?
This is not to say that your foundation is static. I don’t want you to send you into fear paralysis by believing that this foundation isn’t allowed to grow and evolve as your business does. Because it will and we keep defining and refining our vision and values until we have it waxed. But the first few years of business are all about learning and figuring things out and as you gain knowledge and clarity, share it with the world through your brand!
Okay, so what is brand styling?
Brand styling is not your brand. I can’t stress enough how these two elements support each other rather than replace each other. Your brand styling is the image of your brand. It’s a visual package and representation of the core, values and tone you have defined by your hard work and deep digging. Note: most designers will supply you with a workbook or questionnaire prior to beginning the design process where they will assist you in identifying all of these components.
Brand styling is a collection of visual elements that tell the story of your brand in a cohesive, authentic and memorable way to the right people. It usually starts with an inspiration board to develop the direction of the visual style, primary logo, alternate logo, monogram | submark, patterns and textures and font suggestions. These elements are designed to work seamlessly with each other to carry your brand through a digital or print platform.
How do I know I am ready to hire a designer?
There are many factors to consider before hiring a designer and it should not be something decided on a whim. As with all the other aspects of your brand, intentionality is key!
Questions you should be asking yourself in consideration:
- Are you ready to invest your time and capital to take your business to the next level?
- Do you want the quality of your brand identity to reflect the quality of your work?
- Do your dream clients (and you) value details and consistency across all platforms and mediums?
- If you are a new business, are you wanting to kickstart it in the right direction from the outset?
- Have you seen growth in your business that would make it a viable option to overhaul or refresh your visual identity? And would this expand your reach even further?
- Do you have an understanding of what a professionally styled brand can bring to your business in terms of attracting your dream client or customer, growing your audience and creating a brand that is wholly and unashamedly you?
- Are you wanting to differentiate yourself from your competitors and command a premium price for your premium service or product?
- Would the increased sales of products or packages in the first month of your new brand launch recover the costs of hiring a professional?
Help! I’m not ready! Am I doomed to fail?
No, darling! Definitely not. You're hustling hard to make it work. If you’re not ready, there are quite a few options that would require less investment and allow you to grow a bit stronger before taking the leap. During that time you’ll have refined your brand, you’ll have a clearer vision of where you’re headed and you’ll understand better how you should get there.
Why don’t you:
- Head over to my DIY Freelancer page and purchase a premade branding solution that feels the most authentic to where you are now. All you need is a brand name and colour palette!
- Chat to a design school and ask them how you’d go about commissioning a student to assist you. These students are not only desperate for some real world work experience (we’ve all been there, right?), but I’m sure they’d love to make some money on the side.
- DIY. With a trial version of Adobe Creative Cloud, a few resources and a tutorial or 2, you could create something custom for yourself to tide you over until you're ready to take it professional!
Yes, I’m ready! What do I do now?
That’s fabulous and I am so happy that your business is growing and you’re ready to grow with it. After the decision to work with a professional is made the next big question is “who?” and not really knowing where to turn can be frightening. I’m here to tell you to be picky! Consider your options. Decide if working with someone local is important to you. Review their previous work and ensure their styles suit your aesthetic. Ask them too many questions!
As a brand stylist and packaging specialist I have the knowledge and experience to walk you through the necessary steps to define your core and create an intentional and authentic brand. I have the skills to develop a meaningful and lasting visual representation of your brand and style every detail to seamless cohesion. And as a small business owner and creative entrepreneur I understand the value of your investment and respect the time and energy you devote to your brand everyday. Let’s take all of those beautiful ingredients and craft a brand that is wholly and unashamedly you, with meaning and intention, style and distinction.