When we talk about design, people often imagine a nerdy hipster with a keen eye playing above his 10,000 hours on Photoshop, creating something new for a pertinacious client with “an idea” for a logo. I was one of these people once. I went through a few years of front-end programming and designing brands, logos and UI/UX for hundreds and hundreds of clients from New York to Los Angeles.
Sounds cool, right? You almost feel like an artist until you realize you are doing only about 10% of the actual job
Anyone who has ever worked with Photoshop is capable of creating a logo. In fact, a friend of mine from Bulgaria introduced me to Photoshop almost 10 years ago. We used it to make humorous pictures of our classmates. It was pretty funny at the time but that’s not important. The point is that I learned to use many different tools of the application a decade ago.
Years passed by and I started getting more and more projects. The task was pretty much the same each time – someone would come to me with an idea for a website and want me to create a logo and a simple webpage for them. I was almost always capable of whatever it was that needed to be achieved. This is what I considered ‘design’ at the time.
…the process, however, is completely different now…
Design Your Logo/Branding
Before we even start designing anything, we go through a few daily sessions where we brainstorm and talk about the brand and the company with the client. What is it like? How does it feel to be part of this company? What is the message? Would you want to create a great product or wish to only generate fast profit? If it’s the latter, stop reading here, I’m not interested in that. However, if it’s the former, you have to understand that designing takes a lot more than colors, creativity and skills. It takes a grand VISION – a hawk eye for various aspects – something I managed to acquire during my career.
You are probably wondering who has the time to spend a few days with their potential clients. I do! This is because I’m not offering a service that is meant for everyone. If you want something quick, go to some average agency. Google them… I offer a service that is for those who care about the same things as I do.
Looks and feel can cut a deal…
Once we pick what we are looking for, we move to the next step: implementation. A few weeks ago, I had a project. I sat down with my employees and told them about the project. I had the whole creative direction ready. I gave them the pages with documentation and guidelines and they had to create the concept of a home page. Each one of them had to create their own version of it.
- The first one was very artistic – a pure piece of art without any call to action
- The second one was focused on the call to action and not so focused on the design
- The third one was almost perfect! It combined the artistic element with a meticulous focus on the call to action, but missed the point of creative direction. We had the call to action and something artistic — James did in fact use our colors too, but not in the way they were meant to be used.
I can’t show you the 3 designs for confidentiality reasons, but the idea is that creative direction and design guidelines are a lot more than creating a logo and putting together a bunch of colors. It is the way people envision their business: the way they design their site, products, customer service, business model and the future. It’s everything.
Designing becomes more and more involved everywhere. Advertising and marketing agencies are missing the big picture. It’s not about taking as many clients as possible and doing the best they can. It’s about taking the right fits and designing them in the right way. It is almost like a VC taking only on a few projects.