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3 Things to Watch Out For When Selecting a Branding Studio

Details of branded envelopes

Are you wondering what's the difference between a stunningly gorgeous and strategic brand design—one that is even better than you could've imagined and just feels right—and one that feels a bit off and just...flops?

These key things to keep in mind when selecting and collaborating with a design studio will act as your North Star when it comes to going through the rebrand you've always dreamed about.

With a sea of branding studios of all shapes and sizes out there, it's no wonder that dipping your toes into the brand design water can be a bit overwhelming.

How do I know who and what is right for me and my business? Is the money that I'm spending really going to make a difference in my bottom line in the near future? How do I vet and judge the endless array of brand design studios available to me?

These are all valid and common questions that pop up at the beginning of the brand design process.

See below for the key things to look out for when scouting out a branding studio to get the job done (and get it done well!):

Portfolio AND process

Sure, their designs may be beautiful, but is it going to take 12 revisions to get the job done, extending the project timeline by months?

SO much of what makes a branding project successful is not only the final outcome but the steps that are taken to get there.

Professional designers should be holding your hand and guiding you through the process—not taking a week to respond to your emails and always having you guess what's next. They should make it clear to you that this ain't their first time at the rodeo and they've got your back with any questions you have.

The designer you choose should have a clearly established process with distinct milestones, boundaries, and workflows to follow.  Some things to consider when selecting a designer include the below—if it's not clear on their site or in their sales collateral, just ask!

  • Do they use a project management tool to help organize the project and give a birds-eye view of any milestones? Will there be clear deadlines set for each milestone?
  • Do they set clear expectations and boundaries so that you're on the same page when it comes to how the project will run?
  • Do they have a professional proposal that outlines the exact scope you'll be receiving so that there's no ambiguity along the way?
  • Do they seem confident when communicating their process and value to you? Are they eager to hop on a call to build connection and a strong working relationship?

The strategy that informs the design

A successful brand design doesn't come in isolation—for it to be successful, the brand's positioning, values, competitive advantage, and target audience must all be crystal clear. When it comes down to it, SO much of a great brand design process isn't actually graphic design, rather strategic research and synthesis of the brand's foundation.

When looking for a designer or agency that will help you build a long-lasting and high-converting brand, it's important to dig deep into how they approach the strategy that informs the design. Ways you can determine this are:

  • Do their case studies have text explaining the core essence of the brand and how this was translated visually, or are they simply eye-catching designs?
  • Do they require a full brand strategy session before moving onto any visual design? Do they work with existing brand guidelines or start all client work with an in-house brand design?
  • Do their case studies seem trendy and dated or a perfect balance of modern yet timeless?
  • Do they practice what they preach by being clear on who their ideal client is and having a cohesive identity and/or specific niche?

A business model that complements your own

  • Are they severely underpricing their services?

And there you have it! Now that you have a better understanding of how to find a design studio to work with that's perfect for you, you're ready to get yourself out there and get in touch with designers that would be thrilled to do everything they can to make your brand design a successful one.

Think that we would be a good fit? Get in touch about a project here—I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about how we can work together to attract your dream clients and multiply your revenue.

Julia Dennis smiling sitting on couch with notebook

Hi, I'm Julia!

Your branding, packaging, + Shopify bestie
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