Category: Web Design

Let me introduce Career On Your Terms, founded and directed by Rikke Hansen  –  a frank London based business advisor helping ambitious individuals either  change career or focus their  entrepreneurship on building a successful business of their own.

Rikke doesn’t do things by half! Her honest, direct and powerful approach to the way she works gets you sitting up straight in your seat, buzzing with motivation and geared up for exciting change. Her rebrand has been an important step towards targeting more strong-minded, career focused employees who’ve found themselves stuck in high-ranking jobs that pay well but don’t satisfy their needs.

 

Logo Design, Brand Identity, Graphic Design, Corporate Identity

 

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The new look has been a joy to design and I’m proud to say features in the amazing How To Style Your Brand book by Fiona Humberstone. Do make sure you order your copy if you’re looking to brand or rebrand your business – it’s a brilliant resource for anyone keen to understand how to engage their ideal audience through compelling design.

 

 

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You can Tweet Rikke on @TheRikkeHansen or visit Career On You Terms, Rikke Hansen

 

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Let’s face it, branding or rebranding your business is tough enough without the worry of knowing how to translate all of your ideas to your designer.

It can be an overwhelming time but if you’re considering changing your business’s look then you’re already half way there…

…because you’ve acknowledged something isn’t right with what you have now.

Perhaps you’ve come to terms with the fact that what you have now just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore or maybe your business has grown so quickly it’s left your brand identity for dust? Perhaps you understand that keeping your branding up to date and ship-shape is the way towards winning more new and exciting opportunities? Whatever your reason, you’ll be passing all the responsibility of your business image into the hands of your designer and that’s a big challenge for any business owner.

Today I’d love to use my experience in the industry to share some simple tips on how to get the very best from working with your designer.

 

1. CLARIFY YOUR VISION

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OK. Grab a mug of tea, tuck yourself away in a quite room for a few minutes and start to get some clarity around what you actually want to happen for your business over the coming weeks/months.

First things first; write a shopping list of all the tangible things you want at the end of your project and roughly when you need them completed by, so for example, Logo/Brand Identity – 1 month, Website – 3 months, Stationery Printed – 1.5 momths, etc. It might seem daunting at first and they don’t have to be set in concrete but understanding what you need from the outset will give you and your designer a clear perspective, honest expectations and reachable targets.

 

2. GET INTO THE MINDSET

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It sounds obvious (and somewhat tedious) but it’s so important. At this early stage don’t get too wrapped up in what you want your new branding to look like, this is what you’re paying your designer to do!

Start to think about your business ethos in more detail and try to create a list of buzz words that best explain the impression you want your new branding to create. Steer clear of words like ‘professional’ or ‘quality’; these are a given in my book and are very subjective. So for instance, if you sell high-end watches then your buzz words might be expensive, glamorous, dramatic, innovative, edgy, etc. Your designer should incorporate these words in your brief and interpret them cleverly into your new branding.

 

3. STAY FOCUSED

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Don’t lose sight of why you started this journey in the first place.

The venture of rebranding can become overwhelming especially when you’re being pushed to think of your business in ways you hadn’t perhaps thought of before. Bear in mind that the passion and personality you have behind your business is very often a driving force for the design process so make sure you communicate this with your designer at the briefing stage. If there are brands out there already that hit the right chord with you then share them with your designer; it doesn’t mean they’ll copy them, it means they’ll have insight into what design style excites you and understanding this is often a large part of a designer’s challenge.

 

4. GO WITH YOUR GUT FEELING

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Stay grounded and true to your business values while you’re reviewing your new designs.

Remember you’re rebranding because it’s likely you understand your target market much more now than when your business started, so always have that ideal customer in mind and follow what your gut says they’ll be most attracted to. A great designer should challenge the way you think about your business, perhaps push you a little out of your comfort zone, yet be able to create designs that feel right. If it doesn’t feel right, tell them, and explain why it doesn’t feel right.

 

5. DON’T FALL OVER WHAT’S IN FRONT OF YOU

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Because you’ve invested so much financially, practically and emotionally into your project, a common mistake to make is to overanalyse your design.

There’s a fine line between staying focused on your brand values and simply thinking too hard; it’s an easy trap to fall into especially after you’ve seeing your first drafts. Suddenly what your designer has created feels overwhelmingly real to you and your business and if every element doesn’t have a compelling reason for being there then your whole brand is in jeopardy. No so. It’s perfectly OK to have elements that just ‘look great’ as long as the brand identity as a whole pulls together successfully and meaningfully. So try not to let yourself get hung up about whether the line under your tagline is 1.5mm thick rather than 2mm! A great designer will have already thought about this carefully.

 

6. GET FEEDBACK FROM THE PEOPLE WHO MATTER

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Sensible marketing research can be incredibly valuable if done properly, or equally confusing if not.

Avoid asking family or friends what they think of your new designs unless they’re fully involved with your business. Often feedback from these sources, regardless of how much you value their personal opinion, can be misleading. Ask staff and existing/potential customers; they’ll be honest because it’s in their interests to be and because they understand your service they’ll give the best advice. Having said this, try not to be governed by what they say, just review it with an open mind and critique your designs constructively. What overall impression do you get? Will it translate cohesively onto everything you need on your list? Does it make you excited at the thought of what it could do for your business? If you’re not sure then don’t be afraid to ask your designer, they will understand your brand message and how it will translate inside out.

 

7. RELAY FEEDBACK WITH CARE

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Your designer will be confident that what they’ve created feels right for your business but they won’t take criticism personally, they’ll just want you to be as clear and decisive as you can.

And try your best to get all of your feedback to them in one big hit whether that’s over the telephone, Skype or in one email. You’ll feel much better for structuring your thoughts this way and your designer will love you for being clear. There’s nothing more confusing for a designer than attempting to patch together 12 emails of conflicting comments over a 5 day period, especially when it’s obvious your thought-process is evolving as you write! So ask your designer any questions if you need to, let them know your initial reaction to the designs and then step back for a day or two, allow yourself time to digest them and resist leaping into writing that epic email until you feel ready. It doesn’t have to be long but a little space away from the project can spark new perspectives when you re-approach it.

 

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful! You’ll also get tremendous value from my 7 Secrets Series which includes How to get focused for your new brand identity where you’ll learn 7 brilliant stress-saving steps on how to smartly articulate your business values into a working brand identity brief, ready for your designer.

 





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