An In-Depth Look At My Brand Design Process


I am Jess! Ottawa brand strategist and website designer helping ambitious service-based businesses grow with confidence through meaningful design. I'm the type of gal that use one too many exclamation mark in my emails and can only have one cup of coffee a day. Weird, I know. If you ever want to chat any thing biz, branding, or well - life, feel free to reach out!










Are you a small business owner looking to rebrand your business? In this post, I will be sharing my comprehensive 6-step Brand Design Process!

Ever wonder how some of your favorite brands took off so quickly? No, I am not talking about big brands like Anthropologie, Nike, or Lululemon. I am talking about people you know (ie. Rebel Office, Tracey Jazmin) or even small businesses that you walk by on a Saturday afternoon (ie. bluboho, Pure Yoga). I’d say one of the main reasons why is that they invested in the brand design process — with a focus on brand strategy.

Crafting a strong, memorable, and strategic brand takes time, patience, and consistency. It doesn’t happen with a flick of a switch. However, when you have a blueprint that guides you through making big, scary business decisions, you have that sense of clarity and support to anchor you.

Every brand designer has their own way of doing things which is what makes this industry so unique and beautiful. Today, I want to talk a little bit more about my process and also give you a sense of what it’s like working with me. So, without further ado, here’s what you can expect during my Brand Design Process:

Discovery Questionnaire

Most of the time, my clients don’t 100% fully know what to expect undergoing a full rebrand as they are usually coming to me from a ‘DIY brand’ or just a logo, which is why I like to kick off the brand design process with a brand discovery questionnaire. Some designers prefer to skip this step and move straight to the workshop but I actually think it gives them a chance to sit with their responses and get them in the right state of mind prior to our brand strategy workshop together.

I know what you might be thinking — isn’t it repetitive to have the questionnaire AND the workshop? Maybe… but it really depends on what your intent is for both of these steps. For my process, I use the questionnaire to get to know the client a bit more and then, in turn, use their responses to guide the strategy workshop so that we can dig a bit deeper.

Some of the questions in my Discovery Questionnaire look like this:

  1. What about your story is significant to what you do now?
  2. How would you describe your personal style? (Ie. Home Decor, Fashion, Books, Music…) 
  3. How do you want your clients to feel when they interact with your brand?
  4. What are 3 brands/businesses that you love? What do you love about them and why?
  5. Do you have any specific design considerations within your industry you want to stay away from? If so, please let me know why.

From their responses, they are also provided with a collaborative Pinterest Board where they are encouraged to only spend 20 minutes and to pin images that are relevant to the adjectives or sensory words they put in their questionnaire. No logos, palettes, or any of that sort.

Brand Strategy Workshop

Once the questionnaire is submitted back to me, I take 5-7 days to review their responses in preparation for the Brand Strategy Workshop. For us, the workshop lasts about 2-2.5 hours at the bare minimum! While the questionnaire sets a good foundation for some of their personal stories and preferences, the strategy workshop is where I can get to hear them speak in their voice and have them elaborate on some of their responses.

Additionally, we dive deeper into the core strategy elements of their dream brand, including brand personality, competitor analysis, and target audience which were not covered in the questionnaire. I prefer to tackle these sections face-to-face because it gives me an opportunity to have a real, honest conversation about where they want to take their business, the challenges they are experiencing, along with goals they want to achieve.

Do they want to pivot directions to attract a higher-end audience?
Are they looking to completely revamp their offerings?
Is the goal to simplify their offerings because their messaging is confusing or generic?

By gaining a deeper understanding of their what, how, and why, I am able to step back and take a more holistic look at their brand.

Related Post: 5 Questions To Ask To Get To Know Your Ideal Client

Brand Blueprint & Creative Direction

Here’s where the magic happens! The Brand Blueprint phase is where I compile, analyze, and synthesize the “data” from the brand questionnaire, brand strategy workshop, and my own personal research. This process usually takes me about 10 days to put together and is something I do not want to ever rush as it builds the foundation of a brand.

The Brand Blueprint is broken down into three phases:

  1. Discovery
  2. Messaging
  3. Expression

In the Discovery phase, we take an objective look at my clients’ brand, specifically surrounding their Brand Heart (a.k.a. mission, vision, aspiration, and values), Competitor SWOT Analysis (what their industry peers are doing), and Target Audience (understanding the demographics and psychographics of their clientele).

In the Messaging phase, we begin building the brand persona by exploring aspects such as brand voice, brand archetypes, and brand impact. This also gives me an opportunity to peel back the curtain and laser in on what makes their brand different by developing their brand’s value proposition statement and brand promise. Once this is identified, we take the mission statement, vision statement, brand values, and value proposition statement and translate them into a core messaging framework to anchor the brand too. Lastly, we take it a step further and analyze the branded journey to assist with content creation and sales so that we can curate a smooth and seamless journey for their target audience to embark on.

In the Expression phase, this is where we translate everything that we have compiled together visually into a creative direction through color psychology and font psychology. A brand inspiration moodboard is put together to communicate the overall brand essence and is what drives the logo development and brand identity stage!

Brand Identity Design

The fun begins once the brand blueprint is approved! With an approved creative direction and color palette, I begin designing various logo concepts to bring the brand vision to life.

🌟 Something to take note of is that I use the One Concept Method when preparing a brand concept presentation. Rather than barrel through the process just to create endless logo options and remind you what decision fatigue is like, I’ll present one fully designed brand concept from start to finish – backed up by the strategy we built together and overall vision. This way, you are able to visualize your brand in its full entirety rather than just a piece of it. Not to worry, there are two opportunities for refinements to perfect the presented elements. 

During the brand identity design process, I usually include the following elements in the brand presentation:

  1. Primary Logo
  2. Alternate + Secondary Logos
  3. Brandmarks + Favicons
  4. Brand Patterns, Textures, or Illustrations
  5. Color Palette & Font Recommendation
  6. “Brand In Action” Mockups
  7. Social Media Applications

To me, the sweet spot is designing something that embodies who you are but also what will attract your ideal client.

Related Post: 7 Telltale Signs It Might Be Time For A Rebrand

Brand Guidelines

Once the brand identity concept is approved, we will begin working on any other requested collaterals. This looks different for each client depending on their goals and business – such as: social media templates, media kits, business cards, lead magnet designs, and more.

One of the most important collaterals I put together is the Brand Guidelines, also known as the Brand Playbook. This includes in-depth instructions on how to use your brand consistently – both digitally and in print. I always recommend sharing this document with any external contractors that you work with so that they are also aware of the overall visual direction (i.e. printers, social media managers, copywriters).

🌟 Remember, a brand is only strong when it is consistent throughout all touchpoints — in visuals, messaging, and actions. It takes 5-7 impressions for potential clients to start recognizing your brand… and even more for them to become familiar and wanting to take action. Therefore, the more consistent you are on different channels, the more beneficial it is to build brand recognition and awareness!

Launch Strategy

Last but not least, it’s time to plan for the launch! Our time together doesn’t just end abruptly because all the files have been delivered to you. I like to wrap things up with a Success Guide + 1:1 call to chat how we can maximize your rebrand launch. Some things we go over on the call are:

  • What’s the best time to launch?
  • How do we prepare for it? (Think visuals, content, and platforms)
  • What are some goals or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) we want to hit?

By asking the right questions and creating a plan of action, we are able to launch with purpose and get in front of those ideal clients that we spoke about!

Curious as to how we can work together?

I am proud to stand behind my Brand Design process. Some of my clients’ most notable achievements from working on their brand straetgy and design together look like:

  1. Pivoted their entire brand and went from charging $3,500 to $15,000 on their packages
  2. Brought in over $20K on their Black Friday sale within 3 days of promotion
  3. Honed in their messaging and landed 3 dream clients before even launching their business publicly!

All that to say, if you have gotten this far and are interested in elevating your business together, I’d love to have an honest, real conversation about how I can help!


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