- Hire a designer. Afford to be picky. Find someone who is on board with your idea and your vision—quick $99 fixes online are not always the answer. A designer with a sketchbook and clear process will be your best friend. Make sure preliminary conversations are beyond a portfolio review, ideally meet your designer face to face and pitch them as you would any potential investor. If they understand the concept and have buy-in, your passion will translate into their work.
Negotiate your brand package. There are multiple parts to a brand so make sure you are accounting for all the pieces you might need. Arrange a contract that will leave you completely set up to create consistency across all your materials moving forward. Packages can include, but are not limited to:
- Vector-based original files (if the designer is planning to build your logo in Photoshop, run for the hills!)
- Print- and web-ready versions of the logo in chosen colours, black and white and reversed variations.
- Font files and rights to the chosen typeface.
- Branding Guidelines – This will be invaluable in creating consistency. It will specify colour codes (CMYK, RGB, Pantones) and typefaces, as well as contain logo size and usage recommendations, ideally allowing you to take the reigns on simple projects without always having to run back to a designer for help.
- Additional supporting materials: business cards, letterhead, envelopes, templates, email signatures etc.
- Lay the foundation. At the beginning of any branding process, you are the greatest tool a designer can have to build your brand efficiently. Knowing your market, your goals, your expectations and limitations will greatly assist your designer in getting started.
- Be flexible and collaborative. This may be obvious, but the iterations and conversations you have with your designer are the most valuable part of hiring them. The more involved you can be in the process, the happier you'll likely be with the results. Every designer and company is different, so working together to establish processes and expectations will allow for smooth development.
Creating a Brand for Startups, Pt. II