Tips For A Business Start-Up Working With A Brand Design Agency

Launching a Start-Up Business

What Should I Do Before Approaching A Brand Design Agency?

As a business start-up, you will have your business plan nailed down. But make sure you have also carried out some visual research of all your competitors’ and websites. If all your competitors offer the same thing, see how you can offer something unique that they aren’t. You should add or highlight a service your competition does not provide. The visual research you have carried out here will be useful to judge the end result of the design process you are engaging in.

Before approaching a brand design agency think about what companies inspire you and why. Find visual inspiration in images, colours, fonts or phrases that express what you intend to do with your own business. Combine these into a mood or inspiration board. Don’t speak generically and say you want to be professional, or witty, get specific about the words you use to express your brand. Dig a little deeper. What business people or companies do you think are professional? What do they do that makes you feel that way? If you want to be witty. Witty like who? John Cleese, Robin Williams, Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill?

You should expand and clarify these starting points. When you are communicating with a design company about specifically what you want to express. And how you want your customers to feel about your business venture.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

Lao Tzu

Finding A Brand Design Agency To Work With Your Business Start-Up

When picking a brand design agency to work with, ask friends or business associates if they have worked with any they would recommend. Word of mouth from someone who has been there and done it always far exceeds taking a stab in the dark. Failing that review sites such as Trustpilot could also help as well.

If these starting points haven’t been successful, draw up a list of local brand design agencies, based on your impression of their websites. Check that they have the experience and case study examples you desire. Don’t discard anyone from your shortlist too soon. Just because a design agency hasn’t had experience in your industry, this doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of doing an excellent job. Sometimes a fresh perspective can be better than a preconceived one.

Tips For A Business Start-Up WorPress Web Development

Can You Get On With Them?

Why not stop by the agencies on your list? In person meetings can give you a good idea of whether you can work together. The last thing you need is a personality clash halfway through a design project. Something to keep in mind is the larger the agency, the higher the overheads and the more expensive the charges will be.

What Kind Of Costs Should I Expect?

It depends on the brand design company’s experience, overheads, and daily fees. For example just a logo design will cost from around £500 up to £1000 or more. When dealing with a big design company costs will tend to vary. According to who is actually working on the project, a junior designer, a senior designer, or a partner. The brand design process takes 2 to 3 days depending on how busy the agency is at the time. If doing extended research or design revisions it will take longer.

You must spend money to make money


What Should I Get Designed First?

Always start with your logo and brand design first. But remember your brand is more than just your logo. Depending on your budget, brand agencies can create a brand style board which acts as blueprint for your brand to make sure everything is visually consistent. This will strengthen your brand. Consistency in the look and feel is critical to building brand value.

Do I Need A Content Management System For My Website?

If a website design is part of the project (the rough costs above are just for the logo design) you should opt for a content-managed website. WordPress is by far the most widely used and well-supported content management system. WordPress websites are easy to transfer, easy to amend and add onto later when your company grows. They also have a ton of plugins that will add any functionality you may need. Some of these you have to pay for, but there are a lot of free ones as well.

Tips For A Business Start-Up WorPress Web Design…

Should I Have A Blog?

In short, yes. Blogs are very well supported in WordPress as they started life as a blogging platform. Blogs are a handy way to add and refresh the content on your site. You can write a blog post on a keyword you would like to be indexed for. Publishing keyword-rich content will benefit your search engine optimisation (SEO).

The smallest company in the world can look as large as the largest company on the web

Steve Jobs

What Should I Expect From The Branding Process?

The branding process will vary from design company to design company. The brand design process usually starts with questions and research. Also, producing a copy line for your company is paramount. This is usually distilled from your mission statement or point of difference.

Initial sketches will be produced on the computer. These will look finished but can always be amended. Sometimes it is wise to show them in black and white before discussing colour. Often, the original designs are applied to the items you need, such as a brochure cover or a website home page design. This will help you to see how the branding for your business start-up will work in situ.

How Can I Judge If A Brand Is Any Good?

Branding is always subjective. If you have picked a creative agency that’s up to the task and given a good brief and explained clearly what you need – you should end up with a handful of great brand designs to pick from or develop further.

A quick checklist to judge against would be:

  • Is it appropriate?
  • Is it memorable?
  • Is it distinctive enough?
  • Is it simple?

You want something different to your competition and memorable to your target market. The aim is to stand out from your competition, so customers come to you first. You also need to judge if the proposed brands are appropriate for your business and industry. The brand you choose has to be simple, often with an icon that you can use small as a favicon or app icon for your business. Something that is easy to reproduce and you can see clearly at very small sizes is ideal.

What About My Social Media?

You will need to choose the social platform that is most suitable for your customers. Keep your social media to the essentials if you are a small business. Remember your social media will need updating on a regular basis. Don’t think it’ll be someone else’s responsibility to do this, it may well end up being yours. All social media should feed into your website. This is where you want all your customers to end up so they can buy from you. Social media is useless unless it is consistent and targeted.

There’s a lot of design preparation to do before opening your doors.

What Ongoing Business Design Costs Should I Expect?

Most branding/design agencies offer maintenance contracts for the websites they build. This is worth considering if you don‘t want to keep your site up to date yourself. Some even offer monthly retainers if you require ongoing graphic design support. Retainers usually specify the number of design hours the agency allocates to you each month.

It’s worth partnering with a brand/design agency if they have a good deal of experience. As they can support you in all kinds of ways, and they are always available for a friendly chat and advice. Remember they deal with all sorts of companies and will most likely have experienced and solved most problems with their own clients, over the years they have been operating.

I’m Geoff and I Managing Director of Breathe Creative. We offer all these services mentioned above. In fact, we are rather good at brand design, building websites and all aspects of design. I would be more than happy to chat about any brand or design projects my agency can help you with. Thanks for reading, and please feel free to contact me using the details below.

Why not download our guide: 12 essential tasks you need to consider to launch your new brand. Simply fill out the form on our New Brand page.