5 steps to work out WHICH brand designer to work with

January 25 2023

There is a whole ocean of brand-designing fish in the sea, and many are great with a similar price range. How do you go about narrowing down the options and choose a branding and logo designer to work with?

When starting thinking about rebranding, many people go to Instagram and Pinterest to start collecting ideas and advice. There’s a lot of information out there about why branding is important, and what good branding looks like, but not a lot about how to choose a designer. 

Do you just go with the person you relate to the most? The designer with the most experience and qualifications? (Hint: these mean nothing if you don’t actually like their brand designs) Do you choose the cheapest designer?

There are few key points to consider when trying to select a branding studio or designer to work on your precious business-baby. But rest assured, there’s a designer out there for everyone!

1. Write down why you want to rebrand

You need to understand the needs of your business and articulate them clearly to whoever you work with. So write down a few reasons why you’re thinking of rebranding. They could be related to business goals, business changes, even personal goals. 

This will be helpful for both you and the designer. Because design is ultimately problem solving, so you want a clear and hopefully quantifiable problem to solve that helps everyone stay on target throughout the process. At the end of 2022 I wrote a social post series about 4 goals branding can help you achieve if you need help working it out.

2. Make a short list of 5 brand designers who make work that you love

This seems basic, but you’d be surprised how many clients ask me to make work that is very different to my portfolio work. You want a designer who is familiar with the general style you think will work, as a starting point. Yes, some studios work in any style, and hire contractors as needed. If you’re looking at working with a solo designer, style familiarity matters more. 

Next, go through the websites/content of your shortlist and narrow the list down to those who seem to understand the problem you want to solve/goal you want to achieve AND work in a style you love.

This will be helpful for both you and the designer. Because design is ultimately problem solving, so you want a clear and hopefully quantifiable problem to solve that helps everyone stay on target throughout the process. At the end of 2022 I wrote a social post series about 4 goals branding can help you achieve if you need help working it out.

Photo of woman sitting writing in a planner wearing white pants and rust coloured top

3. Book a discovery call with the top 2 designers on your shortlist

Communication and rapport is a big part of the design process. Book a call with the last 2 designers and see how it feels to chat to them. Do they ask questions and listen carefully? Or do they put their ideas onto you? Do you feel comfortable telling them what you really think (kindly!)? Can you imagine talking to them regularly for a month or 2?

When I first speak to potential clients, I like to leave plenty of space for you to ask questions, tell me your dreams, fears and preferences and guide you on the best way forward for you. Sometimes, that means not working with me right now!

4. Budget

If you’re looking to rebrand, you’ve probably already started thinking about budget. For professional, high quality branding expect to pay between $2k-$50k+ depending on your business size, goals, and project complexity. 

As a rough guide, I’d recommend spending no less than $2000 on branding. If your budget is less than $2k, DIY for now, then build your services/products and clientele to save up for it. 

Businesses 1-3 years old are probably ready for a basic branding package that sets them up for the next phase. For established business, the cost of branding should be around 10-15% of your marketing budget. 

During the discovery calls with your short list, tell the designer your honest budget constraints (if you have them) and see how they respond. Are they willing to work with it? Do they have ideas about how to help you decide on a budget? Or do you feel pressured to spend way more than you’re comfortable with? Remember this is about you and your needs!

5. Trust your gut

A service like branding and logo design, although a business decision, can bring up lots of emotions. We’ll talk about reputation, pricing, positioning, visibility, quality, customer experience/expectations, revenue goals. So if by now you’re still not sure and there’s no clear winner (but there are two designers whose work you love), choose the person you trust most to take on your vision, treat it with care and listen to you with an open mind.

Ultimately, you’re not just searching for a designer who makes the best logos. You need the most perfect logo and branding, backed by strategy for you and your business. And to get there, you need a collaborative relationship with your designer.

You need to understand the needs of your business and articulate them clearly to whoever you work with. So write down a few reasons why you’re thinking of rebranding. They could be related to business goals, business changes, even personal goals. 

This will be helpful for both you and the designer. Because design is ultimately problem solving, so you want a clear and hopefully quantifiable problem to solve that helps everyone stay on target throughout the process. At the end of 2022 I wrote a social post series about 4 goals branding can help you achieve if you need help working it out.

Ready to cook up a delicious brand?

Photo of Candice leaning against a textured white wall in the sunshine and smiling. She has long curly hair and a colourful jacket on.

Candice is the founder of Design Salad, a strategy loving design studio helping climate-consious women business owners shine brighter than ever before.

Design Salad specialises in thoughtful brand strategy and unique brand identities infused with artistry. 

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