Simona Cellar – Brand Designer – How balance matters in the design process
How balance matters in the design process
I recently celebrated my birthday and found myself in more than one festive event. Over the course of two weeks, I ate myself through many food fests. Although eating out is one of my favorite hobbies, it was way too much of it, all at the same time. It was an instant reminder how off-balance I felt, when I usually try to live a balanced life as much as I can.
When I talk about balance, I mean how every aspect of life is as important as the other. Living in balance happens by going at a reasonable pace to handle all different aspects of life and business equally.
«A slower approach allows one to build a solid foundation for longevity.» – Luanne Smith
According to this RollingStone article, there are 12 good reasons why slow growth in your business makes sense.
Some of them are:
- – It allows for mistakes
- – You can troubleshoot issues
- – You get the opportunity to create something better
- – Building a credible reputation takes time
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
When you think about your early days in business, you understood that growing too fast wasn’t going to work. You went at your own pace to put systems and processes into place to establish your company. You grew sustainably to accommodate the growing number of clients or customers. You did things at a reasonable pace that allowed you to find the best solutions for you.
This reasonable pace is also something I apply in my design process. It’s based on balance. Balance means that there is room for new ideas to evolve and grow. There is enough time for inspiration and exploration. It also means giving our selves enough time to be sure of all decisions that are made in each phase.
«You can’t go from zero to five. You have to go from zero to one.» – Dan Koe
Having a solid process is important. Having a process at all is important. When I hear about designs that are created within a short time frame, something must be off. It means that a lot of crucial elements have not been taken into consideration when creating the design.
Here’s how my design process looks like:
1. Brand Strategy and Visual Direction
A solid design process starts with the brand strategy. Either you’ve developed it with a brand strategist separately or it needs to be developed now, before we think about the visuals. The brand strategy needs to include your values, mission, customer journey, strengths and weaknesses, positioning, brand personality and tone of voice. It also includes all of the details of your business, your story, your offers, your struggles, successes and goals. We also collaborate on your visual direction, so we’re both on the same page when it comes to the visual language.
I dive into extensive research: What fits your industry, which design trends should be avoided, what are possible future visions and how do best practice examples look like. This is one of my favorite parts of the process, because I really get to dive deep into your world. I get inspired and find the small little details, that will make a difference in my solutions.
3. Concept development
In this phase exploration plays an important role. With all this research from the previous phase, I start sketching, try different things out, overthrow them, only to start over again. I take breaks, go to museums or do other unrelated design things (don’t worry, you’re not paying for this part) only to come back to my work with fresh eyes and ideas again. Ultimately this results in at least 3 concepts from which you can choose from.
4. Production and Refinement
Based on the chosen concept, I refine and expand the concept. For example, if I create a brand identity design, I’ll revisit and improve the logo, typeface selection(s), color palette, graphic elements and visuals before they get applied to any other touch points.
In this phase, I prepare the files and collaborate with the suppliers to manage the hand-over. The finished pieces are delivered to you. A good example is a print product. I adjust my design files to accommodate the production.
Depending on the project, you will also receive brand guidelines to keep your brand and its projects consistent. You can share and refer to the guidelines in the future.
My design process ensures getting meaningful results. And allowing more time within the process will lead to confident solutions me (as a designer) and you (as a business owner) can both stand behind. After trying many directions, only the good one is left standing. Quick fixes that are done without thought and within short times frames are not able to accommodate for that.