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An Honest Look Into The Design Process

Whenever I onboard a new client, I always get asked about 10,000 questions about our process—which is totally valid! Dox Design does our best to be as transparent as possible to give clients a step-by-step timeline of what we’ll be doing for your project and when… but we’d be lying if we said we were never guilty of using industry jargon that is mostly foreign to non-designers. Whoopsie!

It’s not uncommon to see our clients’ eyes glaze over when we tell them things like, “We’ll be delivering your concepts next week!” Or, “We’ll be starting with a mood board exploration for this project.” …Concepts? Mood Board? Say whaaat? But now’s the time to put an end to the confusion!

Let me walk you through a 100% transparent look into our branding and design process (with visuals, of course!) Again, for transparency’s sake, this example is of a branding project that we started with a client that ended up not being implemented which brings us to probably the most important part Step One! Ready or not—let’s jump in.

Step One: Questionnaires & Soul Searching

Before we dig into any branding or design work, we have a serious chat with our clients to undercover if they’re truly ready for a brand overhaul sometimes (as in this case) clients love the new brand direction (colors and such) but cannot let go of their current logo.

In the example we’ll be following in this post, we were approached by a Midwest-based dog food delivery service to create a new logo and consistent branding (social media, colors, type, etc.) for the business as they expanded into retail, they are awesome people that bring healthy pet food to our fur friends (so go show them some love.)

At the end of the day, the client wasn’t ready to pull the trigger on new logo but all the other work we did helped get them in a cohesive direction and got them to really think about their brand. While a rebrand is definitely a process that takes a huge commitment (time, dedication, and money) to implement, believe us when we say it is absolutely worthwhile if you’re ready to take your business to the next level. The proof is in the dog bowl ;)—check out how our clients DOUBLED their sales by implementing a new brand here. 

This is why step one is so important: Are you for realz ready to rebrand? Like for real change your logo on everything ready? Like for real ready to let that old logo go? 

In this step, we ask the deep soul-searching questions, like:

Why do you want a new brand?
Are you ready for a new brand?
What needs to be updated?
Are you ready for us to be honest and give you the facts?
Do you want to appeal to your target audience? 
Do you have a plan of attack?
Do you want us to create one for you?

We need to know WHY before we start designing so we can make sure you are getting the results you and your customers want.

Old Logo

New Logo

If you’re ready for the process, the end result to your rebrand will look just as drool-worthy as Lake Erie’s rebrand above. To the left, you’ll see Lake Erie’s original logo compared to the brand-new logo we created for them.

One of the main issues with Lake Erie’s former logo was the readability and complexity to reproduce. In the original logo, you can see the line work was too detailed to that point that when scaled down, the logo was illegible and nearly impossible to reproduce when screen-printing or stamping. For the new logo Dox Design created, we decided to go with a “badge” approach and drew inspiration from craft foods and premium butcher shops (more details on that below). The current logo they used was always black on white which came off a bit harsh, so we decided to use create the new logo in a softer brown on tan to convey a warm and inviting feeling. 

So, how did we get to this final logo and why did we pick the colors we did? See our visual process below—aka the fun stuff! 

Step Two: Mood Boards and Inspiration 

On of our favorite parts of the process is getting our office messy with inspiration by pulling together mood boards. To start, we print and hang color palettes that resonate with the new brand direction, other logos that have a similar vibe for what we’re going for, images, and textures onto our walls. In this example, since we knew that Lake Erie wanted to communicate community, warmth, and fresh food, we naturally thought of a local, sustainable butcher: a trusted place to get that ultra-premium cut of beef for your family. Similarly, we wanted Lake Erie to be the go-to place to get that premium dog food for your furry friend.

You can see from this office shot that we started to pull images that drew on this inspiration. After spending time digesting all of the images we gathered, we begin to make quick sketches of all the logos that come to mind (the scribbles you see on the post it notes).

Step Three: Sketching

Next, we take those rough concept sketches and turn them into complete ideas that our team can digitally execute. Dox Design works with a slew of  expert designers that help us craft B-E-A-utiful logos. We called on one of our illustration experts and gal pals Devon for this project since we knew we wanted a hand-drawn feel for this logo. She helped to elevate our rough concepts by honing in on the details for us to digitally execute and give that “crafty” feel. 

Step Four: Concepts, Ideas, and Options OH MY!

Next comes our absolute faaavorite part of the process when we take all that messy behind-the-scenes work and create a presentation of concepts for our clients. At Dox Design, we’re firm believers that a brand is more than a logo, so we strive to play out our concepts beyond a brand mark. That means instead of a bunch of logos carelessly slapped on a piece of paper, we take it one step further to think about how that concept will live in the world. We come up with color palettes, typefaces, images and more to show you what we’re really, actually thinking for that particular concept.

The number of concepts we come back with to present will vary depending on your budget, but we pride ourselves on providing our clients with a variety of options in all of our client packages so we can really hone in on what speaks to you. We even go as far as to start designing some actual pieces (in this case, an ad) to show you how all the elements come together. 

See the whole presentation we delivered here. 

Concept 1

Concept 2

Concept 3

Step Five: Winner, Winner!

After we present our initial concepts, we give you some time to mull it over and pick your favorite one. In this case, the clear winner was Concept 2! We always ask for feedback that we can implement into the new brand, and in this case, our client loved the feel of Concept 2, but wanted us to incorporate the typeface of Concept 3, the paw of Concept 1, and keep a darker brown color in the color palette. Once you submit all your feedback, we make all necessary edits and present you with the final logo in the format of brand guidelines. 

Step 6: Building Off The Final Logo

Don’t worry—we’d never send you off without a full list of brand guidelines! The brand guidelines that Dox created for our clients are considered the “holy grail” of your new brand. We go in-depth about what typefaces to use and how to use them. We also give you a custom color palette to use across social media, packaging, and marketing materials. Heck, we even give you all the different color formulas you’ll need to change the colors on your website or print materials! And of course, Dox adds special designer touches to your brand by sending you additional brand elements to use with your logo. We even pull together a custom stock photography library of images for you to use on social media, printed materials, and more. Last but not least, we create branded social media templates for Facebook, Instagram, etc. to familiarize your customers with the new look. 

See the entire brand guidelines of this project here. 

Brand Elements

Color Palette

Social Media

…And Now You Have A #DroolWorthy Brand!

After it’s all said and done, we deliver all the final files along with your brand guidelines to implement your new brand. We send over all the logo files you need, social media templates, illustrations, icons, and a new cover photo and profile photo to upgrade your social channels and launch your new #droolworthy brand. No matter what stage your business is in, we love giving you all the tools you need to succeed. 

So, there you have it: a step-by-step look into our design process—all the messy behind-the-scenes work, the final files, and even some of the never-before-seen work we do here at Dox Design. Is it everything you hoped it would be? We sure hope so. 😉 

Are you wanting to go through this process? Hit that Hire Us tab and let’s work together! 

Ready to make your customers beg for more?