I can’t help it, I just love to talk about design

Hopefully you’ll find these articles helpful! Maybe even insightful?



Identity Design Guide for Clients

We all know how important first impressions can be, so it’s vital that you make yours an accurate, positive and lasting one. Get it wrong and it could be damaging. Get it right and it will do the talking for you! Your brand is essentially a representation of you – it’s the lasting emotional connection that users associate with your business once they experience it. Branding encompasses everything from your visual identity, products, services, marketing campaigns and online presence to your store, staff, customer service and everything in between. You are unique and your brand should reflect this. You want who customers think you are to match who you really are.

The design process however is not always an easy or straight-forward one, as design is rather subjective in nature. In order to create an effective solution, both the designer and client must work closely together to communicate their individual ideas and requirements. With this in mind, below you’ll find a list of topics (or the 6 D’s as I like to refer to them) to consider when contacting your chosen designer.  Answering these questions will not only help you determine what exactly it is you are looking to achieve, but also aid your designer in gathering the necessary creative brief for the project so that they can fully understand your specific goals – the result of which will be a solution that will not only match, but hopefully exceed your expectations.

1. Description

  • Is this a new project or a re-design of an existing brand?
  • Describe your current business, product or service
  • Could you specify your main business goals and objectives?
  • Who will be the main decision maker(s) on this project?
  • Who are your main competitors and what differentiates/sets you apart from them? Why should customers choose you over them?

2. Definition

  • Who is your primary target audience? This could be based on demographics such as age range, race, gender, employment level, social & economic conditions, education, income or geographic location
  • Do you offer your target market anything that others do not? Competitive advantage?
  • What problem does your current business, product or service solve for customers?
  • What will be your main source of advertising? How and where will a potential client discover your business? Newspapers, magazines, directories, print marketing materials (posters, flyers, leaflets, brochures), online (website, email, social media etc)

3. Decision

  • What impression would you like your business to create for customers who experience it?
  • What keywords best describe how you would like your business to be portrayed going forward? Trust, loyalty, dependability, traditional, corporate, professional, established, edgy, modern, high-tech, fun, creative etc.
  • What would you like your new logo/identity to accomplish? Stand out from the competition, highlight a new product/service, upgrade the outdated image etc
  • If you have an existing brand, why is it currently not working for you?
  • Is there a unique story behind your business or business name? Family business etc
  • Is there anything specific associated with the your business that is important to emphasise?

4. Design

  • Are there any specific elements you would like to see incorporated in your logo? Icons, symbols, imagery, characters etc
  • Do you have a tag line or slogan for your business which needs to be included?
  • Do you have any colour preferences or existing brand colours which must be adhered to? Existing brand guidelines
  • Are there any restrictions on the design?
  • List/provide links to 5 logos that you like or feel worked well? Explain what caught your attention or why were you drawn to those in particular
  • Similarly, list/provide links to 5 logos which you believe do not work well and explain why…

5. Distribution

  • Where will the logo primarily be used and in which mediums? Printed materials, website, signage, vehicle, clothing (embroidery), merchandise, products etc
  • Are there any production restrictions or considerations? Size, colour, format etc

6. Deliverables

  • Is there a time frame or specific deadline for project completion?
  • Please provide your project budget? Ballpark figures will suffice
  • Will you require any other design services in addition to a logo? e.g. stationary, print marketing material (posters, flyers etc), website presence…

Should you have a particular project in mind, I’d invite you to take a look at my Project Kickstarter. It’s essentially a short questionnaire (similar to the points above) which will allow you to explain a little more about your project – just so I can provide a better and response!

View my Project Kickstarter now!

  1. Liam Tracey / October 15, 2010

    Excellent article. Well done on putting them into perspective like that!

  2. Alyssa / October 30, 2010

    Great checklist! This could definitely help clients be more prepared when talking to a designer.

  3. Nikhil / November 20, 2010

    I enjoyed reading it. Covererd details very intelligently.

  4. sheena / November 23, 2010

    Thanks Nikhil. Keep up the good work yourself.

  5. Cre8ive Commando / November 30, 2010

    Nice work with the “6 D’s”. I only wish my clients came to me with ONE “D”, let alone 6! LOL! ;-)

  6. sheena / November 30, 2010

    Thanks Adham. Me too! But at least now they have something to think about :)

  7. Louise / May 04, 2011

    Hi Sheena

    Listened to your presentation today at MOCC, great, very informative and this article also looks really useful too.

  8. sheena / May 04, 2011

    Hi Louise,

    Thanks. I’m really glad you found it informative :) If you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to ask.

  9. Amit Pallath / October 06, 2012

    Fabulous article! I came across your website’s link in Chris Spooner’s “line25.com” where he had presented a collection websites to check out. Yours is the first website I clicked on, because as you have aptly put “first impressions count” and in this media and information frenzy world you only have a split second to capture the audience. That is exactly what you did with this site. Fantastic layout and colour combination, also very simple to navigate and to the point information with a zing factor added to each write-up. The checklist you have posted here is an ideal way to start about before taking any design initiative. Keep up the good work!

  10. sheenaoosten / October 06, 2012

    Thanks Amit for stopping by and for your lovely comments. Always nice to hear your work is appreciated!

  11. Anika Samples / January 27, 2013

    GREAT article! I’ve just recently made the move into the freelance design world and this has helped me so much with branding projects. Thanks for sharing!

  12. sheenaoosten / January 28, 2013

    You’re very welcome Anika. I’m really glad you found it helpful. Best of luck with the freelancing!

  13. [...] 1.  Define your brand identity:  Surprisingly, many start ups struggle to define their brand identity due to fear of not making the right choices or fear of looking like an amateur.  This shouldn’t be difficult if you ask the right questions and answer them with your heart, having this laid out will help the designer to save time and spend more hours designing your brand.  Great article on this http://www.sheenaoosten.com/blog/identity-design-guide-for-clients/ [...]

  14. Web design firm / October 19, 2013

    Nice blog. I have recently completed my site from freelance developers and they did a good job. Your tips of design will help me in future.

  15. Emarc / October 31, 2013

    I am working as a freelancer and your design guide helps me a lot. You have great ideas of design. Keep sharing these ideas. Thanks!

  16. jump / November 01, 2013

    This is actually very close to what we use at our company. The wording are different but the structure is the same. I can see that this is much easier for the Freelancers to use and follow though. Great post Sheena.

  17. Mayowa / November 25, 2013

    I loved this article. The Project Kickstarter is very on point!! Very very.

    (Redefinition of strategy,in progress) (y)

  18. Vanessa / April 03, 2014

    Amazing list! Super helpful for a freelancer starting out! Can’t thank you enough!


  19. sheenaoosten / April 03, 2014

    You’re very welcome @Vanessa. I’m happy to hear you found it helpful. Nice blog by the way!


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