Behind the Scenes Look at My Branding Process


Chances are, as a new small business owner, you probably never worked with a brand designer in the past, and have no idea how the branding or design process works. 

So it only makes sense that before forking over your credit card, you probably have more than a few questions you’ll need answered about how the whole thing works and what you can expect (unless you’re like Fry from Futurama, no judgement if you are 😉 ) 



I’m hoping by sharing my step-by-step design process with you that it will help answer any questions of what the heck I’m doing over here, and how I take your vision and turn it into your dream brand. 

And if you’re looking for the TLDR version of my process, head over to the process section of my services page here.

So let’s get into it! 

First Steps

The very first step after you have inquired and are happy with my services, is choosing your start date and package, and any add-ons, followed by signing the contract and making your first payment.

This sounds like a lot of steps, but it’s all actually done in one easy step, with everything being done on the proposal through Dubsado

Shortly after, you’ll be onboarded to Asana, a project management software, which I will use for our time together to communicate and keep projects on track and in one place.  



Okay, stay with me here, for me to better fully understand you and your brand, I do have to ask you to complete just a little bit of homework. But it’s fun homework, I promise!

Client homework consists of a thorough brand discovery questionnaire, and curating a Pinterest board full of anything that evokes a particular feeling or emotion you want your brand to portray. 

I’ll use your Pinterest board later on, to create a moodboard and set the tone for the creative direction. 

I always invite my clients to join in on the moodboard creative process because let’s face it, no one knows your business and brand vision better than you do. 




Before I start designing anything, I put together a brand strategy document. 

This is usually a 10-15 page PDF that goes over areas such as brand voice, ideal clients, sales journey, competition analysis, etc.  

Brand strategy is essential to attracting your dream clients, connecting your business with your vision, and to stand out from your competition, and one of my favourite steps in the entire creative process. 



After the brand strategy is approved, I get to work putting together a creative direction presentation. 

This is where I’ll use images from your Pinterest board to create a moodboard, and explain the vibe and potential execution option of where I see us taking your brand.




Once we have nailed the overall vibe of your branding, I’ll start the design process! 

Before I do any digital design, I like to first sketch out my ideas on paper. This is the quickest and most efficient way to get ideas out of my brain and start to turn them into something real, which later I will re-create in Adobe Illustrator. 



Here at Vanilla & Oak, I like to look at the bigger picture, and at your brand as a whole, versus separate elements. 

This means when developing, I don’t just work on one part of your branding at a time, then move onto the next. 

Sometimes inspiration strikes with putting together a web design layout first, or experimenting with shapes and typography, which then strategically leads into the design of the rest of your brand such as logos and marks. 

Using the one concept method, I will then put together a throughout presentation of your brand as a whole. 

The one concept method does not mean it’s one and done. 

Instead, it means I’ll put all my time, energy, knowledge and creative juices into your brand as a whole, to present to you the best concept and vision I see for your business.



Each project has two refinement rounds included. Two for brand design and development, and another two on web design. 

I choose to use the word “refine” instead of “revise”, as revise sets up the notation that something is wrong with the design, and pits us against each other from the very beginning. 

I am a huge believer in a collaborative approach between myself and my clients, so I want our time together on your project to feel as if we have combined our expertise to develop the best possible outcome for your brand and business. 

So instead, I use the word refine, as in we are working on your concept to make it even better. 



At this stage, if you have chosen an add-on collateral items for your brand, I’ll get to work on them. 

This can be business cards, flyers, price sheets, the list goes on and on! (you can take a look at some more examples here

You will get to review the collateral designs and request any small tweaks before they are finalized and handed over. 



Launch time baby! The most exciting part. Where I get to give you all the tools to take your new brand into the word. 

Once your final balance is settled, all your files will be handed off via a shared Google Drive file.

File types included are PNG, SVG, JPG, and the original Vector AI file. There will also be PDF copies of all the presentations and quick reference sheets. 

I also separate these files into ‘For Web’ and ‘For Print’ to make sure everything is laid out to be easy and understandable. 

There might even be a few bonus pieces in there for you… but I don’t want to spoil the surprise 😉 


And there you have it! The branding process from start to finish here at Vanilla & Oak Design Studio. 

If you have any questions, shoot me a message! 



*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.



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