As illustrators, designers, coders and artists, we perpetually live in a visual world at Fiasco Design HQ. New ideas are part of our day to day life, and we often get asked to provide advice and designs that help small and medium businesses establish their visual identity or help with the process of rebranding. With six years experience doing what we love, here are a few things we’ve observed when it comes to working successfully with teams on brand identity projects.
Have real world conversations
The work we do is in front of a screen, and in the case of our digital projects, it will be both delivered and consumed by people in front of a screen, so it is important to have those face-to-face, real world conversations with your client. Take the time to get to know the personalities behind the business and the brand, you’ll notice the difference in your work further down the line.
Listen to what your client wants…
…and then be prepared to offer your advice and put into play your expertise, but only after you’ve listened to theirs. This may sound obvious, but the key word here is listen. We enjoy spending a long time listening to what a client wants on brand identity projects, and their ideas and dreams for their business is always at the forefront of our mind. Be interested in the way they’d like the brand to look and feel and how they see any visual identity or branding exercise working for them. Listening to and working with businesses on this level is a vital part of a job as a designer.
“it is important to have face-to-face, real world conversations with your client. Take the time to get to know the personalities behind the business and the brand”
Ask the right questions
Ask the right questions and ask them early on. Part of a close working relationship with a team involves asking the right questions and getting a good understanding at the beginning of a project of who they are as people, their company culture, their competitors and customers or any unique stories that set them apart. Sometimes, these might not be the easiest questions to ask, or to answer, but don’t be afraid to draw them out of their comfort zone. Be curious, interested and intrigued.
Make yourself available as another member of their team
Part of working closely with a team during the design phase is to make yourself indispensable. Feeling like an extension of the team, whilst at the same time having the space to step back and analyse the brand from a different perspective, is important when it comes to successfully going through a brand identity project. Be available to the client and work with them, not for them.
We’ve learnt over time that believing in what you do and sharing that confidence is key to a good working relationship. We aren’t, and you certainly shouldn’t have to be experts at everything, but people hire you because they’re confident in getting the results they want. Inspiring confidence without arrogance is key – don’t be brash or dictatorial – just ensure the team you’re working with know you’ve listened and that you’re moving together in the direction they want.
“Sometimes, these might not be the easiest questions to ask, or to answer, but don’t be afraid to draw them out of their comfort zone. Be curious, interested and intrigued.”
Make time for feedback
When it comes to brand projects, often this process takes longer than expected, but part of working closely within a team is allowing your work the chance to have some space to bed in, mature and find its feet. Take a step back and schedule in some capacity within your team to review your work, critique it and allow it to evolve.
Help people out with the old
It’s natural that if the business you’re working with is going through a rebranding or change of visual identity, it can be confusing for many to understand what’s going and what’s staying. The branding of every company goes through its own journey, so be sensitive to what has been before and don’t disregard it completely.
“Listening to and working with businesses is a huge part of the job we love.”
Communicate your news and personality
This goes back to the idea of communication being key. Throughout the process, and even after the work is complete, don’t be afraid to show some personality within you as a team and be open, honest and transparent with the news you have to share.
Great relationships are built on trust and the more transparent you can be about your team and business the better your relationship with that client will be moving forwards.
Part of loving the industry we’re in is that it’s all about the people, working closely with client teams and helping them establish and grow their businesses through successful brand identity projects.