The discovery meeting is probably my favourite part of the whole process. This is where we'll take a deep dive into strategy. Firstly, we'll define the goals of the project to make sure we're on the same page all the way through. Next, we'll write profiles for your users, customers, clients or whomever your project is aimed at. The key here is going to a really granular level to understand the decision making of human beings, rather than the patterns of demographics on spreadsheets. Once we know who we're going to be appealing to, then we break down the characteristics of the brand firstly on a visual level, then messaging, then with a focus on interactivity. From here, I'll produce three stylescapes.
The first thing we'll do is have a chat about what you do, what problems you're running into, and what I can do to help. Once we know what your project is and where you want it to go, we can look at what solutions are going to be the best fit for you and the way you work. But also, you can see if you think we'd be a good fit to work with each other, and there's no risk because this call is completely free. Once we've agreed on the parameters of the project, we'll move on to a discovery meeting. In this example case, a keyboard player called Jack wanted to get more session work, and to establish a brand that would prove his commitment and authenticity as a musician.
At this stage, you'll choose which direction you want to go in. Again, the idea is to make sure you’re involved in every stage of the process so we work in lockstep and the final product is a genuine reflection of what you’re all about. The boards here were called “Big Bang Overdrive”, “Glissando” and “Paper & Paste”, and Jack selected the latter.
The stylescapes are like tightly curated mood boards for brands. They represent a broad direction that the design of the brand could go in, using colour, type, form, texture, imagery and spacing. Nothing on these boards are designed specifically for this stage in the process, it's all about collecting sources of inspiration from pre-existing works and bringing them together in a way that tells a story (as pretentious as it sounds) about what you represent.
The conversation that springs from these stylescapes is really important, as Jack and I delved into what exactly was appealing, we honed in the sky blue and rust red of the Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires poster. We began to talk about the importance of a sense of Americana (Jack's from Oregon you see), the idea of an adventurous spirit and wanting the final product to be a super simple design that people would actually want to wear on merch.
After the stylescapes step, this part is actually very simple. Drawing from the conversations we've had the whole way through the process, I’ll go away and design three logo options. These explore a slightly different element of the project and target audience and leave you with the final choice. Depending on budget, you can opt to include a iteration or two at this stage of the process, but no one has wanted to use it yet, every single client I’ve worked with has fallen in love with a logo at this stage and gone ahead with it. In this case, Jack went straight for the sun and bird design in the middle.
The last step isn't as flashy, but it's absolutely vital. The last thing I'll do is write you a styleguide. A styleguide is like a brand manual and it contains everything that you need to know in order to keep everything consistent and on-brand. If all the logo variations, colours, fonts, Instagram templates are the ingredients, this document is the recipe. But don't worry, you'll get all the ingredients (like, ALL of them). You'll get every conceivable combination of your colours, the social media stuff, the HEX codes, the watermarks, the everything. And then, once you've got this, you're ready, you get to finally launch your project!