So you’ve finally decided that it’s time to level up your business’s visuals, but you’ve found yourself stressing out about decisions and the process of working with a designer. Outsourcing your business’s website design and the process of working with a designer can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of designers to choose from with varying processes and investment costs.
Do you need to hire a copywriter before investing in the design of your site? Do you need brand photography? Are you going to have to manage website edits on your own post-project? The list of questions you’ll be asking yourself before you invest is never ending, trust me.
But let me put you at ease a little. As a designer with years of experience, I’ve found a process that has been proven to work. My clients fall in love with their websites and feel confident to make edits on their own after working together.
To create a web home that will attract your ideal clientele, it’s important to start with your business’s branding. Brand Strategy and Identity Design is included in every one of my website design packages. Without branding, your business lacks the consistency and strategies that create a professional brand.
Before you invest, let’s dive into the process of working together in detail to leave you ready to say “YES” with absolutely no hesitation.
I like to start out every one of my projects with a complimentary discovery call. It gives us the chance to get to know one another and set expectations before ever commiting. You can schedule your discovery call by filling out the contact form on my website. Once you fill out the form, I’ll set aside time to review your inquiry. On our call, we’ll discuss what packages best fits your business needs. You’ll then receive a custom proposal detailing what’s included with each package.
Once you review the proposal, you’ll decide what package you’re ready to invest in (along with any add-ons!) Shoot me an email with your decision and let me know that you’re ready to book. I’ll send you a contract that outlines nitty-gritty details about our time working together, along with an invoice to pay your non-refundable deposit to secure your spot on my calendar.
When you’ve signed your contract and paid the deposit, you’ll receive onboarding materials including a Welcome Kit and custom portal in Notion, one of my absolute favorite business tools. In your Notion dashboard, you’ll find a video tutorial that outlines how to use it during our time working together. This dashboard was created to make the process of working together as streamlined as possible. As part of the onboarding process, you’ll complete a few action items in the dashboard that will help set us up for success.
The Pre-Project Assignments might seem overwhelming at a first glance, but they’re essential to the success of our project. You’ll answer questions about your business, your audience, and your aesthetic tastes to give me a better idea of how to create a project that you’ll love without sacrificing strategic design choices.
To kick off the project, we’ll meet for a strategy call on the first day of your project timeline. During this call, we’ll review your answers to the pre-project assignments and dive deeper into the “why” behind your business. I’ll use our findings from the call to conduct further research on my own, which includes taking a look at competitors in your marketplace to brainstorm how we can make your business stand out from the competition. All of these findings will be added to a strategy proposal and presented to you before we ever start looking at the designs for your business’s branding. It’s my job to not only make sure that you love what we create but to make sure the designs are backed with real reasoning and intentional design decisions.
As part of the strategy proposal, you’ll also be presented with a curated mood board. One of the pre-work assignments asks you to create a mood board (with an instructional video of course!) to help me get to know you and your aesthetic preferences. After working through the strategy, I’ll take a look at your mood board and fine-tune it to create a visual direction that matches you and your style, but still allows you to differentiate yourself and attract ideal clientele.
The final part of the Strategy + Visual Concepts Proposal is the color palette and typography curation. Based on the package you choose, your brand will include anywhere from 5 to 8 brand colors. It’s important to not go over that amount, as things can start to get a bit, well, chaotic. When creating color palettes for brands, I first like to consider color theory and the emotions that certain colors evoke. I’ll sometimes use an eyedropper tool to pull from the mood board, but always end up refining it and comparing the colors to my beloved Pantone swatch books. I’ll fine-tune the colors until I find a set that works well together and matches the direction of the project.
To create your typography collection, I use a fun little template I’ve created for myself behind the scenes to try out a bunch of different font combinations. With most projects, I present a font choice for headings, subheadings, and body copy, but will sometimes find an accent font depending on the project. Both the colors and font decisions will be presented to you in an easily digestible mockup so you can start to envision the direction your brand is headed before heading into the fun part.
With every logo design project, I always start out by sketching with good-old pencil and paper. Sketching gives me a way to get all of my ideas out of my head before ever touching the computer and assures you that the concepts I present are the best of my ideas. After sketching and deciding on a direction, I’ll either pull the sketch into my iPad to refine it or start brainstorming and refining it on my computer.
With every concept I present, I’ll show you all the logomarks and different colorways mocked up on collateral or stock photo backgrounds to help you grasp the feeling of what your brand will look like in a real-world setting. You need to spend time taking all of this in because as your designer, I want you to love your brand, but that doesn’t mean you’ll want to forget about the designs through the eyes of your customers, they are the most important people to consider after all.
After you leave feedback on the feedback form, I’ll spend some time making any refinements as necessary. Typically, every client gets to rounds of refinements, but that doesn’t mean they’re always needed, in fact, I’ve had plenty of projects where the design is approved right away!
When you leave feedback and your brand gets close to finalization, I’ll start finalizing your brand collateral as well. With every brand project, you’ll get the choice of up to two collateral pieces, which makes the value even better. Most clients choose a business card and email signature, but the choice is up to you!
Once this phase is wrapped up, the branding is complete! With every branding project, you’ll receive the project files in PNG, .JPG, .PDF, and .SVG formats. You’ll also get a comprehensive Brand Style and Strategy Doc that outlines colors, fonts, logo usage, and more. If we’re working together on your website, you’ll also receive the Content Writing Guide around this time.
So we’ve wrapped up the branding portion of our project. Now it’s time to create a digital home for your business that your audience will visit to find more information and become paying customers!
To answer a question a lot of clients have, no you don’t NEED to hire a copywriter, however, I strongly recommend it. Writing about yourself or your business can be hard. Copywriters are experts in finding ways to create beautiful messaging that leaves your clients saying “YES!” right away.
I will mention, however, that with every web project, I offer a complimentary Content Writing Workbook. If you choose this option for your copywriting, this will be your first assignment regarding the web portion of the project. The Content Writing Workbook is delivered to you as a Notion Dashboard (with video training!) and asks you to answer questions and prompts for the various pages of your website. Once your answers are complete, I will use my magic to funnel everything into a clean, easily readable document that serves as the copywriting document for your website. Later in the project, you’ll have the chance to review it, or you can choose to hire a copywriter for a VIP day to have them review it.
During this time, you’ll also need to complete the Website Research and Inspiration assignment to start thinking big picture and think about the functionality and look of your site.
As with every new phase, the web design portion of the project will start with a strategy call. After your Content Writing Workbook and pre-work assignments are complete, we’ll meet for a run-through call. We’ll discuss your answers and talk about likes and dislikes of other sites you’ve come across.
The wireframe of your website is essentially an outline of an essay. It’s the backbone of the website and helps us see the structure of how web elements will interact with each other. I’ll use the findings from our web strategy call to put together the wireframe, and present it to you in a super easy format that allows you to leave any comments directly on the page. Any website imagery will be due now, and you’ll receive a copy of your Content Doc that you can start reviewing to add your own personality to your web copy where needed.
The mockup of your site is the refined rough draft. Your mockup is designed to look and feel like the final website, just without the functionality. I’ll start adding in your brand colors, imagery, and other elements to present to you. The final sign-off on the Content Doc will be due during this phase.
You’ll want to make any last comments about major changes during the mockup phase. Once the mockup is approved, the site is pretty much set in stone. (With the exception of some changes that can be made during the web build..)
Now it’s time for me to be head down, and start building the site you’ve been dreaming of. During the first week of this phase, you may not hear from me, but that’s often a good thing! It means I’m busy behind the scenes working hard on your website. You may notice that you don’t see the web design on your end of the site platform of your choosing. That’s because I like to use my account first to make sure everything is in a good place before you sneak in and take a look. (Trust me, I know you’ll want to!)
Once the site is ready for review, I’ll let you know, and we’ll work together to make any last-minute refinements to links, images, and the like to prepare for launch!
While we’re making last-minute tweaks to your site, I’ll start working through my handy-dandy website launch checklist. I’ll start SEO setup to help your site appear on search engines and test out the functionality of your site. I’ll also test your site on different devices and screen sizes to make sure it works on multiple devices. You’ll have time to go through the site on your own if you want, but I’ll do all the heavy lifting.
And we’re coming to an end! Once the website is finalized and testing is complete, it’s time for launch! I’ll transfer any domains and admin ownership over to you. In every offboarding folder, clients receive launch graphics with mockups of their site to share on social media. The final folder also includes any other website elements that were used throughout the project. The custom training video is recorded in Loom. This video helps you learn how to make quick and easy website updates, without worrying about whether you’re “tech savvy” enough to manage it on your own.
I hope that you’ll find the process of working with a designer to be easy and streamlined, no matter who you work with. My goal is to set you up for success throughout our time working together. I want to give you the tools you need to feel confident and ready to chase your biggest business dreams.
If you feel ready to invest in your brand and/or website design, head to my contact page to get started.