An Honest Look Inside My Design Process

I’ve talked a lot about my design process in the past.

I’ve covered how I onboard clients and offboard clients. I’ve written about my client process and daily routine. I’ve even covered making the switch to the one concept approach.

But, I’ve never really shared a true behind-the-scenes of my process. By that I mean; the messy, unedited and disorganized path I take when designing for a client.

So, let’s rip off the band-aid and hop right in.

My Honest Look at My Design Process | I'm sharing the messy behind-the-scenes truth of my brand design process at #logodesigner #branddesigner #designprocess

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Up first, I have a phone call with my client. This typically happens before they book their project with me.

On this phone call, I get the opportunity to learn more about their business, their why, their goals for their business and what they expect from the branding process.

During this time, I take as many notes as I can.


After the call is completed and they’ve decided to book, I send my client questionnaire. Once this is filled out, I open up the notebook again and take additional notes.

I also write down keywords, phrases and ideas that pop up while reading through their questionnaire.

This is where the design begins; notes, keywords and brainstorming.

Related: The 3 Most Insightful Questions I Include In My Client Homework

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I’m going to preface this: most of the sketches in my notebook are hideous.

This isn’t because I can’t draw, although I wouldn’t say I’m a pro, it’s mostly because my ideas come at me fast and I’m attempting to sketch them as quickly as possible.

This may not be the same for all designers, but this is how my process looks.

First, I rapid sketch (this is the ugly sketching that I don’t typically share) until the ideas start to slow down. During this phase I’m just putting pen to paper and getting everything down before it disappears.


Then, I look through what I’ve sketched and start re-sketching some of those concept ideas. This can take days. I tend to create the best work when I give myself the time to step away from it. Inspiration strikes at weird times, for my current client my best idea came to me while sitting on a plane.

Once I’ve done some re-sketching (aka pretty sketches) I start noticing some trends. I typically find myself returning to the same concept with minuscule variations repeated again and again. That tells me I’m on to something.


When I feel like I’ve found the right direction, I start the process of taking it digital.

This may seem like an easy transition, but moving from my notebook to Illustrator* can end up taking a lot of time.

This is for a few reasons.

One: Creating my own font versus finding the perfect font can take a lot of time.

Two: I try to make each brand as custom and unique as possible, so sometimes this means creating my own font or illustration. Sometimes, it means customizing an existing font.

It always depends on what works best for the brand.

But, from finding the right fonts to use to creating my own illustrations, my artboards very quickly start to look like the left image. Don’t fear, because all the client see’s is the right image.

In Illustrator*, I am able to hide my working layers really easily to not only clear up the space when needed, but present my ideas in the best possible way to my clients.

What messy aspects of your business do you tend to hide? I’d love to hear about them below!