Our Story and Design Process
Naturally the process of brand development isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. However, if you haven’t worked with a brand development consultant before, you may find some of these points handy and worth considering when you do. Like all great stories its about the journey…and Brand Action is here to give you the best experience and outcome.
The Process Steps
- Design Consultants
- Good Design
- Defining the Project
- Selecting the Designer
- Engaging the Designer
- Start of the Project
- Monitoring the Project
- Delivery of the Project
- The final word
You are guaranteed that we will deliver a specialist visual communication solution that is specifically targeted to your needs… otherwise, we will work with you until it is.
The careful selection of a design consultant is paramount to your project’s success. Brand Action has successfully completed many projects (some award winning), for a diverse range of clients. We have gathered extensive experience and knowledge which will assist you in getting the best value out of your relationship with our team.
For the client it is often difficult to select and commission a suitable design consultant. Some designers have a strong personal style whilst others are strategists and managers. You may need the services of a consultancy group or, at other times, those of an individual, a specialist or a generalist. This guide has been produced to assist you in the process | top
Design consultants are professional designers who specialise in visual communication in the print and electronic media industries. Our expertise is derived from our qualifications and first-hand experience. Our role is to guide, to advise and develop your particular project or projects, ultimately assisting in communicating and building the value of your business and its image. We provide information, exercise judgement and work to develop new ideas and solutions for your particular needs | top
Good market response starts with good design. Design can be used to increase and improve communication, create an atmosphere, create impact, increase profits or continue brand building. Conversely, print or web produced without the benefit of design is often less communicative, has normally little or no visual impact, is usually totally lacking in mood or persuasion, and often makes little use of production opportunities. This ultimately creates a very average investment for your business.
The fact that design costs money is of little or no importance in itself. It must be weighed against the effectiveness of the result and assessed as part of the total budget. In the end, the cost-effectiveness is the only criterion by which graphic-designed products can be measured and the question is not ‘Can I afford a designer?’ but ‘Can I afford not to have a designer?’ | top
Before talking to a consultant it is essential that you define the task as you see it, preferably in writing. The design brief is an important facet in clarifying your needs and will help you to clearly define them and your objectives. This will also allow the consultant to gain a sharper picture and direction to specifically target the purpose of the project. The design brief should possibly cover:
- the purpose of the project, with any relevant background material
- the specific task to be carried out
- the outcomes expected
- the role of the consultant (expectations and requirements)
- the scope of the assignment
- budget range – this is not crucial, however, an indicative budget enables a consultant to prepare a relevant and therefore useful proposal – working within your guidelines
- the context of the project
- target audiences and market
- modifications – during the consultancy, evidence may come to light necessitating a change of direction of the assignment. There needs to be flexibility to amend the scope, and probably the price of the project, mid-stream
- corporate image specifications if they already exist
- timetable – when the job should be completed, identifying any critical milestones to ensure it is progressing accordingly
the terms and conditions the consultant needs to accept in doing the job for you
- deadline for submission of written proposals
- any specifications for how you wish the proposal to be prepared, presented and delivered.
The above list is simply a guide for preparing a project. It is relevant to the importance of the proposed project being undertaken. Some elements in the list may be skipped but consideration should be given to all | top
Brand Action always prefers to meet with the client in person, if possible, before preparing a proposal. This gives us the opportunity to clarify your needs and get a better understanding of your project, future goals and your business, products or services. It also gives you the chance to get to know us a little better which is very important in building long-term relationships. It is very important to us that you feel comfortable working with the selected consultant.
Allow a reasonable time for consultants to prepare their applications, say, one to two weeks in most situations. In your final evaluation you should consider:
- style and portfolio of the consultants
- the design team, their skills and qualifications
- references for contact and verification of previous work
- the time frame – is it practical and achievable?
- the consultancy’s terms and conditions of business
- the price – do not immediately discard proposals on price considerations alone. There may be room for negotiation on a very good, but highly priced proposal. Some firms ask for prices to be submitted in separate, sealed envelopes so that the merits of the proposal may be judged without price considerations clouding the issue | top
In engaging the consultant you are entering into a commercial contract. It is best to put this in writing and supply a formal order to proceed. The items to consider for inclusion are:
- terms of reference
- fee and payment arrangements
- timeline for completion of the job and progress review dates
- circumstances under which the contract may be amended or terminated
- confidentiality aspects
- use of your resources
- professional liability | top
Successful projects are those where the client and the consultant work closely together, with mutual trust and respect. Essentially, they are a team with the same objectives. Make all relevant parts of your organisation aware of the assignment and gain their support and ensure that the consultant is aware of, and has access to, the necessary information, property and materials.
Brand Action will establish with you a design management team (if necessary), and a project timetable at the commencement of your project. It must be emphasised that consultancy agreements are a cooperative venture between the client organisation and the design consultant. Flexibility and communication is a necessary ingredient in its success | top
Brand Action will remain in constant contact with the client to monitor and record the progress of the project. This ensures the consultancy is staying on track, your expectations are being fulfilled and that you are receiving value for money. At any point the consultant should be able to give you accurate information about the project and they should always be approachable | top
Projects vary in size, shape and style. They could be print-based or electronic. As part of the design brief, the delivery and process will be addressed to ensure the client understands and all expectations are met at the appropriate time. If the process involves a sequence of events, such as logo design and approval, and this goes on to impact on other items, then the process will be laid out according to that project. If the project is web based then delivery will be conditional upon visuals approved, content supplied and launch date. Contact Brand Action to discuss your project and we can run through a typical scenario for your needs | top
All projects are a balance of three inter-related elements: time, cost, and quality. Often one of these elements is compromised in the interests of the other two. Given these variables, some managers respond by framing the project with rigid limitations of budget and/or time in order to exercise control over the process. This response virtually guarantees loss of quality control and this will potentially sacrifice the project’s market effectiveness.
A more suitable alternative is to review the cost and time implications at stage one and two and balance the implied costs against the value of the project, assuming it meets its marketing objectives. This consideration will lead to limitations of budget and time but it will do so in terms which recognise where compromise is acceptable, without inadvertently sacrificing the effectiveness of the project | top
Brand Action trust that this guide has been of assistance to you in selecting the correct design consultant for your needs. We do understand our industry, we also have the experience and knowledge to understand the needs of our clients. We know that managing the success of your project should involve a true professional.
Consider what you will be receiving from the proposal and the interview process. Feel comfortable with the consultant you are dealing with because of the relationship you will be entering into with them. Ensure that they are listening to your needs and working hard to put equity into your business for now and the future.