For much of College and the first half of my career as a Graphic Designer, I was told that the objective of being a successful designer was to first, be hired by the client, finish the project right way, and then present the final product, and boom! It’s done, it’s amazing, next?! But the truth is, I’ve always wanted to be the problem solver amongst the “doers”, I wanted to help clients achieve what they really wanted, help them get to where they want to go. The end product is exciting, but the meat of my creativity lives within the process.
Early in my hiring at Pulse Marketing, I was invited to join my first official client kickoff meeting, a face to face (via google meet/zoom) a chance for our clients to meet the team and the first time we’re presenting the objective as a team – a rebrand and website design for a legal group Curat/Lex. I’d designed and redesigned thousands of logos in my 15 year career, but this was the first time I’d been brought in to oversee the rebrand and creative process from inception.
It’s easy for a “designer” to create a pretty logo, match it to pretty complementary colors, find a “safety font”, wrap it all up and convince your client this is the answer to it all… but we don’t do that here. Our clients trust us to dig, research, compile data that not only achieves the objective, but you’re left confident in being part of the creative process, step by step. The best way to do this is by building a case study for each project, a collection of options, mistakes, data, and problem-solving. The case study is not only important to pick up new potential clients, but it gives your client, in this case, CuratLex, a special insight into your creative process, a peek behind the curtain, a look into how the sausage is made.
1. Figure out the Objective
It’s important that you write down your objective and make sure everyone on the team is on board and understand the end result.
2. Assign Someone to Log Notes and Collect Photography
This is the “meat” part of the creative process, where your client gets to see a moodboard, logo options, color variations, and photography from the actual group process. It’s also a time for the designer and team to make the mistakes and show how each was solved.
3. The How
How did you solve the problem? What road/design blocks did you encounter? How will this help where the client wants to go?
4. The Final Product
This is where the team has come together to put together a display of all the work they’ve done and explore future collateral ideas and possibilities. Take the time to find and/or purchase nice mockups – it makes all the difference in the world – when your client visualizes how your creative will live in real-life environments. Create your own mockups – these will be used over and over and has the advantage to further demonstrate a consistent aesthetic to the brand.
5. The Presentation
I’ve spent equal amounts of time designing presentations as I’ve done actual work. Your presentation is the vehicle that will help illustrate your vision, the problem solved, and the end product. Take the time to create a visually clean and easy-to-navigate presentation.
The 5 easy steps of a case study that I think are so important to follow and not skip, it’ll mean a lot to your client, it’ll help organize your team and help attract new clients.
I am better now that I worked through the rebranding process of Curat/Lex. I feel that we presented the best design and brand identity for our client. They are happy and confident that our team carefully worked through a process to give them not only a brand that works but one that he is confident in. This isn’t a process that’s meant to be easy to get through, but easy to follow, if you allow yourself the time for the necessary steps, you are left happy with your work and feel confident moving forward on the next project.