What to Expect Series: Design Phase

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What to Expect Series is a series designed to remove confusion and anxiety for potential clients about starting a Brand Identity project with Vale Design. These posts will describe what your project will look like from initial client inquiry email to final file release. No more guesswork needed!


In the What to Expect Series, we have discussed Onboarding your project, Client Questionnaire and Creating a Moodboard. Now we are really going to get into the heart of the project, the Design Phase.

The design phase will be the bulk of the time spent during your Brand Identity project. It is the most important phase. When you are creating a brand, you will create the logo first. (Find out the simple difference between a logo and a brand here.) The brand will be created around your final logo. I follow my standard procedure when it comes to creating a new logo.

1. Gather Design Direction

I gather design direction from the answers from the Client Questionnaire and the moodboard that was selected by the client. I always keep these 2 elements in front of me while I am designing. I want to make sure we stay true to the design direction that was chosen.

2. Brainstorm

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Brainstorming is my favorite part of the design phase. It is where my most interesting ideas come from. I use a word association technique when I brainstorm. This technique allows me to discover some very creative out-of-the-box solutions. I will discuss my brainstorming techniques in greater detail in another post.

I also study the moodboard and see if there are elements that are repeated throughout the images. Maybe all the images have scroll work. Then I will definitely include some element of scroll work in your logo. Maybe all the images are upscale, classy and suggest another time period. Then I will use serif fonts (the ones with the feet) in your logo to suggest elegance, sophistication and timelessness. 

3. Pencil & Paper Sketch

Once I have some solid word association ideas for your logo, I move into the sketching phase. I always begin with pencil and paper. Sketching for me looks like mixing letter combinations from the first letters of your business name. Researching letterforms of different fonts that I feel might lead to powerful or beautiful, visual impact for your logo. I will gather imagery and shapes. I will trace images and simplify them down to look more like icons. I will thumbnail sketch logo ideas. I always jot notes down on the right side of the paper I am sketching on. This running column of ideas helps me keep brainstorming even as I am sketching. It might be random words, color combinations, different fonts to check out at a later date.

4. Digital Art

Once I have created 2 to 3 pages of logo sketches, or I feel I have exhausted my ideas, I will circle the logos I would like to move forward into Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator is the design program where I create digital artwork. Moving a logo solution into Illustrator is always a tricky and exciting step. Sometimes the logos do not work out and die onscreen. Sometimes the logos come alive and I get "the feeling" where I know I have just created your final logo!

Logos are created in Illustrator to produce the digital art formats that will be used for your brand across a range of platforms. If a magazine contact asks you for an .ai file, you will be ready!


The Vale Design design phase will be the bulk of time for your project, is crucial to your final brand design and is my favorite phase of the project. This is the phase where we design your ideal logo that will translate into your new brand look and feel for your business.

If you would like to work together or have any additional questions about working with Vale Design, simply contact me!