How do we get started?
Want to work with me on your business’s branding? Great! First, fill in this enquiry questionnaire form online, which will be sent direct to my email. This will give me some basic info about your business and what you’re looking for. If you would like a complimentary 15-30 minute Skype chat or phone call to get to know each other a bit better, we can tee this up then. If you think Soul Stirring Branding is a good fit for your business, then I’ll send you a formal proposal and estimated timeframe, with some Terms & Conditions to sign off on. From then your project is locked into my calendar.
How soon should I get in touch?
Basically, it’s never too soon to enquire! I see too many businesses approach me with a strict deadline or saying “I need it ASAP”. I would love to be able to accommodate everyone and absolutely hate it when I have to turn away clients who are the right fit to work with me! But the simple truth is that I am a one woman business. When you work Soul Stirring Branding, you work directly with me 100% and get all my expertise and experience. I think that’s an important asset for my business, but it does mean that I can book up fast. If you are launching a new business, or wanting to rebrand for a certain event i.e. clients may be getting ready for a tradeshow or market stall, or just have their own self-imposed deadline based on their business goals, I recommend you get the ball rolling with me six months + in advance. That might sound like quite far in advance, but you need to remember that your branding is usually one of the first steps in a long line of steps to launch. It starts with your brand strategy and brand identity system. Then we’ll likely be wanting to produce some design pieces based on your brand identity system. You’ll probably want to create or update your website. You will probably need to update business documents and so on. So combine that with the fact that I may have a waitlist, and you’ll probably want to allow a bit of time to make this all happen! If you’re one of those people that don’t have 6 months to spare, that’s okay and please still enquire with me to see what my schedule is like! I would hate for you not to get in touch just because you think I won’t be available!
Can't we just do the brand identity design portion, not the strategy portion?
I often get this question. Clients may have done some strategy work in the past and feel it would not be necessary to do again. The thing is that it is an integral part of my process, and the strategy and identity design are really integrated and feed off each other. Clients may have worked on their brand strategy, such as writing a mission statement or identifying their ideal client, or creating a business plan in the past, but I always find that they haven’t really fleshed it out or done it the way I would do. Getting those foundations right is so crucial for a successful design outcome, and also to empower you on your business journey. What you’ll be getting is a heart and soul handbook. It’s not a boring business plan full of plain text, trust me! This is engaging, with lots of visuals, and synthesises everything in a really clear way. I come out on the other end, knowing your business inside and out and really understanding it. It also includes a mood-board and basically gets us on the same page before I jump into the design concepting. It means I can work a lot more intuitively on the design and ideas flow more freely, because I have so much information about you in my brain to tap into! Of course I do make exceptions if you personally work in brand strategy or have done really in-depth work with another consultant. Feel free to send me your brand strategy information, and I’ll make an assessment on where you’re at and whether there is anything we need to flesh out further 🙂
Can't you just create me a logo?
The short answer — no. I only do logo design as part of my broader brand identity package. Why? Because I believe you can receive a far better return on investment by looking at the big picture of your brand. A logo is only one part of the puzzle and I believe for your brand to have impact there needs to be a consistent message throughout your visual applications. If you’re not at the stage or have the budget to get your foundations right, you may better off going with a budget designer initially to get your first logo, and then approach me in a years time when you are more established in your industry and ready to up-level.
Have you worked in my industry?
Honestly, it doesn’t matter too much about what industry you’re in. My clients over the years have been very diverse! Everything from luxury backyard chicken coops, to a spiritual teacher / angel reader, to a clothing label for little boys, to clients in the wedding and event industry, to financial planners, to musicians, to photographers, to those in health and fitness and so on! I almost never work in the same exact industry or niche twice, and I like it that way because it keeps things interesting.
The beauty of my process is that it is really in depth and gets to know your business from the inside out. So you don’t run no risk of me not understanding your business or point of view! In addition, It’s not about following the same old formula as all your competitors or achieving the typical look for your industry. That is the opposite to what my process does 🙂 It’s all about understanding your unique message and then finding the most effective and stylish way to translate that visually, as well as purposely creating a different look to your competitors so you stand out. As you could probably tell already from my portfolio, I’m not the kind of designer that has one set look i.e. you see a lot of ‘feminine’ designers or ‘minimal’ designers out there. The thing is, I believe the brand and the design should never be about me and my aesthetic! It’s all about you and what feels authentic, and what connections with your audience.
Is there a payment plan?
Once you’ve signed off on the proposal, you’ll put down a 1/3rd deposit payment to reserve your spot in my calendar. The second 1/3 instalment will be due right before we kick off. Then the final 1/3 instalment is billed once you’ve signed off on the visual brand identity.
What do I need to have organised BEFORE we work together?
KNOW YOUR VISION
Before we work together, it’s important that you have a good idea about your vision for your business and what audience you want to attract. If you’re brand new to starting a business and really are still testing the waters, then it may not make sense to make the investment in your brand identity at this stage. Remember that so much happens in the first year or so of business. It’s very common to pivot and change your focus. So for example, if you’re sure you want to appeal to both genders when we do the branding project together, and then 6 months later you realise you would prefer just to work with women, we may have a brand identity which doesn’t appeal to women as much as it could, because we were focused on making it gender neutral. I encourage you to take the time to see what kinds of clients and customers are the best fit for you. I encourage you to get clear on your business purpose. I will be able to help you to figure out these things, but it is helpful for you to first spend some time independently thinking deeply about your core message.
Most clients come to me with their business name in place. If you would like assistance with developing a business name, I am happy to help and can give you a quote. Before we start working together, it is paramount that you ensure you have the rights to use the name, and the URLS are available. Think of what a waste of time and money it would be if we developed your business logo around a name which you end up having to change! So firstly, do a trademark search relevant to you location and a Google search of the name, to get an idea of what might be in use. Use a site like GoDaddy to do a domain name search: https://au.godaddy.com/domains/domain-name-search. Check Facebook, Instagram and any other social media platforms to see if your business is available as a handle. Then if your name ticks all those boxes, register the business name with your location’s relevant website and secure those domains and social media handles!
How long does the design process take?
For branding projects, I allow 4-6 weeks from the start of our project — with the collaborative strategy session, to the brand identity presentation. Then you will want to allow approximately an extra week for any minor revisions needed, plus the development of your brand guidelines and supply of your digital brand files. Depending on my schedule, there may be a wait list to get started as I only take on a few projects a month to ensure the best quality outcome. I’ll supply an estimated timeframe prior to you signing up, so you know exactly what to expect. Unfortunately, I can’t do rush work for branding projects, as I don’t believe in taking any shortcuts when it comes to something as important as your businesses identity!
Will I own the rights to the creative you come up with?
Yes. After completing payment in full, you own the copyright to the work. The only exception is that I maintain the rights to display the work as part of my portfolio and marketing.
How important is service and delivering on your promises to you?
Amazing service is absolutely essential to my process. One of the biggest complaints I hear about other graphic designers is poor communication, the inability to manage client expectations during the process and timeframes being blown out. I know from my own experience I’ve dealt with all these issues with other businesses I’ve worked with, and that my clients have worked with. That’s why I care so much about delivering on my promises. I know how it sours the whole experience of launching your business when you go through issues with the people who are supposed to be the ones helping you make it all happen! No one’s perfect, but I can guarantee I’ll make it clear from the get-go what you can expect and when, and do everything in my power to make it happen.
Do you provide multiple concepts?
Like many things in life, too many options can lead to decision paralysis! Unlike other designers, I don’t just give you a bunch of logo options and you pick what you think looks best, I develop a brand concept. So yes — it is singular, but it works. My process doesn’t take you round in circles, it provides a clear solution. I believe in each element of your brand identity should tie into each other to convey a consistent overall emotional message and personality. I’m able to quickly get to the heart of what will work for your business without a million revisions due to my exhaustive process on the front end. I take the time to understand what you stand for, how you’re different and what you audience wants and the process of translating it visually comes intuitively after that. I believe that multiple concepts can be confusing for clients and for me, it’s always clear what the strongest concept I develop is. Because my process is so exhaustive and in-depth on the front end, understanding the heart and soul behind your business, your audience and your competitors, I am able to get a really good idea of what will work. I believe that multiple concepts can be confusing for clients and for me, it’s always clear what the strongest concept I develop is. I believe that multiple concepts can be confusing for clients and for me, it’s always clear what the strongest concept I develop is. My design process involves the independent exploration and development of a wide variety of concepts and visual directions which is then distilled down into the one strongest concept which best meets the goals of the project, would appeal to the target market we have identified, stands out from your competition, amplifies your special business attributes and captures the authentic spirit of the organisation in a look and feel. I find this process yields the best, most strategic results for clients and that presenting multiple options can dilute and confuse the process. However two rounds of revisions are included in every quote to ensure you’re completely satisfied with the outcome. If you have a number of decision-makers on your team, please make sure all feedback is provided by one point of contact and is agreed upon by all relevant parties prior to providing it, to ensure we’re all on the same page and can move the project forward in a timely manner.
What files will you supply my finished artwork in?
Where are you located?
I am based in Sydney, NSW, Australia, but work with clients all over the world. If you’re not in Sydney, we can use Zoom to have face to face meetings. All international transactions are done through Transferwise (which has much better rates and lower transfer fees than Paypal), making it so easy. My time zone is AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time).
What are your business hours?
My business hours are 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. Please ensure all phone calls are between those hours, or send me an email.
What if what I'm looking for doesn't exactly fit your branding package?
I am happy to look at your individual situation and tailor the package towards it. It’s not always about completely starting from scratch if you are rebranding. There may be some elements we keep or evolve rather than completely redoing. Such as sometimes clients have an iconic brand colour they are known for, which they want to keep, or just tweak slightly. Sometimes clients come to me thinking they already have a logo and want to just look at the other elements. I’ll assess your logo for you and analyse whether it’s working towards your brand message. Often times clients end up opting for a full rebrand in the long run. When it comes to building your brand identity system we want to make sure everything is aligned and congruent.
How much time will I need to devote to the project?
It’s a collaborative process and does require some of your time and energy of course! Particularly in the early stages. You’ll need to allow around 2 hours for our Skype strategy session at the beginning of the project, where we’ll talk about all aspects of your business and message. Then you’ll need to allow an hour or so to review your Heart & Soul Guidebook which I will produce after our strategy session to synthesise all that we have spoken about, and give me feedback. We often do another Skype call at this time to chat through the document further, so you may need to allow 30 minutes to an hour for that. Then you will need to allow a couple of hours to review your brand identity presentation towards the end of the project, and give me feedback. You’ll also need to allow an hour or so at the end of the project for another Skype session where I talk you through how to use your brand guidelines. So each project will be different, but I would definitely make sure you have the space and time to work collaboratively with me for around 8 hours total. It won’t require days and days of your time, but timely feedback is really important throughout the process! My tip would be to try not to schedule your branding project around a particularly busy time in the year for your industry, or when you know some big project or event is coming up, if you can! That way you’ll know you’ll have better availability and it will be a smoother process.