In Behind the Scenes

Why I Hired a Brand Designer (and Why You Should, Too)


Why I Hired a Brand Designer • Little Gold Pixel

Note: This post is the first of two about branding. Check back tomorrow to see a behind-the-scenes look at how I worked with a designer to create the current Little Gold Pixel branding.

If you’re a creative entrepreneur or blogger or anyone with a website, really, chances are you’ve felt the itch to rebrand or redesign at least once (or once a month).

Seriously. Sometimes you just wake up and think, I’ve gotta repaint these walls.

I wish I had some screen grabs of my site from 2008 to show you my humble beginnings, but I can tell you that since I switched to WordPress in 2014 I changed my theme three or four times. I definitely repainted the walls. But I never updated the exterior aka the branding.

Since 2014, my branding has been practically … nonexistent. Black, all-caps, Montserrat. I liked the clean look of it. But there was no personality. I was not projecting what this space is all about.

And I just sat there, thinking about it. I’m a designer, I thought. I should be able to do this on my own.

You know the phrase, “You can’t see the forest for the trees”?

That was me.

Why I Hired a Brand Designer

I needed an outsider’s perspective on my business, what I was looking to convey and where I hoping to take things in the future.

Sometimes you are simply too close to a project to do it justice.

Could I have rebranded by myself if I got over my designer’s “block”? Sure. Would it have turned out as great? I’m not so sure.

There have been times customers have told me what they wanted but just couldn’t seem to do for themselves, and they were so thankful when I was able to execute their vision by collaborating. I needed to find someone who could do the same with me.

Plus, and let’s be REAL here, if I were to pay someone to help rebrand Little Gold Pixel, I would take it with the utmost seriousness. I wouldn’t just hodge-podge something together, call it good and then be tempted to change my branding again in six months.

No. I wanted branding with longevity, something that I could grow my business on and that would become known as the identity of Little Gold Pixel.

Three Things to Expect from the Process

1. Expect that it will take some time.

I started seriously considering hiring someone in December of last year. I didn’t sign on with someone until March. We didn’t finish the process until July. Let that sink in for a minute.

The most important thing you can do to set yourself up for a successful rebranding experience is to give yourself (and the designer) plenty of time and patience.

From the get-go, you need to do a lot of research to find the perfect brand designer for you. There are so many great ones out there. It can be overwhelming. I weighed choices for three months. In the end, I reached out to the designer I wanted to work with from the very beginning, Corina Nika.

How did I make up my mind? I have long read Corina’s blog, so I knew the work she was capable of. Our aesthetics are similar: a kinship with fluidity, ocean vibes, classy yet wild. I just knew she’d be the right fit.

Going back to the amount of time you’ll need: Don’t rush your decisions, either. When you get options from your designer, live with them for a few days before you respond with your choice. Really try to imagine how you’ll feel about your brand in a year’s time if you pick Option A. Try to imagine Option B on a T-shirt.

Put the options through mental tests like these, and only then make a decision.

2. Be willing to articulate your likes/dislikes, and in great detail.

It’s helpful to provide a lot of information up front to your designer before they even get started. Before I even reached out to Corina, I created a mood board on Pinterest. Just a hodge-podge of various things that “felt” like Little Gold Pixel in my mind’s eye. When we started working together, I shared it with her to give her a more visual basis for my vision.

Check it out:

I have an art direction background, so I’m used to asking for revisions and tweaks from artists.

When you get a round of branding possibilities from your designer, take the time to make notes on the standouts. WHY do you like these? What in particular do you want to see more of? Also, pick out your least favorites and note why they’re not your faves. Your designer will appreciate the feedback.

3. Expect to pay a fair amount of money.

Don’t cheap out. This is your brand at stake! Remember the Venn diagram of graphic design: If you want it fast, you’ll need to fork over the cash. If you want it affordable, you’ll need to be very patient. If you want it fast, affordable and great … well, keep dreaming.

save for later:

Why I Hired a Brand Designer • Little Gold Pixel

Note: This post is the first of two about rebranding. Check back tomorrow to see a behind-the-scenes look at how I worked with a designer to create the current Little Gold Pixel branding.

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    Why I Hired a Brand Designer (and Why You Should, Too)


    Why I Hired a Brand Designer • Little Gold Pixel

    Note: This post is the first of two about branding. Check back tomorrow to see a behind-the-scenes look at how I worked with a designer to create the current Little Gold Pixel branding.

    If you’re a creative entrepreneur or blogger or anyone with a website, really, chances are you’ve felt the itch to rebrand or redesign at least once (or once a month).

    Seriously. Sometimes you just wake up and think, I’ve gotta repaint these walls.

    I wish I had some screen grabs of my site from 2008 to show you my humble beginnings, but I can tell you that since I switched to WordPress in 2014 I changed my theme three or four times. I definitely repainted the walls. But I never updated the exterior aka the branding.

    Since 2014, my branding has been practically … nonexistent. Black, all-caps, Montserrat. I liked the clean look of it. But there was no personality. I was not projecting what this space is all about.

    And I just sat there, thinking about it. I’m a designer, I thought. I should be able to do this on my own.

    You know the phrase, “You can’t see the forest for the trees”?

    That was me.

    Why I Hired a Brand Designer

    I needed an outsider’s perspective on my business, what I was looking to convey and where I hoping to take things in the future.

    Sometimes you are simply too close to a project to do it justice.

    Could I have rebranded by myself if I got over my designer’s “block”? Sure. Would it have turned out as great? I’m not so sure.

    There have been times customers have told me what they wanted but just couldn’t seem to do for themselves, and they were so thankful when I was able to execute their vision by collaborating. I needed to find someone who could do the same with me.

    Plus, and let’s be REAL here, if I were to pay someone to help rebrand Little Gold Pixel, I would take it with the utmost seriousness. I wouldn’t just hodge-podge something together, call it good and then be tempted to change my branding again in six months.

    No. I wanted branding with longevity, something that I could grow my business on and that would become known as the identity of Little Gold Pixel.

    Three Things to Expect from the Process

    1. Expect that it will take some time.

    I started seriously considering hiring someone in December of last year. I didn’t sign on with someone until March. We didn’t finish the process until July. Let that sink in for a minute.

    The most important thing you can do to set yourself up for a successful rebranding experience is to give yourself (and the designer) plenty of time and patience.

    From the get-go, you need to do a lot of research to find the perfect brand designer for you. There are so many great ones out there. It can be overwhelming. I weighed choices for three months. In the end, I reached out to the designer I wanted to work with from the very beginning, Corina Nika.

    How did I make up my mind? I have long read Corina’s blog, so I knew the work she was capable of. Our aesthetics are similar: a kinship with fluidity, ocean vibes, classy yet wild. I just knew she’d be the right fit.

    Going back to the amount of time you’ll need: Don’t rush your decisions, either. When you get options from your designer, live with them for a few days before you respond with your choice. Really try to imagine how you’ll feel about your brand in a year’s time if you pick Option A. Try to imagine Option B on a T-shirt.

    Put the options through mental tests like these, and only then make a decision.

    2. Be willing to articulate your likes/dislikes, and in great detail.

    It’s helpful to provide a lot of information up front to your designer before they even get started. Before I even reached out to Corina, I created a mood board on Pinterest. Just a hodge-podge of various things that “felt” like Little Gold Pixel in my mind’s eye. When we started working together, I shared it with her to give her a more visual basis for my vision.

    Check it out:

    I have an art direction background, so I’m used to asking for revisions and tweaks from artists.

    When you get a round of branding possibilities from your designer, take the time to make notes on the standouts. WHY do you like these? What in particular do you want to see more of? Also, pick out your least favorites and note why they’re not your faves. Your designer will appreciate the feedback.

    3. Expect to pay a fair amount of money.

    Don’t cheap out. This is your brand at stake! Remember the Venn diagram of graphic design: If you want it fast, you’ll need to fork over the cash. If you want it affordable, you’ll need to be very patient. If you want it fast, affordable and great … well, keep dreaming.

    save for later:

    Why I Hired a Brand Designer • Little Gold Pixel

    Note: This post is the first of two about rebranding. Check back tomorrow to see a behind-the-scenes look at how I worked with a designer to create the current Little Gold Pixel branding.