Studio Lago Workspace

Why working with a designer is a collaborative process

Oct 1, 2022

One thing I always outline to my clients even before I start working with them is how much of a collaborative process designing both branding and websites is. I mention this to every potential client I have a discovery call with as it’s an integral part of how I work and how I ensure projects are completed and deadlines are stuck to.

As a business owner you might hope that if you hire a web or branding designer they’ll go off and put something together for you and you’ll have new branding and a new website before long. The reality is that actually your designer will need a lot of input from you to help them design and build the best possible solution for you and your business.

In this blog post I want to outline the expectations your designer will expect of you so that you’ll have an amazing new brand and website at the end of the process that not only looks amazing but that speaks directly to your ideal clients and converts them into paying customers. After all, that’s what it’s all for right?

Research

Your designer (hopefully) won’t just launch into creating something pretty to represent your brand. The idea behind design and branding is that it speaks directly to a specific person or group of people and attracts them to you and what you have to offer. Your designer should spend time researching what your competition is doing and here it’s important to mention that they’ll look at what your competition might be doing well and that inspires you and also what they could do better (this is what you’ll be doing!).

As well as a look at your competition, your designer may well ask you what brands and websites inspire you and what it is that you like. These don’t have to be related to your industry at all.

It’s also worth noting at this point that your branding is so much more than just a logo and, in fact, so much more than just the visuals. It’s the whole feeling your brand evokes and how it communicates to your audience so there is quite a lot of complex stuff going on when building a successful brand. You can read more in this blog post on why branding is so much more than just a logo.

Why working with a designer is a collaborative process

Ideal client

When doing their research, a great designer will specifically look into who it is you are looking to attract. This might be the kind of people you’ve always worked with and ideally you want more of these, or if you’re looking to rebrand or branch out, perhaps you’ll be looking to shift and change up who it is you want to attract. Either way, as a business owner it’s a good idea to identify who this person or types of people are. There are many different ways of identifying who your ideal clients are and this may not just be through specific demographics, but also through things they like, what they spend their time doing and where they would look for services like yours. Your designer should help you with the process of identifying your ideal client specifically for the purpose of researching for your project.

Images

Your brand and your website need images. A fundamental part of your brand is communicated through the images you use. Whether that’s images of you at work, your workplace, your desk or surrounding or more abstract images that compliment your brand and immediately help your audience identify your brand through them, the importance of images shouldn’t be overlooked, nor should it be left until the last minute. Yes, I’m saying this as so many times I have seen this overlooked or not considered a priority by clients and it’s something I also run through with my clients at a really early stage. 

If you’re ready to work with a branding or web designer it’s worth considering that you’ll also incur the cost of getting photography done too. And your photography needs to be professional looking high quality imagery to compliment your brand too. 

If you’re the face of your brand, also consider getting headshots or a personal branding shoot done by a pro. You can read more in this blog post about the specific reasons why personal branding photography is so important. Also, here’s just one of the amazing personal branding photographers I work with.

 

Copy

The text you use on your website is just as important as the website itself… as a business owner I’m wondering if you have given the words on your website much thought? 

There are a few main reasons for this and, believe me, I have been where you have and perhaps not understood the reasons why the copy on your site is so important. It’s also not just the words you use on your website, but throughout everything you do and the way you communicate.

The first of the reasons why copy is so important for your brand and for your website is that, quite simply, words sell. If you have clever copy that really speaks to your dream clients, they’re more likely to buy and if you use your words in a way that really identifies with your audience, they’ll be more likely to learn to know, like and trust you.

Another reason why your website copy specifically is so important is that it can really help with your SEO. It’s important to identify some branded keywords that can be used on your website to strategically get Google to shoe your site when people search for your products and services.

I always recommend that my clients hire one of the copywriters I work with to create their words for them, but I also understand that this can be costly. I would personally say that working this cost into the overall price of your website project, but if you absolutely can’t stretch to it, I have also created a blog guide where you can read more about writing website copy.

Again, if you’re ready to work with a web designer make sure that the website copy is a priority for you. Your web designer shouldn’t allow this to become an afterthought as they will need the copy in order to start designing and building your site.

 

Feedback

Your branding and web designer needs you to be available throughout the process. It’ll be tricky for your designer to get much further than a certain stage without your input, your thoughts and feedback. A designer will need to know that they are on the right track with where things are headed. While your designer will be happy to guide you and make recommendations as to what works best, you’ll ultimately need to approve each stage. I’d recommend picking a time when you can be on hand as much as possible to help the process go smoothly so perhaps you busiest time of year or when you’re on holiday isn’t the best time to choose.

There are a number of other things your website designer will need from you too. If you already have a website, domain or hosting, your designer will need to have access to those to change things up for your new site and they’ll also need to do the tech stuff behind the scenes for any additional functionality you’d like your site to have like forms, online bookings, creating your online shop etc.

I hope this blog post has helped you get to grips with what your branding and website designer will need from you both in the lead up to and during your project. It really helps to see your project as a collaborative process and if it is you’ll no doubt get the best results too.

If you’d like to know more about my collaborative design process just get in touch or you can find out more about how I work.

About the designer...

Hi! I’m Katie. Helping busy business owners create bold online brands and stand-out, non-boring websites is my jam. I’m passionate about giving once-upon-a-time-website DIYers, ambitious entrepreneurs and founders back the time to focus on doing the things they love the most in their businesses, giving them clarity in their online presence and the confidence to grow big!

Through this blog and on social media I share my advice and best practices with  business owners on how to build strong brands that will start attracting their dream customers and website that work by focusing on strategy and business goals.

When I’m not working with inspiring business owners or designing wedding cakes, you’ll probably find me dreaming of what my next meal will be, the best fruit garnishes for a gin and tonic or where we’ll travel to on our next adventure.

The latest on the blog

Designing at desktop computer aerial view- Studio Lago Design

“I don’t need a website” (and other stories you’re telling yourself)

Ok I get it. The first thing you’re thinking is “Well of course you’re going to tell me I need a website if you run a business creating websites for businesses”. And of course I am, but not for the reasons you might think. I am a branding and website designer, but I’m also a female founder and business owner just like you. I know what it’s like to run a business and to feel all the struggles...
Studio Lago Design Malarkey Cakes Website mock up

5 steps to building an authentic brand

The word ‘authentic’ seems to get bandied around a lot and as business owners we have been told time and time again that it’s more and more important to be authentic in business. I know from personal experience this is definitely true. The more you allow yourself to just ‘be yourself’ the more you attract people. The part I genuinely believe people fear about it though, is that by attracting,...
Katie Lake Volcof of Studio Lago Design

How to identify your core brand values

Ok firstly, why should you identify your core brand values? Well, you’ll no doubt have heard a lot of talk about attracting your ideal customers and you might be wondering how on earth you actually do this. If you feel you’re not attracting the right kind of clients, then this is for you. A lot of business owners might be under the impression that revamping their visual branding (logo, colours)...

My Core Business Values and why they’re so important

I’ve been on a journey of rediscovery in my own business recently. This is a journey I take my clients on when they work with me on elevating their business. We look at bringing things back to basics and look at the very foundations of your business and its reason to be.   Without this process, I can’t create a strategic brand. A brand with purpose and connection to your ideal clients needs...

5 Simple ways to drive more traffic to your website

You’ve got a website, and that’s the first step. But, in an ocean of billions of websites, how will people know it’s actually there unless you tell them? Having a website is just the beginning, but no one will know about it or remember to go there unless you tell them to. Not just once, or twice, but continuously and consistently and in a number of different ways. The great news is, I've got...

Why your website is never ‘finished’

As a service based business, a website is one of the most powerful parts of your marketing strategy you can possibly have. Creating a website is no mean feat. And whether you created your own site, or worked with a designer to create it, you’ll know that it takes time and effort to make it happen. But there a number of reasons why a business website should never be seen as finished. It can be...
Designing at desktop computer aerial view- Studio Lago Design

How to boost your website’s conversion rates

If you're reading this, you probably have a website already but are struggling to convert those visitors into loyal customers. Boosting your website conversion rates doesn't have to be rocket science. It’s actually all about getting inside the head of those you want to serve. Let me tell you how… Know your people Before we dive into tactics and strategies, let's talk about the basics....

5 ways to book more clients through your website

If you're looking to ramp up your client bookings through your website, you've come to the right place. I've got some killer strategies to share with you, so, grab a coffee or a cup of whatever you fancy, take a seat, and let's dive into these five strategies to turn your website into a client-booking machine. Showcase your skills with a stunning portfolio You're a creative service provider, so...

What your business is missing by not having a website

Let's cut to the chase: not having a website for your business today is like trying to win a marathon with one shoe missing. As a website designer, I've seen how a well-crafted website can turbocharge a business, and it pains me to see some businesses still on the sidelines.  I’m not just a website designer but also a consumer, just like you and just like your ideal clients. I know that when I...
Studio Lago Design Malarkey Cakes Website mock up

What Websites Need Now: Staying Ahead in the Digital Game

As a business owner, you’ll already know, the internet is a bit of a jungle. And it keeps evolving, and if you're not careful, you might get lost in the digital undergrowth. So, you might be wondering "What do websites need to thrive in this ever-changing online landscape?" Let’s take a look at how you can make sure you stay ahead of the game and that your website stands out. Fast Load Speed...