2020 Graphic Design and Branding Checklist Guide For Small Business Owners

2020 Graphic Design and Branding Checklist Guide For Small Business Owners

Design has quite a huge impact on how your company will succeed in the industry. In an insanely design-driven world, your target market will most likely grasp their first impression by your graphic design and branding.

That’s how powerful design is: it decides how strong you can position yourself along with your competitors in the social landscape.  

Have you ever taken the responsibility of executing your company’s graphic design and visual branding under your own hands?

It’s a mind-boggling process for start-ups and business owners who work on their business’ creative assets independently. 

Given that graphic design and branding both require a great sense of observation, endless amounts of creativity, and the ability to view things on a bigger picture, it’s no doubt why companies choose to hire credible design agencies or independent creative contractors to do it for them. 

But have you always wanted to become more hands-on with the visual direction of your company’s branding?

We have prepared a graphic design and branding checklist guide for small businesses and startups who want to handle their business’ graphic design in the future.

The Problem, Solution, and Motivation

Just like how you usually come up with a business proposal and pitch it, design proposal is also extremely necessary, even if you’re planning to do execute the entire design process without a design agency’s help.

Some questions that you need to keep in mind during this phase are: 

  • Does the nature of your business require a detailed execution of creativity?
  • Is the business’ design objective important for the business to become successful? 
  • What values and principles will the company establish roots on?
  • How will you drive design and your business to function synergically?

If your answer to any of these questions leads to having a conflict with how you visualise your desired design and branding for your business, take a step and re-evaluate your business model or compromise for a more feasible design agenda.

Power Positioning The Business

Have you ever encountered companies or businesses that create intrigue, go viral, and become instantly famous?

Regardless of the manner of getting themselves out there, if it clicks with people instantly, then that is successful brand positioning. If there’s one thing to not screw up in this entire checklist, it’s this part. 

The power in running a successful business lies in strong brand positioning.

In simpler words, brand positioning is how you want your target customers to remember you. It’s your business’ first impression. It’s what’s going to make you stand out from your competitors.

Many startups and sometimes, even bigger companies, often misunderstand the concept of positioning that’s why it gets difficult to strategize the business’ growth later on.

Digging And Gathering Design Preferences

Once you’ve decided where to position your brand, now it’s time to gather creative asset inspirations to make your comprehensive brand come to life, which we call a creative brief.

It’s not easy to piece them altogether because of many things to consider and draw inspiration for, but it’s really fun to do. This process usually takes from a couple of days to even a couple of months, depending on the needed creative deliverables and design factors to consider before launching.  

Before sourcing images on visual bookmarking platforms like Pinterest or creative portfolio designs on websites like Behance or Dribble, here’s what we usually consider when successfully creating a comprehensive brand

  • The prominent colour palette to use. Preferably 1 for the main colour, 2 primary colours, 2 accent colours, and 4-5 complementary colours
  • The typeface to use, only use one to be consistent and another font for contrast 
  • Your business logo, keep it simple but creative because it’s your trademark
  • Your website’s design, create an experience for your target audience
  • What style your digital content (social media posts, videos, ads) will look like

Preparing and Starting The Entire Design Process

Now that you’ve gathered your creative pegs and brainstormed on your final creative execution, it’s time to put things into action! Here are our suggested softwares to use when creating your graphic design and branding assets: 

Logo: Adobe Illustrator CC, CorelDRAW, Affinity Designer, Canva, Inkscape (free)

Social Media Posts and Ads: Adobe Photoshop CC, Canva (for beginners)

Video Editing: Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Final Cut Pro X (for Mac)  

2D/3D Animation: OpenToonz, Synfig, Blender, Pencil2D

Revising and Finalising Creative Design and Branding Assets 

Before launching, make it a habit to revisit the latest creative design and branding assets.

Check if your creative assets are in sync with your brand, look for grammar mistakes or design layout issues, and most importantly, ask feedback from people who are: A. your target audience and B. people who understand design.

This way, you can receive objective criticism on necessary changes that you might need to consider. Fewer mistakes, little to no trouble when the launching day comes.

Now, this process usually takes a long time. It can range from weeks to months, so better make sure to lay everything in advance and give enough time frame for every revision needed so as to avoid unexpected workloads. 

Ready For The Initial Launch

Why get ready for the initial launch? Because you need to know what kind of design works and what doesn’t.

That’s the beauty of launching a business: there’s always enough room for creative improvement. You can always almost accurately detect how your brand’s being perceived by your target audience or users.

Once you’ve already launched every necessary graphic design and branding assets online, find out how your audience perceives you as a brand.

Social listening can also help you track whether people have recently come across your brand on social media or track how your competitors are leveraging other brands for their own benefit.