The Freelance Process · District Dog Brewing

2020 · Sole Designer

Phase 1: Get to Know the Client

The freelance process starts by meeting you, the client. Whether over coffee or Zoom, I want to get to know you, your business, and your goals. During this phase we will discuss:
  • How I can best serve you and create something you’ll love
  •  Assets you need (Do you need a logo or website designed?)
  • Timelines for the project
  • A budget that will work for both of us
  • Any additional parameters for the project

District Dog Brewing

To illustrate this process, I’ll walk you through the journey of Cody, founder of District Dog Brewing. Cody is a backyard brewer who makes beer for dogs, a brewed treat that is a safe and fun treat for dogs. Cody started District Dog Brewing and wanted to develop a brand for his new business. Cody hired me to design a logo and a bottle label and help with initial customer research and launch strategy.

Phase 2: Ideation & Stylescapes

def. Stylescape (n.)
A highly curated collection of “found” images from the internet that gives a high fidelity look at the direction the project will head. Helps to visualize the future result of a project, and create alignment between client and designer.
Step one of creating a Stylescape is an ideation session with me and any stakeholders in the project. This session is where we get to discuss your vision for the project and your brand in the future. We will talk about:
  • Adjectives that describe your brand and your brand’s future
  • Target audience
  • Unique qualities of your brand and product
From these discussions, I will create several Stylescapes that visually represent the ideas we talked about. Each Stylescape is made up of images that visually represent the aesthetic future of your brand from photography, to graphics, to packaging design. It also prominently features an image of your target audience personified. All of these elements come together to create a direction for your brand.
The next time we meet, we’ll have a candid conversation about the Stylescapes. 
Which miss the mark?
Does the customer image represent your target audience?
  • What designs and aesthetics do you gravitate toward?
  • Which miss the mark?
  • Does the customer image represent your target audience?
Finally I will take the elements that we like and prune those we don’t to create a “final Stylescape” that will be the guiding force for the project moving forward.

District Dog Brewing

District Dog Brewing had an easily defined target customer: dog owners. Owning a pet is fun so we knew that keeping the brand easygoing would appeal to that audience. In addition, Cody wanted to be able to market his product through Instagram which meant that the final design had to be eye-catching. Lastly, people love their pets as much as they love family and care deeply about the nutrition and food they feed them. As such, we wanted District Dog’s brand to be trustworthy in practice and appearance. From these discussions, Cody and I landed on these three adjectives to describe District Dog Brewing: 
Vivid, Lighthearted, Authentic
I used these words as the basis for the 3 Stylescapes I created with each derived from different interpretations of those adjectives.

Phase 3: Asset Creation

This is when the fun really begins. Using the final sylescape as a guide:
  1. I make several different versions of your deliverables (logo, package design, website, etc)
  2. Present those assets and pick the one we like best 
  3. Critique the assets and use that feedback to power the first round of revisions.

District Dog Brewing

I created 2 main assets for District Dog Brewing, a logo and a bottle label. The slide deck below shows the final presentation from the asset creation phase. Cody and I went through each of the logo options and discussed what we liked and disliked about each until finally choosing a logo that resonated the most with us. In our original ideation session, we talked about branding District Dog Brewing as a fun and lighthearted brand. Cody and I felt that the “Saturday Morning” logo fit this best.

Phase 4: Revisions, Revisions, Revisions

Now is time to tweak and perfect the assets, performed in rounds. Every project gets at least 1 round of revisions, but depending on the timeline and budget of the project, may have more. The revision cycle is to:
  1. Get feedback on the assets on hand
  2. Improve each asset to address that feedback
  3. Meet again to review the assets
  4. If needed, get more feedback and repeat the process
This process continues until either the client and I are completely satisfied with the end product, or all rounds of revisions have been completed.

District Dog Brewing

The logo for District Dog Brewing shows how important and impactful revision rounds are to the design process. The revised logo has better balance, looks better in color, while still retaining the feel of the original version.

Phase 5: Final Handoffs

Those assets need to go somewhere! Does it need to be printed? Go on a website? What are the file formats you need? This phase is dedicated to making sure you have the asset in the right format. 
  • Ensure compatibility with vendors (bleeds, resolution, etc)
  • Access to all digital files
  • Reviews of proofs for physical products
This is also where other deliverables like Style Guides are created and handed off.

District Dog Brewing

Cody and I collaborated to decide on a printer for the bottle labels that would work well with his manufacturing process and be an affordable and high quality product. I tailored the final label design to match the printing specifications from Cody’s vendor and verified that the sample we received was up to our expectations. With all of Cody’s assets in his hands, one project was completed! 
To see the full District Dog Brewing gallery, including process shots, alternate versions of assets, and final deliverables, check out the dedicated District Dog Brewing page.