How I Design with Clients Instead of For Them

How I Design with Clients Instead of For Them | Lemon and the Sea: A step-by-step look at my design process and how it helps creative entrepreneurs build businesses that support the life they want to live.

When I'm investing a lot of time and money into something, I want to know that I'm going to get what I need out of it. 

We've recently begun the process of searching for our first home (yay!) and have taken a lot of time to find a realtor that we want to work with through the process. I want someone who will communicate with me throughout our time together, will let me know what to do when, and will be there to check in with me if something falls through the cracks - because I'm busy and I have never been through this before.

Brand and website design with you in mind

Brand and website design is a big investment of both time and money.

I know that you're busy . I know that you don't want to invest in something and not get the results you expected - or even worse, have someone totally disappear on you, which is why I've worked hard to create a process that allows me to work closely with my clients through a process that can be overwhelming.

From the initial inquiry email to the project hand-off and on-going support options, I want to work with my clients instead of designing for them.

On-Boarding

Whenever I start chatting with someone about potentially working on their brand and website design, I like to give some information upfront to help them get an idea of what I do and what to expect - without flooding them with information over a phone call or email.

Instead, I send out a Working with Us PDF that includes information like who I am, what I do, and some fun information about me and Lemon and the Sea. Then, I have my Sales Slides PDF which goes more in-depth about who I work with, what I offer, and answers to some frequently asked questions. I'm sure this can seem overwhelming at first, but by having everything in PDF format (instead of trying to jot down notes as fast as possible), potential clients can learn more about Lemon and the Sea on their schedule.

Because they're busy and would probably rather be spending time with their families instead of emailing a thousand questions back and forth.

Staying Organized

Once a client decides to hire me (celebration time!), I have a simple Getting Started PDF and I get them set up with an Asana project that outline each step we'll take together and when everything is due. That way, they know exactly what to expect from me and what I need from them.

I also have an in-house version of the project in Asana that keeps me on track and outline every step of the project. This allows me to stay organized without my clients seeing all the behind-the-scenes tasks that they don't need to complete (because you really don't need to see link testing and every type of mobile device being developed individually).

Branding Exercises

And of course, branding exercises come next. I've developed a series of worksheets that help my clients dig into their businesses and share what they need with me. The goal is that they walk away with a brand and website that reflects who they are, helps them grow their business, and allows them to live the life they love - and these help us get there.

Each worksheet focuses on a different part of business - from design to dream client - and helps me get to know what my client needs from their website and where to go when designing their brand.

Getting to Work

After the branding exercises are complete and I've reviewed them with my clients, they get to relax a bit while I get to work designing. I always start with brand design - mood board, color palette, and logo design - because these will be used throughout the rest of the process.

What makes my process different is that I love including my clients in the design. We set up Skype calls to review the concepts, give feedback, and see design adjustments in real time. I want each client to get the brand they've been dreaming of - not the one I want to design.

After brand design is complete, I get started on the website - choosing a template, laying out the main pages, and styling everything. Then I send it off to my client to review - with a Skype call again - and make adjustments. Then I finalize everything, test it out, and launch the website.

After Launch

After each launch, I offer two weeks of post-launch support for the little tweaks that come up and options for on-going support so that I'm available to my clients as they need me - for new ideas, updates, or additional design work.

I also have a library of video tutorials to walk you through making changes yourself.

My ultimate goal isn't to design, launch, and walk away - I want to give my clients the brand and website they've been dreaming of and be there to cheer them on as their business grows.

I've found that this process of organizing projects and offering design review calls allows my clients to work with me on their design - giving feedback as the design progresses - instead of being surprised at the end of the project with something that isn't what they were envisioning. After all, branding is a big investment of both time and money, but in the end it's something that will help you build a business that supports the lifestyle you want.

Ready to update your brand and website?

I'd love to get to know you and your business to see how I can help you reach those big dreams. Check out my services or email me to learn more.


Lemon and the Sea is a branding and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creatives who enjoy being involved in every step of the process to help them update their brand and website so that it better reflects who they are and what they do.  From logo and collateral design to Squarespace websites, I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into their what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a brand that represents them.