My Step-by-Step Brand and Website Design Process

Since opening my design business in 2016, I’ve learned that the process and client experience can be just as important as the end result. After years of refining my website design process, I’ve found the sweet spot.

From start to launch, you’re looking at just 30 days.

That timeline might sound a bit controversial. To put this timeline in context, most website designers take a month or more for the design and then another month or two or more to develop the site!

Why do I do it faster? One simple word: results. Here’s why 30 days works best…

1. You have my full attention.

For those 30 days, your project is my only focus. My creative + strategic mind is immersed in your business, so you get a design that feels personal, works for your goals, and prioritizes you. Quickly.

2. Initial collaboration paves the way to success.

Like your interior design process, our initial consultation + prep process builds trust and sets our direction. This upfront time allows me to then lead you through 30 days of exceptional progress worthy of a luxury service.

3. Instinctual decisions = authentic results.

You have pre-scheduled windows of time to review + share feedback on design concepts. Usually 1-2 business days. This quick approach evokes instinctual decision-making for more personal (and therefore timeless) results. Your gut knows best!

During the 30 days, you receive a fully custom WordPress website design beautifully and strategically tailored to your aesthetic, goals, and client conversion. You also receive an elevated brand identity with a polished logo design, logo variation, color palette, and carefully selected typography.

Aside from the mentioned, you have the freedom to choose from an array of add-on services as needed. These range from lead magnet design, email marketing setup, website legal notice configuration, design templates, and more.

Every brand and website design project includes the following staple services + deliverables:

  • Project Kick-off Call
  • 5-Part Brand Assignment + Guided Prep Work
  • Website Strategy Session
  • Dedicated One-on-One Design Time
  • Custom Brand Identity + Logo Design
  • Curated Color Palette + Typography Selection
  • Custom WordPress Website Design + Development
  • User-friendly Page Builder for Easy Updates
  • Streamlined + Efficient 30-Day Process
  • Basic SEO Setup + Google Analytics Integration
  • Personalized Website Training Tutorial
  • Launch Packet with Brand Identity Guide + Website Guide
  • Ongoing Support Options with Website Care Plans and VIP Days
My Step-by-Step Brand and Website Design Process

To set each project up for success, I have a streamlined onboarding + prep work process.

The Inquiry

Once someone expressed interest in my services via my contact form, they’re invited to schedule a 30-minute introductory call. During this call, we go over their business, answer any questions they might have, and see if the fit is right.

Afterward, I send a detailed proposal outlining their project scope including their requested start and launch date. Once they submit the proposal, sign the agreement, and submit their 30% deposit their project is officially on the books. Then I begin the onboarding process.

Onboarding

As soon as their project is booked I send a welcome email outlining what to expect. Next, I get their project set up in Asana, my favorite project management system. Using Asana ensures everyone stays organized, on the same page, and always on schedule. I outline their project dates in Asana from start to launch, including every milestone in between.

When it’s ready, I invite them to our shared project inside Asana. Then we meet for a project kick-off call to go over the assigned prep work and project timeline.

5-Part Brand Assignment + Guided Prep Work

The client will begin on their 5-Part Brand Assignment which walks them through everything I need from them to nail their design. Part 1 includes sharing information about their business, services, positioning, ideal client, and more. Part 2 walks them through creating an inspiration board and asks for their style preferences for both their brand and website.

Parts 3 and 4 ask for their finalized website copy and images. And Part 5 walks them through how to share access to the necessary accounts I need to complete their project. If applicable, they also be asked to complete a project add-ons form that asks for the relevant information needed to fulfill their add-on services purchased during checkout.

Clients are also always welcome to schedule a check-in call during this prep work process for additional guidance.

Website Strategy Session

When their start date is approaching we meet one last time for a Website Strategy Session. During this call, we review their brand assignments and answer any questions they might have. We also go through their Pinterest inspiration board to make sure we’re on the same page visually.

During this call, we get clear on their primary website goals and map out the pages of their website.

Their prep work is due one week prior to their start date. As soon as everything is submitted, I review everything carefully ensuring I have everything needed to dive in on their start date.




Here’s what clients can expect when their start date rolls around for their brand and website design project:

When their start date rolls around my calendar is clear and my mind is focused. I begin by reviewing their prep work once more and start brainstorming ideas.

First up, the brand identity and homepage mockup come together.

After reviewing their inspiration board and style preferences, I begin sketching ideas for their new logo design. Once I have a concept I’m ready to run with, I begin designing it in Adobe Illustrator. Then, I begin creating logo variations and brand marks. During this time, I also browse hundreds if not thousands of fonts to ensure we have the perfect fit. Lastly, I create a custom color palette with their desired style + vibe in mind.

Once the brand identity has been established, I sketch out the homepage layout. When I’m happy with the rough wireframe, I begin designing in Adobe XD. Here I pull in their new brand identity elements to use throughout the homepage design.

Rather than designing the entire website at once, I start with just the homepage. An effective homepage with a great design is paramount to the success of a website. When the design is nailed for this page, the rest of the site effortlessly falls into place.

One week after their start date it’s ready to share. I record a Loom design review video walking through the design and a link for them to submit their feedback right on the homepage mockup. This part of the project includes two full rounds of refinements where we perfect the brand identity and homepage before moving on to the rest of the website pages.

Next, the design and development of the website commence.

Once the brand design and homepage are approved, I begin working on the staging site.

First, I install WordPress on the staging site, add the brand design elements and develop the homepage. Then I go back to Adobe XD and begin creating cohesive designs for the rest of the pages included in the project scope. Once I’m happy with the designs, I begin developing them on the staging site. During this phase, I also work on any of the project add-on services the client purchased at checkout.

Three weeks after their start date, the full staging site is ready for their review. The client will submit their feedback and any refinement requests. This phase also includes two rounds of refinements to grant them ample space to provide their feedback and refinement requests before launching.

Just like the prep phase, they’re always free to schedule a quick Zoom call to discuss the designs and walk through any of their feedback.

After 30 days, we’re ready to launch their new brand and website!

Just thirty days after their start day, their new brand and website are ready for the world. On their launch day, they are my top priority. This whole day is dedicated to them.

Following a series of quality checks, I walk through a thorough testing process as I move the approved staging site over to their live domain. I follow this by linking their Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts to their new website and add any provided keywords to the noted website pages.

Last but not least, I record a website training tutorial walking them through how to perform simple tasks such as editing a page, adding a blog post, or swapping in a new photo. They also receive a brand identity guide, website guide, and access to all brand files.

Support that goes the extra mile.

After launching, each client will receive a full 14-days of support for any last-minute questions that might pop up as they dive into their new website.

Then they’re welcome to roll into a Website Care Plan for worry-free, expert support every day of the week. Or for a one-time update or refresh, they can book a VIP Day.

A new website is usually just the beginning of the relationship. Since 2016, I continue to work with several clients on an ongoing basis whether that be via my Website Care Plans or VIP Days.



Of course, no project would be complete without asking for feedback on my clients’ experiences.

“Katie’s process is flawless and perfectly executed. She made the entire process of such a huge project simple and streamlined. As a busy business owner, this was like a dream come true.” —Jessica

“This process made a very detailed project enjoyable.” —Amy

“I really liked how organized Katie was. She listened to my needs, kept me on track in a timely way, and guided me through the process. I felt supported.” —Ingrid

“Katie clearly knows how to walk her clients through this process in a way that you always feel confident she knows what she’s doing.” —Sally

“Her process was well thought-through and foolproof to deliver the exact website I was dreaming of.” —Evelyn

If you’d like to chat about an elevated brand and fuss-free website for your business, I’d love to connect. Click here to book a call.

Pin for Later:

My 30-Day Brand & Website Design Process for Interior Designers

4 Comments

  1. Gina on October 15, 2019 at 8:23 AM

    What do you use to create your site outline? Handmade or tool? Thanks!

    • Katie O'Brien on October 15, 2019 at 8:33 AM

      Hi Gina! I just use Adobe Illustrator. I’ve created a basic template I tend to start with but then customize it based on the client’s site from there. I’ve tried a few different tools that were specifically for site outlines but they always felt clunky to me. I like the flexibility AI offers.



  2. Archie on July 23, 2020 at 7:04 AM

    How much do you charge for retainer clients? For maintenance of the website which may include event updates and blog posts etc.

Leave a Comment





Welcome!

Hi, I'm Katie! I'm a seasoned brand + website designer who specializes in timeless branding and fuss-free WordPress websites for interior designers. Here I share simple tips + inside peeks for interior design firms elevating their digital presence.

Explore by Category: