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 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 how 30 days works…

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



During the 30 days, you’ll receive a fully custom website design beautifully and strategically tailored to your aesthetic, goals, and client conversion. You’ll also receive a fresh brand identity with a polished logo design, color palette, carefully selected typography and other elements of your visual brand.

Aside from the mentioned, you’re given the option to sign up for a multitude of add-ons to further support you during this process. Available add-ons include lead magnet design, email marketing setup, website legal notices, and more.

While the add-on services can vary based on your needs, every brand and website design project begins with the following staple services + deliverables:

  • Website Strategy Session
  • 5-Part Brand Assignment + Prep Work Guide
  • One-on-One Design Time
  • Custom Brand & Logo Design
  • Curated Color Palette and Typography Selection
  • Custom Website Design
  • WordPress Development on a user-friendly Page Builder
  • Streamlined + Efficient 30-Day Process
  • Basic SEO Setup + Google Analytics Integration
  • Personalized Website Training
  • Launch Packet PDF
  • Invitation to a Website Care Plan

Let’s dive in a bit deeper to the streamlined process, from onboarding to launch and beyond.

— The Inquiry

After a prospective client reaches out via my contact form, we set up a no-obligation 30-minute introductory call to go over their business, answer any questions they might have, and make sure we’d be a good fit for one another.

After this call, I send out a detailed proposal outlining their project scope including their suggested start and launch date. Once they submit the proposal, sign the agreement and submit their deposit, I begin the onboarding process.

— Onboarding

Once the client submits their paperwork, I immediately block their spot on my design schedule. I strategically book my projects ensuring each project gets individual design time and creative space.

Next, I activate their Client Portal in Dubsado and then add my 5-Part Brand Assignment forms. Then I send a quick email inviting them to their Client Portal with their next steps.

Afterwhich, I get their project set up in Asana, my 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.

Then I invite them to this shared project inside of Asana where we’ll communicate from then on so everything can be found in one centralized location.

— Website Strategy Session & Client Prep Work

Soon after getting them onboarded, the client will schedule their website strategy session. During this call, we’ll get clear on the goals of their website, map out the pages for their new website and discuss any questions they might have on their Brand Assignment work.

Their prep work is due one week prior to their start date. This includes submitting their finalized website copy and images. This is also when they’ll submit their brand inspiration and share details on the overall vibe they’re seeking for their new website.

Once submitted, I thoroughly review their responses and ask clarifying questions, as needed, to ensure their dream design is nailed from the first go-round.



The 30-Day Design Process Officially Begins

On their assigned start date I send a quick note letting them know I’m diving in and what to expect when. While this is all laid out in Asana, I like to add extra reminders and checkpoints throughout so they always know what’s happening when.

— Homepage Mockup and Brand Design

Prior to diving into the homepage design, I sketch out the homepage wireframe and possible logo ideas and brainstorm colors and fonts. Then once I’m clear on the creative direction of the brand design I’ll begin pulling the pieces together and adjusting as needed.

Rather than building the entire website at once, I start with just the homepage. This ensures we’re headed in the right direction before working on the interior pages.

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.

After I design the homepage mockup, I’ll develop the page on a private WordPress staging site.

When it’s ready to share, I record a design review video walking the client through the design choices, sharing a link to the homepage, and guiding them through the feedback process.

After they submit their feedback there are two rounds of refinements to allow us to really perfect the homepage and brand design before moving on to the rest of the pages on their website.

— Interior Pages Design and Development

Using the already established homepage design as a starting point, I begin designing the rest of the pages of their website. Starting with their copy and images, I’ll sketch wireframes for each page and then begin developing each page one at a time.

After sharing the completed staging site, the client will submit their feedback. This is followed by two more rounds of refinements granting them ample space to provide their feedback and refinement requests before launching.

— Launch Day!

After the client approves the design, I begin preparing for their launch day.

On their launch day, they are my top priority. This whole day is dedicated to them and their launch.

Following a series of checklists, I walk through a thorough testing process as I launch their new website onto their live domain. Once live, I’ll link their website up to Google Analytics and Google Search Console and optimize with any keywords provided to enhance their SEO.

Afterwhich, I begin gathering all of their Brand and Website Files and prepare their Launch Packet PDF. Inside their launch packet, they’ll receive all of their brand design details and a thorough website guide with a link to a personalized website training video.

— Support and Long-term Care

After launching, every client receives 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 always invited to sign up for a Website Care Plan.

My clients always love their new brand and website, but the last thing they want is to have to constantly monitor, update, or even log into it. They want worry-free, expert website support every day of the week.

My website care plans were designed to help with ongoing maintenance, weekly updates, adding new images or text, and more.

A new brand design and website are usually just the beginning of the relationship with my clients. Since 2016, I continue to work with clients on an ongoing basis whether that be via a Website Care Plan or one-off Design Days.



Here are a few words from clients on their experience working together.

No project would be complete without asking my clients for feedback on their experience working together. While they always love the end product, their positive notes about my process are just icing on the cake.

Here’s what a few have mentioned about their experience:

“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 a new brand + website for your business, I’d love to connect. Click here to get in touch.

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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.

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Katie O’Brien, Sidebar Bog

Welcome!

Hi, I'm Katie O'Brien, a seasoned brand + website designer who specializes in elevated branding and fuss-free websites for interior designers.

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