How we work: our process in a typical project

Development grid for the La Nave wordmark

What follows is an explanation of our process behind a typical project. Whilst we’ll be detailing the process behind a brand identity specifically in this article, much of the steps are the same (or at least share some similarities) for the other kinds of work we do as well.

Why have a process?

We’ve found over the years that a branding project works best with some kind of framework and structure behind it. First of all, it enables us to align expectations and communicate efficiently with the client right from the start, and involve them in the process from the very beginning. It allows for greater transparency and, notably, trust. It serves as a guide for both parties throughout the project, and helps focus efforts on next actionable tasks in very big projects. Most importantly, it allows us to follow a path together, studio and client, and reach a final solution together. There are no surprises, no final designs shown after months of radio silence that may differ completely from what the client had in mind. If errors are made they can be resolved quickly, and if we veer down a wrong path we can soon correct course. All in all, it allows for a greater final product, made with greater clarity, and with a greater understanding between all parties of exactly what we are all trying to achieve.

Because of this, the process is pretty important to us and our method of working. We can’t remember having tried to work without one entirely, but there have definitely been several instances where we've jumped steps against our better judgment, often in order to meet an unrealistic deadline or last-minute request. We’ve come to the realization that this is of no benefit to anyone; it tends to not result in the best final product.

It’s important for both parties to buy into the idea of the process and why it’s necessary. Usually this can be achieved by jumping on a call, in which we’ll explain what we’ve outlined here.

1. Introduction & Proposal

We start off any potential project with an introductory call. There are occasions where we’ll screen requests and decline before even getting to this stage, but they’re not in the majority. It’s a stage in which both parties are looking to see if they’d be a good fit for each other. After the call, we’ll take a day or two to consider if we’d want to take on the project and, if so, we prepare a PDF outlining our proposal and pricing. If we come to an agreement, we sign a contract detailing exactly what work will be provided and by what date. We then usually require a percentage of the total invoice paid upfront before commencing work.

2. Discovery

The Discovery stage is an extension of the Introduction, but this time diving deeper into the client’s business and problem(s). In the past, we’d sometimes skip this stage depending on client budget and deadlines, but we’re now convinced it’s a necessary step. Depending on the size of the project, this can either be a relatively quick meeting or a fully-fledged workshop. Either way, we prefer to do this in a live session instead of just emailing out a list of questions. We feel it leads to better responses, and we can help guide the conversation where necessary.

3. Analysis of the problem, sector, competition

For some projects, it’s important for us to investigate in greater depth the client’s industry, their products, and their competitors. We might want to test a user experience or product ourselves, or learn more about a certain area in order to fully understand and be able to develop a solution to the problem. The more we understand all of these areas, the more we increase the likelihood of the project being successful and having the intended impact.

4. Moodboards

After all the Introductory and Discovery/Analysis discussions, there’s still nothing like tangible, visual references to make sure we’re aligned with a client in terms of the look and feel and conceptual direction for a project. Whilst some of these references would undoubtedly be mentioned in the initial calls, moodboards allow us to keep pushing further. They allow us to deeply explore art and creative direction concepts, free from the logistics and resources needed for actual execution. We don’t have a set number of boards we aim to create each time, instead trusting whatever feels right for each project and each direction. Some ideas are simple, others more complex. Some references work only when combined with a number of others, whilst others speak for themselves and are understood immediately with just a single image.

5. Start of design, development

By this point we’re usually dying to start working up some visuals. Although we do have a few internal processes we like to follow at this stage, we always leave room for plenty of experimentation. Occasionally, there’ll be a nagging idea that we’ll feel compelled to try out quickly. And, sometimes, we’ll have to ‘get the bad ideas out of the way’, so to speak. With regard to illustration projects, it’s at this stage where we’ll begin to work on sketches for initial client feedback.

6. Rounds of delivery & feedback

In every project, we like to involve the client as much as realistically possible whilst also allowing for periods of uninterrupted, focused work. In some projects, this feedback could take the form of a lighter touch and only a handful of amends, and in others it could be more detailed and come from a group of key stakeholders.

We’ve found that specific rounds of feedback are the best way for us to schedule a space and time for clients to give quality, organized input. They also allow us the necessary freedom for creative exploration in between rounds.

7. Final delivery & brand rollout

After receiving final approval, we’ll develop polished brand guidelines and hand off all necessary brand assets. It’s often at this point where we’ll also begin work on any secondary stages of a project, for example the designing of merchandise, a website, interior signage, etc.

8. *Performance analysis, metrics, A/B tests etc.

When applicable to the project (and when budget allows), it’s especially useful to allow for a period in which modifications can be made based on conversion or other relevant metrics, e.g., user engagement. A/B testing can be a way to compare the performance between two otherwise equal designs. We can change out a specific variable, for example hero imagery or headline text, and then measure click-throughs across a statistically-relevant sample size of users. We can then either deploy the winning design into production, or continue further testing.


For some, following such a defined process may run contrary to their pre-existing notions of design and what it is to be creative. But we want to challenge those ideas. Whilst it’s certainly possible to reach strong solutions without such a defined process, having one in place increases the chance of a project’s success. It builds trust and alignment between client and studio, and can end up actually saving time in the long run. We think that’s a win-win. ✦

Have a branding project in mind and think we may be able to help? Arrange an introductory call to see if we’d be a good fit. Send us an email, or fill out the form on our Contact page.

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