Back in the day, when I first started getting my portfolio together [grandma emoji] - I did what a lot of student designers do, and slapped up a .jpg of the final image. I had a simple grid style portfolio and you could click around and look at the different projects. It was as basic as you could get, and I don’t think it did anything for me.
Eventually, I discovered mockups, which helped take my portfolio to the next level (visually, that is). It helped give my work “life” and potential clients could better visualize what I was capable of. I would get a client job here and there, but nothing I could make a full time living off of.
If there’s one piece of advice you get over and over again when you’re getting started as a designer (or any creative career really)- it’s that you have to define your niche.
This seemingly simple task can hold people up for weeks, months- even years in getting started because they can’t figure what kind of designer they want to be, who they want to work with, what their style is...it’s overwhelming!
Most of these tips are about readability, it’s the designer’s job is to create materials that are easy for the consumer to understand whether that’s the ability to read a map, signage or just plain old legibility.
Today, we’re going to be talking about STYLE GUIDES! A style guide is exactly what it sounds like, a document that outlines the “rules” or guidelines the brand style should follow.
Before we get too deep into talking about style guides, I want to mention that I think there can be fluidity within your blog/brand/website style if it makes sense for your audience or goals and values.
It all starts of with doing your research. This will always be one of the first things you’ll want to do and every designer has a different process but in some way or another, go through a creative brief with a client so that your design matches their values/goals/brand.
While you're doing your research, don’t forget to check out what your competition is doing. That way, you can see what the target market is used to and it can help give you ideas of what to avoid or what you can do to stand out.
To create better and more consistent quality designs, it's important to follow a process. It's important to remember that every designer's process is different, you can tweak steps to better fit your "flow" :)
At this point in the project we have: Met with the client, filled out a creative brief for the project and determined our final goals of the project. We’re designing wedding invitations, so it’s less about the audience and more about the bride’s preferences!
I always say that the logo and brand identity course can work for more than just learning how to design logos. That's because it's a tried and true process I've used on everything from banner ads to t-shirt designs.
I wanted to show you what I mean, so I decided to create a mood board for a wedding invitation project I'm currently working on.