Website Design Step 1: Discovery

Hair Salon Logo Design

One of the main goals of this blog is to demystify the design process for people who are collaborating with a designer. The first step in any good design process is discovery. To illustrate the process, I am going to use a sample project, for a hair salon logo design.

To understand a business, I have to ask an obscene amount of questions. Most of these are in person, but I use a questionnaire to gather unique insights. Some of these questions are straight forwards like “How do you want your company’s name to appear in your logo?” and “What is your company’s mission and vision?”. Some of these questions seem repetitive and irrelevant, but that is where I really get an understanding of you and your business. Below is a few of my staple questions, of course, a lot of the questions are project specific.

  • What are the long-term goals of your company’s?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your company’s?
  • Describe your company in one sentence? In two words? In one word?
  • How does the community see your company today?
  • What feeling or message do you want your identity to convey?

And my personal favorite, “If your company was a person… Who would it be?” I tend to get a unique response out of this one. The most popular answer is the Dos Equis man. That is fair.

Whenever I can, I extend the questionnaire beyond the client to their audience because ultimately these are the most important people in this process! This is done in a few ways, the most common is utilizing an email list to send out a survey, but during a recent neighborhood association branding project, we went as far as door-to-door surveying!

Example Project — Hair Salon Logo Design

(Remember, this is all fictional.)

Let me set the scene, I am working with a hair salon to develop a new logo for them. They have an existing logo, but it isn’t good, like Comic Sans and neon colors bad. They recognized that, and that is why they are working with me. As a professional, I never want to criticize a Client’s existing work — they know it is bad because they hired a designer to redo it. Why put salt in the wound?

During the project kick-off meeting, I gave them a questionnaire to fill out with the following questions. I have some templated questions, but a lot of unique ones to that business.

For the first section, I want to know about their current business.

  • What are your goals for your new logo?
  • What are your Salon’s mission and vision?
  • What puts you above your competitors?
  • What is your salon great at?
  • What is your salon not so great at?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Describe your salon in one sentence? In two words? In one word?

Then I want to know where they want their business to be.

  • If your salon was a hair style, what would it be?
  • How do your customers see your salon today?
  • How do you want the area to view your salon?
  • What feeling or message do you want your identity to convey?
  • What are the long-term goals of your salon?

I have to end with some practical and necessary questions.

  • What do you like about your current logo?
  • How do you want your Salon’s name to appear in your logo?
  • Where do you plan on using your logo?

I ask my clients to spend some time with this. It is easy to spot someone who hasn’t fully thought through these questions. I would say without any hesitation, that this is the most important step in the process. A client’s answers to these question, are going to affect the outcome of the project.

Communication is the key to any successful project. Designers are pretty awesome, but we aren’t mind readers!


I am currently accepting new freelance clients

If you have a great idea or project, I’d love to hear from you.