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Establishing a brand

Growing the audience through visuals and positioning the business through the Brand was initiated in this Branding project for Vande Aata.


Freelancing a Branding Project

With a degree in hand and no industry experience in a pandemic-hit world, I was in Mumbai, India with my family. A lot of people were struggling to make ends meet while others were leveraging the opportunity to build businesses with home delivery as the USP. Such was a local flour manufacturing business. I decided to apply my academic knowledge to help create a brand and digital identity for this business to help them grow locally and position itself as a local, homemade but professional flour manufacturers.

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Major Learnings

Design cannot be data-driven, but it definitely has to be data-guided for business use cases. This is applicable for design direction as well as the legacy(metrics) that design produces. It is important to realise that designs are not a one-shot creation but an optimised phasing to the desired design. In a new business, this is of utmost importance as money inflow is always prioritised over desired state of design.

Empathising with the client

It is a very risky affair for a business to give freelance work, especially in design where the awareness is low. I gauged it within a week and tried to address the major issues right away. There can be many reasons for the client's insecurity, but for me, these were impacts of the work, support after engagement, honest opinions and the risk of abandoning engagement.

Developing design from scratch

Most of my freelance work has been with businesses that have less or no design foundations. It seems fair that the business owners find it viable to outsource design before investing in it. This also makes the freelancer's job to bring about awareness and setting  right expectations that the owner can expect from design. Also handing off the assets with foundation for the next designer (employee of freelancer) is really necessary. This should not only include the right assets in proper file formats but an engagement summary and mutually decided outcomes and usage guidelines.

Billing Design effort

One of the most difficult challenges for a designer is putting a price tag on their work. For this client, I charged a base minimum for producing assets while attaching my profits to the mutually agreed impact of the design.Over years, I have learnt many ways to price the design work which I have summarised in my medium blog. There are more than one ways of pricing design work and it is dependent on many factors, including the designers work bandwidth. Billing is not a one fit for all question.

Stepping in as a freelancer

Freelancing seemed the most viable option for me after receiving the degree. I was able to practice design with autonomy and explore my style of design. Although it was very difficult to convert a lead into a client. Moreover, Vande aata was a special case where the engagement started with logo design but then expanded to packaging, digital catalogue and online presence.

I got to work closely as a stakeholder and was able to experiment with the pricing too. 

Engagement insights


Use case first

Never design without a use case! Just because you can design something or the client 'thinks' that something might work, doesn't mean you are obliged to do it. Make sure there is a use case/need and an implementation plan. Not that this will guarantee no iterations, but this will reduce the probability of directionless iteration and wold give insights why a designed failed. I learnt this the hard way. Note that this client-design conversation can get sensitive so make sure to use a constructive mindset.


Share the risk

A client puts money on the table while the freelancers put a skill on the table. A client may be full of insecurities. As a designer, it is important to address these and help the business. One of the best ways to do this is to think of yourself as a stakeholder rather than a third-party service. This also opens doors for long term engagement. On the other hand if the client wants you to be only a thrid party service, you always have a choice to continue or not :P.



A business owner/client is interested in the impact, but as a designer, it is not only important to document the engagement for retrospection and maybe the portfolio, but also a responsibility towards the next designer who may or may not pick up the job from where you left. 
Nevertheless, it also becomes content to show new clients as case studies or probably write a blog or post on instagram.
Point being, Documentation has more use case than one might anticipate before creating the documentation. So assign some time and document your engagement.

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