Case Study

Posted in Uncategorized on September 4, 2009 by jnym

For designers, doing pro-bono work is a very important part of their careers. It can have great results for a designer giving him or her exposure, and the ability to create something that the designer can be extremely proud of. I recently had a conversation with Kandra, the creative director at a local design firm here in Denver that has done many pro-bono projects. I wanted to get an understanding from her point of view and to learn about the real life processes that a design firm will go through to get a great final outcome from start to finish.

Phases Design Studio has been open for business for 14 years beginning as a small freelance business that only dealt with a few clients. Over those 14 years they grew and became much more involved. They aren’t just a design firm, they are ‘advisers and cosultants’ to their clients providing more than just a pretty website and designs. They are informed, and knowledgeable about marketing and design and how they interrelate to one another. I thought that was a talented, well-established design firm so I decided to talk to her about her process.

Who was the client?
The client was an eyeglass company in Golden, Table Mountain Vision.

How did they find you or vice versa?
What was the project?
Why for free?
TM Vision is a growing small business that entered into a contest that Kandra, Beth Boen, and Travitt Hamilton (all experienced in marketing and design) started a couple years ago with the idea that not only businesses with a lot of money or non profit organizations should get a hand in their marketing, Denvers Making the Brand. The contest was like one small, local company helping another small local company succeed. The contest was to be used as an educational tool for clients so that they understand exactly where certain decisions come from and the reasoning behind.
After numerous entries into the contest, they began to narrow them down to 50 candidates, down to 9. They conducted phone interviews with the nine semi finalists, then down to 3 finalists. They interviewed the 3 and did lots of research to find out about the company, and their business plans to find out if they were worth branding. The winner, of course, was TM Vision.
What was the process?
After the initial process of deciding on the winner of the contest, the design firm spent 6 weeks doing research and finding out everything about the business, their competition and etc. They also had many meetings with the client to learn more as well which Kandra called the discovery.
Through conducting research they came to realize what it was that made this company different than just any other eyeglass/ vision store, like for example LensCrafters. They thought TMV needed something that would really differentiate them from their competition. After all the research was done, they reviewed it all with the client for approval. Once approval was received, they began to figure out what would make this local business stand out and they knew the way to market this business. Then they came up with sort of a marketing plan outlining to the client their thought, concepts, and essentially what they wanted to do. Once that too was approved they began the really fun part. Designing. They would make a few things for TMV: a new logo, a brand standards guide, mailwork, website, a billboard campaign, t-shirts/ apparel, and video. They did use some subcontractors for things like SEO, and photography, which they take care of and then just add that price to the overall cost of their service.
During the process…
I asked Kandra how they prioritized this project with all of the other projects that her firm was doing and she told me that they treated this one as if they were any other paying client, giving good service and design. Kandra also told me that working with the owner of TMV, Kelly Condon, was very pleasant. She knew what she wanted and was flexible to their design ideas as well. She gave good feedback. Kandra told me that she was very happy with the help that Kelly gave her during the process and was very easy to work with.
The final product
Once all of their pieces were created they were sent off for final approval and it was a success with the client. They even helped with the grand opening, getting news coverage, articles in the local paper and even some national recognition. So the final product with the client and designers was very good. Everyone was really happy with it. It is a little bit soon to tell the impact of the new branding but I was told that the last Making the Brand winner saw a 150% increase in business since

Some of the design work..

The website created

The website created


Some questions…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2009 by jnym

I finished writing out the questions that I’m planning to ask the representative for the design firm that I chose. The list isn’t definitive and can change but I think I’m on the right track so far. I will be speaking with Kandra Churchwell, creative director of Phases Design Studio. Phases Design is a 14 year old design firm specializing in print, web, and full out corporate branding. I looked through their online sample of work. Its very clean and professional, not only that but also plentiful. This design firm has plenty of experience which should be good for this project. My interview questions follow.

1. Who was the client?

2. Did you find them or did they find you and how?

3. What was the project?

4. Why did you decide to do it for free?

5. Can you explain the design process that you went through to arrive at the

final product?

6. How did you like working on it?

7. What was your motivation or connection with this project?

8. How much control did you allow yourself since it was free?

9. How was this project prioritized with your other projects?

10. How many people were assigned to it?

11. How did you follow up with client during the process?

12. How did the client feel about it / what was their feedback?

13. How many pro‐bono projects do you undertake a year, if any?

14. How did you feel about the final product?

15. How effective was it in the end?

Phases Design Studio

2636 S. Irving st