Defining Aesthetics with @KeshiaMWhite
Q: Give an intro, who you are, what you do, your biz name?
A: I’m Keshia White and I’m the Founder of Keshia M. White Designs. I’m a Brand and Web Designer. I specialize in helping coaches, consultants, and other service providers create strategic brands and websites that help them attract more high quality clients online.
Q: When did you start doing design?
A: I started designing when I started blogging in 2014. I was in search of a creative hobby, so I wanted to start a lifestyle blog. Since it was just a hobby, I designed my own website (which was terrible in hindsight), but I really enjoyed the process of doing it! I was also in search of a new skill that would be more in demand than my generic marketing degree because I was working in sales for my 9-5 and I hated it. So I pursued web design in the evenings after my day job by enrolling in a web design certificate. I didn’t want to learn all on my own because I wanted someone to help me whenever I’d get stuck or need guidance. From there, I started designing from time to time on the side of my day job for a few years before taking my business full time.
Q: How did you get into brand design specifically?
A: I got into brand design the year after finishing my web design certificate course. Though that course taught me the fundamentals of web design and a few Photoshop and Illustrator basics, I noticed that I needed to uplevel my brand and visual design to create aesthetically pleasing websites. So, since I like getting help as I learn, I found another course to help. This time it was an 8-week visual design course at General Assembly. There, I learned how to develop customized branding from start to finish for stronger, more captivating websites. It was my first time really learning about mood boards, color theory, selecting fonts, etc. It was great! It made me wish I would’ve gone to art school back in college.
Q: Who is your ideal client?
A: My ideal clients are experienced service-based business owners. I prefer experienced clients because they typically have more clarity on what they do and who they do it for, so we’re able to create designs that make a better impact on their businesses. Since I’m also a service-based business, I connect best with the structure and marketing/sales strategies of service-based business owners. This helps me strategize with them, not only from the design standpoint, but also from a strategic marketing and lead generation standpoint. I love helping my clients create brands and websites that help them attract more of their ideal high quality clients!
Q: What are their biggest pain points when it comes to branding?
A: Their biggest pain points is lack of cohesive branding everywhere they’re promoting their businesses, whether it’s their websites to social media pages to other marketing materials like media kits. Typically, when they’re just starting out, they either DIY or invest in random one-off designs and they end up with a hodgepodge of low quality designs that really don’t show them off as the real experts that they are. They don’t realize that low quality design really affects how their ideal clients perceive them in the market. And as a result, they’re most likely missing out on tons of potential clients every year because they’re positioning themselves as amateurs, instead of credible experts.
Q: How important is brand positioning and research to your design process?
A: Brand positioning is super important because it helps me create designs for my clients that communicate the right message about the quality of what they do and who they do it for. Design should set businesses apart in the market by showing what makes them unique to draw in more of their ideal clients. So I always start projects with a brand strategy session first to understand the positioning of their businesses and then I do research on their market before I start designing anything. This helps me create design that actually supports their business objectives.
Q: What are the first steps you take when you’re working with a new client?
A: When I start working with a new client, I first start with a 2-hour brand strategy session. I do it “workshop style” with a 15+ page brand strategy session workbook that we go through together. We cover their company mission/purpose, unique selling proposition, their ideal client avatars, marketing strategies, revenue generating services, and more. Doing this provides a clear picture for me as the designer, so I know how to design in a way that will emphasize the right points about their businesses to draw in their ideal clients and to help them sell their revenue generating services.
Q: How do you help define someone’s visual style if they are unsure of their personal aesthetic?
A: Doing the brand strategy session first really helps with this! It takes the pressure off of the client to think from a designer's perspective because most people aren’t into design and aesthetics, so that’s not something they’re usually able to articulate well. During the brand strategy sessions, we cover brand attributes and I ask them to tell me adjectives that describe how they want their companies to be perceived, what makes them different, how they’d describe their ideal clients, etc. This exercise ends up giving me a good idea of what their personal aesthetic should be.
Q: What are your favorite design tools for research?
Q: Creativity is a tricky beast -- what do you do when you’re not feeling creative? How do you get out of a creative funk?
A: When I’m not feeling creative, I give myself permission to take a break and recharge. I’ll either get some delicious takeout or cook a good dinner and maybe do a Netflix binge and get some sleep. I always come back refreshed and ready to go once I take a break.
Q: You upload IGTV videos really regularly! How do you come up with topics to discuss?
A: I think from the perspective of my ideal clients and I consider the outcomes they want in their businesses (like more quality clients, more speaking engagements, etc.) or what they may be struggling with in their businesses. Doing this helps me create topics for videos that will be helpful for them, hopefully building authority with them, so they’ll become more familiar with me and decide to work with me at some point in the future.
CONNECT WITH KESHIA M. WHITE:
You can find me @keshiamwhite on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
I’m also on Behance at https://www.behance.net/keshiawhit9e1f.