BrandingAny good designer or marketeer will know that a brand isn’t just a logo.  A brand is the face, life and soul of the company. Its the feeling people get when they buy the companies product or service. Its the feeling the staff get when they work for the company. A brand is an embodiment of everything the company is about. In order to create the ‘perfect’ brand, you need to tackle the brief in a very thorough way:

1. Understand and have faith in the business you are branding

Firstly and fore-mostly, you need to understand what your branding. This isn’t just knowing their market – its more than that. Understanding the business is understanding:

  • The history of the business
  • The direction of the business
  • Their market position
  • Their target audience
  • Their current/intended ethos
  • Their size
  • Their success/failures up until now.

Creating a mood board to illustrate your research is often a great way of creating a timeline of the business in an aesthetically pleasing way.

2. Discover what the business connotes, and what their target audience want to buy into

Look into the positives and negatives of what people think of the business up until now, and what they would want their target audience to associate the business with in the future? Do they have a rich heritage that you can exploit? Or do they have certain positive and forward thinking mentalities that you can bring to the fore-front? Once you have established a direction for the business, then the job of creating the artwork becomes a much more simple one.

3. Inspire yourself, but don’t fence yourself in

Look around existing logos and brands to inspire yourself. All ideas spawn from an idea, so don’t be afraid to draw influence from existing brands (so long as your final outcome isn’t too similar). Often the most groundbreaking decisions you make at this stage is what you want your brand to not be like. After all, you want the business to be one step ahead from its competitors.

4. Create a brand strategy, which includes the tone & ethos you want the business to convey

This is a written document of information that captures all of the above points and materialises them as a reference. In this document, you can outline:

  • What parts of the brand you intend to be rigid and longlasting, and what parts will be dynamic and flexible
  • What the core ethos, mission statement, direction and audience the business is aiming for
  • A list of intended projects and goals that will be set up to promote the new brand
  • The brands relationship with the businesses main marketing stategy, and how it intends to syncronise with it (in the short term and in the long term)

5. Conceptualise a logo and consider its potential expansion throughout mediums (with the use of mockups)

Now the brand has now been created, all that is left to do is visualise it. Although a brand isn’t just the logo, the logo design is still pivotal. When designing a logo, consider these points:

  • Is the logo simple?
  • Is it memorable?
  • Is it clever?
  • Can it work in mono as well as colour?
  • Does it scale down well?
  • Is it original?
  • Does it encapsulate the brand?
  • Is it timeless?

Using Resources like LogoLounge can help you gather inspiration from lots of different markets and disciplines.

6. Get feedback and develop – remembering to refer back to your brand strategy.

Never be afraid to get feedback on your logo/artwork. Embrace criticism, but also be confident in your ability. Refer back to your brand strategy  if need be. If you can justify your artwork with your brand strategy, it should keep you in good stead for when you present.

7. Create brand guidelines, and inform/inspire the companies staff towards abiding to it.

Once you have agreed your logo and artwork with colleagues/the client – get yourself organized. Half of the battle is the implementation of the brand, and not just the initial conceptualisation. In order to implement your brand efficiently, you need to:

  • Create a thorough set of brand guidelines that include information such as brand/logo treatment, allowable house colours and allowable typefaces. These need to be created as if you were asking an unfimilar person to design a poster to your brand style. It should be a step-by-step guide to implementing the brand in its correct way. When creating brand guidelines, remember to be rigid, but also allow creative flexibility. Its this creative freedom that will allow your brand to progress over time. A good reference to creating thorough brand guidelines can be seen here.
  • Ensure that the business’ staff are fully aware of the brand strategy, and urge them to consider it in all relations with external contacts. Even the way emails are worded can be influenced by the brand’s ethos. Whether the brand is professional and slick, or fun and colloquial – every area of the business needs to embrace this as its attitude when carrying out every task.

8. Plan a launch date

Creating a launch date will give you a deadline to synchronise your initial launch campaign. This campaign will be the primary push of the blocks for the business at this turbulent stage, so it needs to be effective and organised properly.

9. Print/produce all of your new mediums

Allow yourself plenty of time to print and produce all the initial brand elements (website, stationary, advertisements etc). Exposure is important, so aim for a variety of effective mediums.

10. Launch and watch it evolve.

Launch the brand, gauge its reaction and start planning for the future!