A Detailed Guide to Creating Effective Brands
The concept of Branding and Identity Design can be a difficult topic. From it’s origins in physically branding cattle with a hot iron marker, to it’s current place as the way we speak to customers, design our website and even create products, branding is everything. According to Wikipedia, ‘A brand is an overall experience of a customer that distinguishes an organisation or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer.’
This article will help simplify the branding and brand design process and help give some simple strategies to more effectively build better brands. Before we get started, here are some wise words from Pentagrams first female principal Paula Scher.
‘Identities are the beginning of everything. They are how something is recognised and understood. What could be better than that?’
- Paula Scher
1: Brand Strategy
Discovering Brand Values – What are the core brand Values?
Mission Statement - What are you companies goals.
Value Proposition - How do you solve your customers problems?
Brand Image - Word Association
Brand Messaging - What messages communicate your brand? Why it matters and why a customer would be interested?
Part 2: Brand Identity
Initial Brand Questions
This part of the project involves sitting down with or emailing the client a series of questions, all designed to get a more rounded understanding of the business, the market, how the brand might feel and what the brand will be like in the future.
Working through these questions can be hard, especially as small companies may not have given the brand this much thought. This is where you can help to guide the customer and encourage them to dig a bit deeper into their idea and how it will come to life.
Logo Design & Brandmark Qualities
From these initial research question, you will now be able to develop a clearer idea of what the brand personality is. How it might look and what it might feel like.
From these initial questions the next stage is to start sketching and researching. I’ll often write out the company name repeatedly on a piece of paper, playing slightly with composition, capitals, emphasis. It’s in this writing that ideas will start to emerge.
When working on the design it’s important to ensure a brand is unique and effective. I like to use these 3 main points as references I will continually return to throughout each stage of the branding process.
Distinctive, Unique & Memorable: A brand logo needs to stand out. It needs to be different enough from it’s competitive to be memorable. This is one of the reasons I love to create hand drawn type for logos. It helps to ensure no one else will ever create the same design. It will always be distinct.
Cohesive: The different elements in the logo need to work well together. Often there will be a tagline or icon to accompany a logo. Tagline’s are a great way to enhance to use opportunities of a logo. Good creative copywriting can help a tagline take a logo from nice to memorable.
Simple, Scalable and flexible: It can grow and evolve with the brand. It’s simple to use and works across all different platforms.
‘Design is the silent ambassador of your brand’
– Paul Rand
Part 3: Brand Guidelines and Rollout
Turning the logo into a brand suite
Once you have the logo, you need to consider it’s usage and surrounding assets. As well as the main logo design here are the key items to consider. These assets will help to make up the basis of a brand guidelines document.
Vertical and Horizontal applications
Data visualization and Graphs
Layout Design (Print and Digital)
When all of these ideas and information comes together we have the basis of a Brand Identity and Brand Guidelines. From here the brand grows as it is used. Every use is a new layer to it’s identity which is why Brand Guidelines are important to help keep the brand on track.