Branding design process
Our process begins with market research and goes through the following stages:
1. Market Research
Research is carried out into the organisation’s competition, partners, stakeholders and the world or environment in which it operates. This can be undertaken as internet research, site visits or mystery shopper activities. The findings are presented as a document with visual examples and thoughts. This can either be delivered by email or printed and discussed in a face-to-face meeting.
If a name for the new entity is part of the requirement, then this is the next stage. A naming exercise is begun, covering many possibilities. Copywriting to include 10 possible names and taglines is submitted for approval and comment. We also include a check that the chosen names are available for trademarking if required as this is the best way to protect the brand name. Work is complete when a new name is agreed with the client.
3. Initial Concepts
Having discussed the research findings and possibly name plus agreed on some principles, we move onto the stage 1 design concepts. We play with many ideas in the studio and usually distil these down into at least three logos or marks which are visualised to a high level. In doing this, we take into account colour and imagery plus what this means in the environment that the brand will operate. Colours mean different things and evoke varying emotions depending where you are in the world.
The design visuals are presented as a document for discussion. This can either be delivered by email or printed and discussed in a face-to-face meeting.
4. Developed Designs
Taking on board feedback and comments from the client on stage 3 we move forward to develop concepts to a higher level, getting closer to an agreed solution. Ideas may be taken from more than one concept and merged. Again up to three logos or marks are visualised to a high level. This process is continued until the client is delighted with the branding solution.
The agreed logo or mark from stage 4 is developed into a set of master files suitable for all purposes. This will cover print, web/digital and signing for example. A colour palette specification in CMYK, special Pantone colours and RGB will also be prepared.
The distribution/dissemination stage of the brand identity very much depends upon the size and ambition of the client organisation. For a small start-up company the most appropriate approach is simply to deliver the brand logo master files and colour palette via email to the client. We also archive these files safely as a back-up.
For larger organisations it may be useful to write and design a set of brand guidelines, covering the application of the logo, colours and typefaces. This will include a guide to does and don’ts for usage. Further to this, a full brand or corporate guidelines manual can be prepared, covering all applications of the brand, typography and colour palette for stationery, marketing collateral, email sign-offs, signing and website applications. For larger or worldwide organisations this is important to ensure consistent application of the brand mark.
Client approval is requested at each stage. This ensures that the design solution is appropriate and effective. The client is involved with and signs off everything.
To be effective as a marketing tool the brand design and colour palette should be applied consistently across all elements, especially customer-facing. These items might be the shopfront, website, stationery, brochures or company vehicles.