Brand Identity creation
Branding & Brand Identity
16 March 2020
First things first, your brand isn’t really a tangible thing at all, and it’s most certainly not just a mere logo.
It’s a combination and culmination of a whole raft of things pertaining to the products and services your business offers, the values and ethos that it espouses and ultimately its perception amongst customers. In other words, brand is a catch-all term that defines everything related to how people “feel” when engaging with or thinking about your organisation.
Every touch point and interaction, be it online or in person with a member of your sales team all adds or detracts from your brand’s unique personality. Therefore, from a purely visual perspective, this means it’s incredibly important to maintain a consistent approach to how your company presents itself.
The kick-off meeting is the opportunity to explain your brand's virtues, it's USP and ultimately what you want to achieve with a new brand identity. It’s a great time for lots of dialogue, to get a better understanding of your industry and competitors, particularly if you are looking to establish a foothold into a new market or evolve within an existing sector. Perhaps you have already gone through this process before, maybe even when first launching your company, when discussing a previous website with your departmental colleagues or having already previously sought the help of a marketing or PR agency.
However, if not, the best way to tease out information that you inherently know, but perhaps can’t articulate is through a workshop. This can either be something you undertake internally or it could be externally managed by a brand strategy consultancy involving input from multiple key stakeholders and even valued long-term customers. This process should provide the most vital characteristics that define your business, and of equal importance those which don’t.
Informed by the results of the Brand Strategy's discovery session, the initial creative phase begins by looking at how your existing logo (if you have one) stacks up within the wider marketplace, or if it's an entirely new business or proposition, the key is to focus on what’s already standing out so you have something to reasonably benchmark against.
These embryonic designs range will typically from a word-mark (e.g. something typographic), an icon/symbol (e.g. something image based) or commonly a hybrid of the two. Some ideas could perhaps take the form of an existing shape or combination of shapes, or quite possibly be something completely abstract.
Once the initial logo ideas have been whittled down to a smaller selection with the potential for further exploration and development, the same process is undertaken for the typefaces and colour palette.
This phase involves trying various font options in serif (think the DailyTelegraph, Guardian or Independent) and sans-serif (think BBC, Sky Sports or the Premier League) and in different weights (e.g. thin, normal, bold) and cases (e.g. upper, lower, sentence). Typefaces can convey a whole gamut of emotions, such as playful or serious, modern or traditional, edgy or elegant, and getting this choice right is a crucial one.
When looking at potential colour schemes, it's generally a case of taking a lead from your existing brand guidelines and colour palette if these already exist, or if not, creating these from scratch. These are then combined with the logos to see which work best and importantly look the most balanced and attractive within the confines of the brief. and target market.
A favoured approach once this point is reached, is to demonstrate how a logo can look great on a white background and then also on a coloured background too, as this then provides ongoing flexibility and attempts to future-proof against possible usage implications
The initial logos are combined with the typeface selections and colour schemes, the next step is to create iterated versions of the logo identity. This approach, which could be termed a funnelling and feedback loop continues as the designer and client hone in on a final look.
Another key thing to bear in mind as the process nears its conclusion, is that a good logo should also be presented in several variations (e.g. vertical, horizontal, stacked or letterbox) and in groupings (e.g. the icon, word-mark and strap-line together) so that you are maximising the effectiveness of the logo working in multiple contexts. These are called logo lock-ups.
Finally, it is important to ensure that the brand identity is flexible enough to work well on social media. For example, Twitter and LinkedIn utilise a 400x400 pixel square upload image, which is displayed on their websites within a circle, thus any logo or icon needs to sit comfortably within this space and retain legibility at a small size.
The best solution, is to produce a distinct standalone set of logos that will suit this requirement, rather than try and simply upload a PNG of the main logo and hope for the best! You can even be creative about it, perhaps using just an icon on its own to fit neatly within the reduced space and then showing the full logo as part of the larger banner area that sits at the top of the profile.