It is easy to be lulled by the familiarity of your company’s brand. Is it up to date, versatile, and attractive? Are you sure? Your brand is the face of your company, and it matters a great deal how it is perceived, so you’d better be.
(read about how to tell if it’s time for a brand refresh here)
Once you’ve decided that:
A. Your current brand needs work OR
B. You have a great new idea that needs a brand
You may wonder “what’s next?” Great news, today we will explore a quick breakdown of the branding process. With the help of our design team, we have simplified this process down to five essential steps.
Step One: Vision
Before even beginning to draft up a logo or create a new design, the first step in the branding process is to establish vision. At VSG, we believe that a company’s vision will drive the course of their actions and is particularly important to solidify from the very beginning.
Now it’s time to ask yourself the tough questions.
Who are you as a company? What is your culture like? How should that be channeled into the design of your brand?
Try and Identify the core characteristics of what makes you unique.
Step Two: Discovery
Now that you have started to identify a vision for how the company should be represented, it’s time to “discover”.
When you are working with an agency, this is often our first kick-off meeting in which we pepper you with questions- seeking to get to know you and your company as well as we can. (Coming to this discovery meeting with your vision well defined is super helpful!)
We may ask:
How do you want people to feel when they hear your name or see your logo? What is the most important adjective they could identify about it after 30 seconds of hearing or seeing it?
What are your non-negotiables? Do you HAVE to have a certain color, shape or noun involved?
And always know the local Market. What’s out there right now? Who are your competitors? What do you like and dislike about their name/brand?
If you are embarking on the branding process, ask these questions of yourself!
Once we have spoken with you, we also supplement the information you give us with our own market research. Discovery is key in identifying expectations for the brand.
Step Three: Design
Now we’re on to the fun part. With all that you have discovered about your company in mind, begin to draft up designs. Some prefer to do this by hand and sketch out concepts, but there’s nothing wrong with using programs through the computer to begin this process. Look at different fonts, colors, sizes and angles.
However you choose to create your design, DO NOT forget to make your design scalable. Be sure that the design will be versatile enough for practical use on something as small as an envelope seal or as large as a billboard. We suggest using vector-based logos, which will help to create this consistency in branding.
Once you have the top 2-3 designs, begin to draft up “mood boards”. Mood boards can be used to show color palettes, typography, visual elements, and other ideas for how the logo and other supporting elements can come together.
We do ours like this:
Step Four: Selection
Spread out your mood boards with your inner circle. (If working with an agency, we would bring mood boards to you and present them to your team at this point)
Take a deep breath, open your mind, and review. What kind of feelings will it evoke? Ask yourself, “How will this look in ten years?” Can your brand stand the test of time? Which one fits best? Is there a clear favorite?
Begin to eliminate options and select what best fits with the original vision that you shared together. You may have to go back to the drawing board and begin designing again, or perhaps you only need small adjustments to get it perfect. Repeat until you select your new brand.
Step Five: Implementation
Congratulations! You now have a thoroughly drafted brand for your unique company. You can now use your new brand on your website, print collateral, merchandise, and in other marketing. Although the hard part is done, implementation can still be tricky. How effectively you use your logo will be key in this final, yet ongoing stage of the branding process.
If you haven’t already noticed, at VSG we like to focus on “Ideas applied”, which means that we won’t leave you hanging after we give you logo files. Once we have helped to create your new look, we will show you how to strategically market your brand and help you with the implementation and application.