When people find out that I offer brand design I often get asked: what exactly is branding? I feel like the phrase 'branding design' is often used as a fancy way of saying logo design, however to me a brand design is so much more than that! It is hard to explain in a nutshell, so I'd like to share my thoughts on what it entails below, along with a description of my design process so you can see it in action.
Brand design is relevant to business owners at all stages, whether you are just starting out and need your first logo or whether you are an established business owner and need to update your brand. Maybe you had a logo designed on the cheap at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey and deep down you know that you have outgrown it. Hint: if you are embarrassed by your logo then it's definitely time for a re-brand! Or maybe you love your logo but don't know how to implement it into your marketing materials as a full cohesive package. Branding is so much more than a pretty logo!
What is Branding?
When a potential customer comes across your business for the first time, your branding gives them a lot of clues about your professionalism, legitimacy and trustworthiness. They make these assumptions in a matter of seconds and it can very much make or break their decision about whether they choose to work with you or not. First impressions really do matter when it comes to presenting your business. A strong brand presence sets you apart in a saturated market, attracts clients, and encourages them to work with you. Therefore your brand needs to be unique and memorable and the design has to be implemented beautifully across all your marketing platforms (both digital and printed).
The foundation for your visual branding is your logo and the fonts and colours you choose to use. However, brand design also includes: your brand voice (the style of language you use in written communications), the imagery you use (photographs or illustrations, for example), and all the other design elements that help make your brand distinct. Each of these factors should be carefully tailored to attract your target market and your dream clients.
My Brand Design Process
Every business has different needs so I am happy to offer my graphic design services à la carte to fit your needs. I can design a logo by itself, however I do strongly recommend combining it with the design of other marketing items. After you have sent me over an enquiry about your project we can discuss what you would like to include so I can put together a custom quote for you and your business.
I start every brand design project with assigning homework in the form of a brand analysis written questionnaire. This will help us establish basic information about your business and will lead to a more in-depth analysis of what your brand design needs to communicate. Once you have given me your responses I will follow up with a consultation, either in person if you're local (yay!) or over Skype if you are not, to really get into the details and to answer any questions you may have. I will constantly refer back to this research during the design process to ensure that we are keeping to what we set out to achieve.
The next step is to move into visual research. We collaborate on a private Pinterest board to collect images that reflect your brand. When selecting the images it can be helpful to imagine your dream client and work out what images fit into your vision of them and how they live, or you can simply pick out images that have the kind of colours you are attracted to and would like to have included. I then curate the images and put together a visual mood board.
When I was designing my own brand I followed the same method, here is the mood board I put together for Chloe Welbaum LLC:
I knew that I wanted a very clean and classic aesthetic so was drawn to monochromatic images and patterns. However I was surprised to find that I kept pinning images with hints of emerald green in. When I was putting together my final mood board I decided that the it should be included in my palette to add an unexpected splash of colour. I would never have come to that conclusion if I hadn't taken the time to go through the process to visually research my brand!
Once we have agreed on the mood board and colour palette, it's time for the fun part: the design stage! I personally love to start my design process with a pencil and paper, doodling ideas and trying out different layouts. Then I move on to the computer and draw up three unique design ideas to present to you. I will send them over to you, bite my nails, and eagerly await your feedback! Hopefully you will love all three options, however constructive feedback is crucial here if you don't. I will encourage you to give me detailed explanations if certain things aren't working for you so we can craft a logo more in line with your brand vision. You will then have the opportunity to select one of the three design options and have up to two rounds of revisions (if needed!) to perfect the design.
To help you continue implementing your brand design properly, I will provide you with a brand guidelines document that you can keep to hand as a reference guide. And that's the end of the design process! You will have a carefully crafted brand that represents your business and as a reference, it usually looks a little bit like this!: