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In this succinct course, author, speaker, and marketing expert Lorrie Thomas Ross provides an overview of the basics of branding your business or yourself through consistency, communication, and effective collateral. The course shows how images, messaging, and market positioning can help you build visibility and credibility among customers. It includes real examples of successful brands and how aspects such as color, logos, and fonts, not to mention a strong web presence, contribute to their success.
To illustrate the process of selecting images, colors, and fonts, we're going to share the details of the real process we went through in developing the No Obstacles Sport logo. The marketing team took the first step in the process: they documented their ideas and criteria into the creative brief. If you have multiple stakeholders in the decision process, make sure that you consolidate all opinions in this document. A designer will want a brief before they start work. This step will save everyone a lot of time and frustration.
During meetings to get consensus, someone on the team realized that No Obstacles has the acronym N-O, NO, which could feel negative if the logo emphasizes this. They added a line to the creative brief about the point so the designer didn't accidentally emphasize the "No" in the design. Sometimes challenges that emerge in the creative process can become great opportunities. Tools like the creative brief help organize and facilitate this. Once the designer received the brief, step two began: design.
He did his first designs in black and white only. Sometimes when colors are included in the first rounds it can derail focus on trivial things like, "can the green be brighter?" or "I don't like that shade of purple." In the first round of reviews the team realized that some of the concepts were not as gender-neutral as the brief specified, or reminded them of other company's logos. They threw these ones out immediately. They liked the horizontal logos more than the vertical ones. The horizontal logos work better for the website header design and on apparel.
One of the designs that stacked the N and O so it didn't spell No was what the team asked for in the brief, but it unintentionally looked like a lock. Instead of throwing out this logo the team was inspired. They ask the designer to try the N-O, but in an unlocked manner. It worked yielding a brand distinction. Showing and telling the power of unlocking athletic barriers became part of the No Obstacles brand story. Here are examples of the second round of design.
You'll see a more focused theme in this round thinks to feedback from the first phase. The team got back an unlocked icon in two versions: one with it fully centered and one with a coming slightly off the circle, which the team liked. The favorite font was presented with different layering features for the team to review. You'll also see in this round that the designer moved into color options. The team made their final decision based on visual appeal, but also on what would embroider easily and work well across all brand usage.
No Obstacles Sport came out with a logo that they were all very happy with, and the creative process yielded a cool unlocking icon that wasn't part of the original creative direction. As you have seen, the power of creative collaboration is an organic process. Remember that respect is reciprocal. Focus first with the creative brief, then let the design process be a creative conversation. Lastly, wrap up the final product with a style guide, which we'll explore next.
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