Join Sean Adams for an in-depth discussion in this video The elements of branding, part of Branding for Designers.
- The world of branding is a complex world with multiple ways of communicating. The days of a nice logo and print campaign are gone. Today, we cover our bases and manage all points of communication, from a poster to a Facebook page. My first step is to determine a clear strategy. Now, this is often misunderstood, and designers barge into meetings with the CEO claiming to understand the business issues. Unless you have an MBA, it's best to leave that to people who actually have an MBA.
When we talk about strategy in the context of design, we are talking about communication strategy. What is the client saying, to whom, and how? Once I know the answers to these questions and the client has agreed on the message, I can start designing. And the best place to start is the logo. The logo is the entry point to the brand. It's the visual expression of a brand's identity and values. It's shorthand, and it tells the viewer who is speaking, and what they believe.
It doesn't describe the client's business, it identifies it. The visual system is the kit of parts that give the client a proprietary look. Being consistent with typography, color, images, and style, helps the viewer identify the brand quickly. This also reinforces the brand message. Is it luxurious and rich, serious and stable, or innovative and new? The goal is to combine all these elements.
The logo, color palette, typography, images, and style, with the right words to communicate a clear message. If it's done well, I should be able to know what the brand is without seeing the name or logo. The process will require frequent check-in with the client. This is collaboration between you and the client. Ongoing communication and review of alternative ideas helps guide the solution to the right message.
You will never know your client's business better than they do, so it's important to work with them. Now remember, clients are civilians, not designers. They may not know the best way to express their thoughts. Patience, while pulling the visual elements together, is, as always, a virtue.
- The history of branding (pre- and post-1950)
- The elements of branding
- Conducting research
- Solving problems and presenting solutions
- Creating logos and identity systems
- Building a visual system with color, typography, and more
- Communicating branding with manuals and vision books