September 14, 2022

Process Series Vol. 2 - Brand Identity

Ryan Magada

Brand Identity? Logo? What's the difference?

Great question! The easiest way to think about it is to imagine Brand Identity as an umbrella term meaning "The visual parts and pieces that make up your brand." That can include colors, textures, patterns, typefaces, motion graphics, photography style, and...of course...your logo. While the logo isn't your entire brand identity, it's certainly the main element that drives all the others. So that's where we like to start!

Ok. So first of all, what is a logo?

Many times clients will come into a project with some preconceived notions of what a logo should be. So before we do anything else, let’s get on the same page about what to be looking for in your new logo.

A logo's core objective is to be a form of identification, not necessarily a form of communication. The logo alone does not need to tell a story. Your content and your marketing will tell your story. Your logo is only meant to help identify that content and marketing as yours.

There are really only five questions we need to ask to judge the quality of a logo:

  • Does it fit our brand personality?
  • Will this resonate with our tribes?
  • Does it deliver a high "perceived quality"?
  • Is it distinctive and memorable?
  • Is it simple and clear?

When you look at the world’s greatest brands, none of their logos tell a big story. In many cases, the larger the company, the simpler the logo. Apple, Nike, Chase, Coca Cola, FedEx. None of these logos say anything about who the company is or what they do. But they’ve grown to be the most iconic logos in the world because they can answer “Yes” to the five questions above. Keep this in mind as we begin developing concepts for your own company.

Alright, let's dig into the process.

Our brand identity design process takes 5 weeks. There’s some background work we’ll take care of before getting started, but once we get going we’ll be moving super fast!  Below is a quick overview of what the whole process looks like and what will be expected of each of us every step of the way.

Week 1 - Creative Brief & Mood Board

Before jumping into concepts and creation, we need to get to know each other! We’ll have a kickoff meeting (either virtually or in-person) where we’ll ask all sorts of questions about you, your company, your current situation, and your vision for where you’re going. Essentially what we’ll be doing is collecting information for a creative brief, which gives us the context and background we need to start developing concepts that fit your specific business.

After getting to know you and your company, the BLB team will spend some time creating  mood boards for your brand based on the information we've gathered. Mood boards are essentially a collection of images, colors, patterns, and typography that act as a visual representation of the vibe of your brand. When we’re finished, the logo we design should be able to sit on this mood board and share that same vibe.

We'll officially kick off the project on Friday, sending over 3 mood boards for you to check out and select the 2 you'd like to move forward with.

Your Weekly Homework:

Take the weekend to think about each mood board and the vibe established by each one. Which ones feel right for your brand? Which ones give off the mood that you want your customers to have when interacting with your brand? Have your thoughts over to us by Monday and we'll move into the sketching phase!

Week 2 - Sketching

First thing Monday morning we’ll take the mood boards you resonated with and begin sketching some initial concepts for your new logo. These sketches are always extremely quick and can look fairly rough, but that’s ok! The most important part of this step is getting all of our ideas out onto the page; even the bad ones.

We’ll sketch anything and everything we think could work for your brand and then we’ll organize our thoughts into our first weekly check-in document. We’ll highlight the top 4-6 concepts we recommend, pair them with some inspiration images showing the style we’re thinking would work well, and then send them your way Friday afternoon.

Take a look at what we’ve done that week, think about each concept over the weekend, and then write up your feedback on the following Monday. The goal here will be to remove the weakest concepts and focus on only 3-4 moving forward.

Your Weekly Homework:

Write up your thoughts on the progress so far, including your initial impressions of the recommended directions, decide which concepts you’d like to eliminate, and send your feedback to us by the end-of-day Monday.

Week 3 - Digital Drafts

On Tuesday, after we’ve received and processed your thoughts on Week 2’s progress, we’ll take the remaining concepts and develop them digitally. We’ll explore the concepts we’ve created and make multiple variations on them, tweaking until it’s perfect. We’ll also experiment with various typefaces, colors, and patterns, finding what fits best for your specific company. Then once again, we’ll organize the strongest contenders into the weekly check-in document and send it over on Friday afternoon.

Sometimes it can be tough to picture how a logo will work within the larger context of an entire brand, so we’ve found that at this stage it’s helpful to pair our concepts with digital mockups showing how the logo would look being used in real life. This could mean showing the logo on a mug, on a business card, printed on a shirt, etc. We’ll figure out what makes the most sense for your brand and include those in this week’s check-in document.

Again, our goal this week will be to eliminate the weakest concepts and narrow things down to just 2 concepts to take into Week 4.

Your Weekly Homework:

Write up your thoughts on the week’s progress and your feelings on the directions thus far, decide which concepts you’d like to eliminate, and send your feedback to us by the end-of-day Monday.

Week 4 - Refinements

Once Tuesday rolls around, we’ll take your final 2 concepts and make further refinements, getting these things looking really sharp. These could be changes to the color scheme, testing out some different layouts, or nailing down an alternate typeface. We'll pair these refinements with updated mockups as well, so you can really see how the brand is developing beyond just a flat logo on a page.

We'll fully explore each option so that on Friday you'll be able to look at the final check-in document and make the last elimination!

Your Weekly Homework:

The last elimination! Decide which of the last 2 concepts you'd like to move forward with. We'll focus in on only that concept going into Week 5. Have your decision to us by end-of-day Monday and we'll keep moving!

Week 5 - Final Wrap-Up

During our last week, we'll be making all the final adjustments needed to tighten this thing up into your final logo. Our goal is to end up with a mark that we can answer “Yes” to each of those 5 questions we talked about at the beginning of this process.

On Friday, instead of a weekly check-in document, we’ll send over your final Logo Package and Color Guide. The Logo Package will contain the various versions of your logo (full color, one-color, white, etc.) in every file format you could ever need. And then the Color Guide will show you exactly what colors are being used in your new brand so that you can make sure everything you do looks cohesive moving forward.

Next Steps

Unveil your new brand! This is a huge step for your company and you should be shouting it from the rooftops. If you need some help, we’ve walked through brand launches with plenty of companies over the years and we’d be thrilled to help get the word out. Whether it’s redesigning your website, updating your marketing materials, or starting an ongoing brand amplification relationship, we’re here to help in whatever way we can.

Now put that new identity to work!