Process Series Vol. 2 – Brand Identity

This is the second installment of our Process Series. This series takes our most common project types and lays out our philosophies and our processes for each so you can get a glimpse into what it's like working with Brave Little Beast. This week we're covering our Brand Identity Design process.

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 3 weeks. There’s some background work we’ll take care of before getting started, but once we get going we’ll be moving fast. Below is an overview of what the whole process looks like and what will be expected of you at each step of the way.

Week 0 – Kickoff Meeting & Mood Board

Before officially getting started we’ll have a kickoff meeting (either virtually or in-person) where we’ll get to know each other and 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.

And we’re sending you home with homework! We’ll ask you to take a few days to create a mood board full of images that inspire you and portray the look and feel of what you want your brand to communicate. Our main goal here is to establish a vibe. The images you collect will form a mood, and when we’re finished, the logo we design should be able to sit next to all of these images and share that same mood.

Your Weekly Homework:

Complete your mood board of inspiration imagery for your new logo. Don’t look for other logos! Look for photographs, colors, textures, instagram posts, etc! We’ll provide a list of websites we find really useful for inspiration that should be able to get you started.

Week 1 – Sketching

First thing Monday morning we’ll 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 3 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 concept and focus on only 2 moving forward.

Your Weekly Homework:

Write up your thoughts on the progress so far, including your initial impressions of the 3 recommended directions, decide which concept you’d like to eliminate, and send your feedback to us by the end-of-day Monday.

Week 2 – Digital Drafts

On Tuesday, after we’ve received and processed your thoughts on Week 1’s progress, we’ll take the 2 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 and colors, 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 concept and have 1 final concept to take into Week 3.

Your Weekly Homework:

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

Week 3 – Final Refinements

Once Tuesday rolls around, we’ll take your final chosen concept and start making the final refinements. This may be minor changes to the color scheme, testing out some different layouts, or nailing down an alternate typeface. We’ll make whatever adjustments are necessary to end up with a final logo 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. This is a multi-page document that serves as an overview of your entire identity and all the work we’ve done together. It will go over your logo, your color scheme, your typography, and show multiple mockups so that you have a fully fleshed-out system to start using. This also serves as your brand guideline document so that everyone in your company is on the same page about how things should be used going 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!

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