Why Identity Design is Critical to Your Brand

By October 27, 2016Branding Strategy

Your brand isn’t just your logo, and it isn’t something another agency creates for you.

Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.

Your identity design is a big part of how your brand is perceived, but it’s not just what your customer sees that defines your brand. It’s whether or not their calls are returned in a timely way. It’s the tone of your salesperson’s voice. It’s how funny or smart or sexy they think you are. And, with a progressively smarter and better informed consumer, just pretending you are what they want is going to reflect on your brand as well. You have to actually be funny or smart or sexy. You have to be real, and you have to be good.

As you approach your brand strategy, you’ll want to start by asking the right questions.

What is your Why? What is your Niche?

Do you have an Elevator Pitch, Unique Selling Proposition, and Value Proposition? What is your Positioning? And, have you thought through your Messaging?

The answers to these questions are vital to flesh out your brand strategy, which determines how we approach designing your logo identity, your website, and all your marketing collateral.

When you’re clear on your answers to those questions, we can start focusing in on your Identity Design.

What design style connects with your audience? What colors give a positive response? What fonts appeal? Or, maybe you already have a brand, but it’s all over the place? Do your printed materials each have their own “unique” look? Is your logo calling from the 1980’s? How do your customers recognize you?

“Firms and organizations can say that they are ‘ethical’, ‘customer centric’ or ‘service focused’, but unless they really are these things, they are wasting their time saying that they are. For me, this is why designers should stick to design, and firms should not confuse branding with the actual services or products they offer.”

Whether a new business starting fresh, a more professional direction for a fast growing business, or a brand refresh for an established company, it won’t take long for us to assess where you are in this process. We’ll start with you wherever you’re at.

Your Logo & Identity Design

To begin the logo design process, we would discuss with you your company’s goals and visual aesthetic – taking into account your persona information. Then comes the research and development stage: we would brainstorm visual elements that could creatively convey what your company does. This is followed by first draft ideas – black and white versions only to make sure the logo will be flexible for all uses down the road. We may need two or three more rounds of design work to get it just right. Lastly, refinement.

Drawing the logo on the computer is only a small component of the process; research and preparation often takes the majority of the time. Despite the simplicity and small size of the final product, designing a logo can be a surprisingly complex process.

Once we have a finished logo in hand, we can begin developing the remaining brand identity. This will include how your logo should be used is various situations; your color palette; your fonts, and what sizes and spacing to use with them; as well as other stylistic considerations like what sort of photos or illustrations to use (or not use) and where to use them.

Design Guidelines

Once your brand identity is complete, we’ll set you up with comprehensive Brand Guidelines full of instructions to help everyone who touches your brand materials stay on track. This generally takes the form of a pdf book that includes all the details of your logo and identity, plus specifications for out-bound artwork like web banner ad sizes for various publications, or print vendor information.

Marketing Collateral

With Design Guidelines in hand, we can begin to design and produce whatever collateral materials are needed to flesh out your marketing strategy. Do you meet people in person? You’ll need business cards. Do you send out bids on letterhead? Will you need templates for white papers, or brochures for tradeshow take-aways? What social media will you utilize to meet your audience where they live – and what size ad banner or cover image will you need? All of these items must be designed consistently with your brand in mind.

How important is good design in all of this? Well, honestly, it probably depends on your industry. If you’re selling expensive Italian shoes, it’s probably pretty important. If you’re selling potato mashers, maybe not so much… unless you’re selling them specifically to people who are wearing expensive Italian shoes.

Let’s make sure your brand identity is as stylish, updated and relevant as your product or service is.