The Brand Identity Process: More Than Just a Logo
We live in a world that is covered in branding.
Studies show that businesses with strong, consistent branding across all platforms increase revenue by up to 33% and are 3 to 4 times more likely to experience brand visibility (Source).
What does this mean for you?
Your business is losing money if you don't have a strategy behind your brand.
At MC2, one of the many ways we can help your business stand out from the crowd is by developing a consistent and clear brand identity across all facets of your company.
What’s the difference between a “brand” and a “brand identity”?
Although the word “brand” often is used loosely and interchangeably, your brand is the world’s perception of your company as a whole: who you are, what you do, and the style in which you go about doing it. Think of it as your company’s reputation. Your brand identity, on the other hand, is all of the visual elements that define your brand: your logo, color scheme, fonts, marketing materials etc.
If your brand is your company’s reputation, your brand identity is your company’s personal sense of style.
We’ve developed a detailed process for creating engaging brand identities that stand out and are geared directly towards your target audience to maximize your success.
Here’s how we do it:
Phase 1: Client Discovery & Research
The first step in the process is to gather as much information as we can about your business and the industry you operate in. It starts with a meeting so you can explain your product or service to our team, and help us understand what you are looking for. After our initial meeting, we research your competitors, as well as design trends in the industry.
At the end of this phase, the following questions should have definitive answers:
What is the product or service?
- What need or want does it fulfill?
- How does it make someone’s life better?
- How does it make someone feel?
Who is the target audience?
- What do they want?
- What problem do they need solved?
- What are they visually attracted to?
Who are the competitors?
- What are they doing successfully?
- What are they doing unsuccessfully?
- How are you different from them?
Phase 2: Stylescape Development
With our research and information in hand, it’s time to develop a visual look and feel for your brand. We start off by developing a few stylescapes to choose from. A stylescape is essentially an elevated form of a mood board—it is a curation of design references, colors, typography, photography, patterns, and textures that define a unified visual look.
We do this to:
- Agree upon a general design direction
- Gather inspiration for the logo and define a style we want to achieve
- Generate a visual roadmap for future marketing items to ensure consistency with every piece designed
Phase 3: Logo Sketches
Finally, it's time to start working on the logo! Referencing our research notes and chosen stylescape, we start sketching out all of our ideas. Sketching is an easy and fast way to brainstorm quickly and effectively, so we can lay every idea out on the table and discover what works and what doesn’t. Once we have generated all of our ideas, we select a few of the strongest options, and create more refined sketches to review with you. We typically present three options, but no more than five to avoid overwhelming the client with choices.
Phase 4: Create a Vector Logo
Once a sketched concept is chosen, it’s time to go digital! We create a vector (scalable graphic) file of the logo in black and perfect the composition into its cleanest, simplest form. Presenting the logo in black allows you to focus solely on form, and not be distracted by colors.
Phase 5: Develop and Integrate Color Palette
Utilizing both the stylescape and some basic color theory for direction, we develop and integrate a unique color palette. Usually the logo only contains one to three colors, with a set of supporting colors that complement the logo and can be used in the rest of the branding materials.
Phase 6: Compile Everything Into One Handy Brand Guide
Your logo and color palette are complete! Now it’s time to define your brand’s visual characteristics and how to use them across all platforms to maximize consistency and brand recognition. This is an extremely important component to your brand identity because it will help you and your employees understand how to keep your brand consistent across all platforms and media. Some even refer to it as a “Brand Bible”. Remember—consistent brands are memorable brands!
Each brand guide is different depending on the company’s needs, but--in most cases--the style guide will include:
- Your logo, any variations it may have, and display guidelines
- Your brand fonts, and how to use them consistently
- Your color palette and its numeric values (PMS, CMYK, RGB, Hex)
- Any defining icons, patterns or textures, and the nature in which they are used
- A business system (Business card, letterhead and envelope layouts)
- An email signature
- Photography style and image guidelines
- Messaging tone and personality
Phase 7: File Delivery
Your brand identity package is now complete and ready for delivery. This is where we wrap up all of your asset files: logo library, fonts, brand guide and any other pertinent files and share them digitally with you. With your asset files and style guide in hand, you’re now ready to present your new brand identity to the world in a clear, consistent way that will enhance your audience’s recognition and increase your revenue.