Let’s face it,the branding process steps undertaken by design agencies can be quite mystifying (and often even a little intimidating!) to the majority of clients. You know that the end outcome needs to be the establishment of a professional brand identity and logo for your business. You probably know that the core elements that support that include the provision of a corporate style guide, native fonts and, where applicable, illustrations and/or iconography. But rightly so, you’ll likely want to know a lot more about what to expect.
In attempting to dispel any confusion, we’ve outlined the core steps in our branding and logo design process below. The methodology utilised by other agencies might slightly deviate from this, but our process is designed to be very straightforward and transparent. We believe in always opening ourselves up for questions and collaboration whenever necessary, as we progress through each project we’re engaged on.
Step 1: Detailed Project Briefing
Step 1 involves obtaining a detailed project brief from you, the client. This, and any follow up questions we might have, ensures we have a complete understanding of your requirements. Undisputedly, this is the most important of all the branding process steps. Without gaining this in-depth knowledge up front, the project will almost certainly fail.
The briefing process includes gaining a clear and comprehensive insight into your business and its main objectives. We delve in detail into your target audience(s), short and long term marketing and sales objectives and key competitors. We also invite discussion of your business’ ethos and origins and your individual visual preferences.
For this we have, over the years, fine tuned a digital design questionnaire. It helps us flesh this information out and delivers it to us in a consistent format, project to project. It is an essential part of our branding process. We’ll kindly ask you to complete this to the very best of your ability. You’re welcome to supplement this with other materials including business plans, links to websites and/or visual references etc, as needed.
Step 2: Ideation (generating initial ideas)
Once we feel confident we have a robust brief, we commence the ideation, or ‘idea-generation’ stage. This phase often resembles old-school graphic design, namely putting pencil to paper and sketching ideas, no matter how seemingly absurd or abstract. From here, we can assess which ideas have ‘legs’ and explore and finesse these more formally using the host of digital tools available to us. Once we can see how these ideas might translate into a business’ visual identity, it’s normally a fairly organic process of elimination from there. We rule out those concepts we feel may be too distanced from the brief or not strong enough visually.
Once we have refined all ideas down to three solid design concepts, it’s time to prepare these for presentation. We have a branding presentation template (A4, PDF) that we use to do this. It presents the proposed brand identity and logo design in three contexts – full colour, mono and mono-reverse. In ye-olde-worlde graphic design, we used to always run what was called ‘the fax test’ prior to presenting any branding concept to a client. This meant ensuring that a proposed brand identity / logo design was able to be clearly and legibly read / understood when faxed. We still do this today, as despite the obsolescence of fax machines, you can’t bypass a clear, uncomplicated logo in terms of its overall effectiveness and likely longevity.
We accompany each concept with the proposed supporting core font(s) and colour palette, which normally includes 5-6 colours. That way, you can visualise what some of the extended solutions – such as printed promotional materials or a website, for instance – might look like.
A written rationale, clearly linked to the supplied design brief, is provided in an email to support the branding concepts. This ensures you have a full understanding of our creative approach for each concept, rather than just leaving it purely to visual appeal. Then, it’s over to you!!
Step 4: Feedback / Revisions
This process step is fairly self-explanatory. We allow up to three rounds of revisions to as many of the proposed concepts as you like, prior to sign off. Additional rounds of concepts or revisions are quoted for by the hour, with your express permission always sought, before we proceed. This is when colours, typefaces, composition and layout can be experimented with to ensure you are 150% invested in the final brand identity.
Step 5: Finalisation / Sign-Off
Once we’ve completed any revisions (and quite often there aren’t any, thanks to our extensive briefing process) we present the final, resolved set of branding concepts to you for your thoughts and eagerly await sign-off. We always recommend clients take at least 24 hours at the bare minimum before signing off on any particular concept, no matter how enthusiastic the initial response!!
Of course, every client is different and requires a different level of care and attention throughout the design process. Some are very detail-oriented, others prefer to simply look at the bigger picture. Either way, we aim to ensure you are as happy and invested in the final branding solution(s) as possible, ensuring its initial and ongoing success.
Step 6: Supply of Digital Brand Assets
After sign-off, the final branding process step is to furnish the client with a suite of digital brand assets. These include:
- the logo files in various formats (CMYK, mono, mono-reverse and different file formats for specific applications covering print, web and built environment)
- fully licensed native font files
- a PDF style guide outlining the core colour values, typographic and illustrative elements of the logo for future reference
From there (depending on the quote inclusions) we may move on to including your new brand identity into the design of other supportive solutions. These solutions may include stationery, printed materials, website designs and/or social media graphics for example. Alternatively you or your team can rollout your new brand identity independently. Either way, we offer our full and ongoing support if you need it at any stage.
Please let us know if you have any questions about our process or would like to discuss a new branding project with us in more detail. You can request a quote here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.
Remember, effective branding has the potential to be any business or organisation’s biggest point of competitive advantage. Properly investing in the professional design process should therefore be a total no-brainer.