Have a new company or want to completely renovate your branding? Read on to learn how!
Step One is Always the Same – do Your Research!
Look at similar businesses and how they present themselves online and at their offices. If you’re designing a brand for a product, you can google the sector and look at images to get a sense of what’s considered appropriate and successful for brands in the industry.
See what you like about similar businesses. Do your competitors have nice stainless steel signs? Nick the idea and get one for yourself.
Know Your Niche
How will your business and brand fit into the right market sector and look unique?
You need to focus on your USP. What is different compared to your competitors? If you struggle to define your USP? Knowing the values of your brand can help you feel more confident about what your business is offering to customers:
Get Your Logo Sorted
The first thing people will notice about your brand is your logo. For most brands, the logo shows everything the brand stands for. The font is important – you can make your brand more formal with a serif font or a script font might make a brand feel more casual and crafts-oriented. The colour is important too, using orange can make it feel optimistic and good-value, blue is considered calming and popular with tech brands. A more metallic tone like gold or copper can up the luxury factor and make a brand feel more aspirational.
Put pencil to paper and draft your basic ideas before you start on the computer and fill the page with ideas. Take a break and come back the next day, narrowing down to three concepts. Which do you like best? Ask friends and family or even consumers which they prefer and try not to dwell on only one idea. This is not your taste alone.
Narrow it down to your strongest design, based on others’ as well as your own opinions. Make a copy of the sketch in black ink, using the opportunity to refine the design further.
All logos need to work equally well in simple black and white as they do in full colour. Then you’re ready to transfer your logo design to the computer for vectorising. Scan the black ink sketch using a scanner if you have one or use a camera or phone to take a high-res picture.
Once you’ve uploaded your black-and-white sketch to your computer it’s time to vectorise it and add colour! You can do this using Adobe Illustrator.
Start experimenting with different colours too. Based on your market research were there any colours that cropped up frequently in your brand’s sector? You may also want to tap into the principles of colour psychology. With the colours – how do they make you feel? You may also want to ask others their thoughts.
Your Brand – the Type
Once you’ve got your final logo, you’re ready to start expanding your brand. Choose a font typeface and adopt two, one for headers and slogans, and another for body text. You might decide to commission a custom font which is unique to them, but most companies will simply adopt fonts they feel suit their brand. Come up with a brand guidelines document to ensure everyone uses it correctly.
Photography and Graphics
Your logo and fonts should remain consistent but decide the type of images you’ll use to communicate particular messages, like special deals, ads or product-specific packaging. Variation in this respect is your enemy. You could adopt a rule of using only overhead shots. You can keep image rules simple or be a bit more complex.
Apply Your Brand
This involves digital media. Prioritise the media that your business will use regularly to communicate with customers. Even though printed mail isn’t as popular, ensure you expand your brand to print stationery as well. That means a letterhead or envelope if you have time and invoices and receipts.
Congratulations, you’ve sorted everything! Now what?
Keep your options open and review using research. How do your customers respond to your brand? You can try a survey for your customers to get their thoughts and offer a draw to win a prize to entice people.
Use the results to tweak your existing identity or even create a new one from scratch. Keep reviewing the market to see if there’s anything you could have missed. Could you be more thorough with your industry research? Could you seek more outside advice about your logo designs?
It’s not a precise science, but with a methodical, measured approach, you can take a really good shot at creating something that connects with people on an emotional and commercial level.
You may decide to draft in a professional graphic designer to help you with this.
Your Brand Identity Checklist
Creating a new brand identity for business is always going to be tricky, but it’s a rewarding and creative challenge if you have the right steps in place. Here’s a checklist for creating any new brand identity which w will put you in good stead for tackling any branding project:
- Do your research – consider the brand identities of competitors in your sector
- Know your niche – understand your USP (‘unique selling point’) within the industry
- Get designing – start with the logo and draft a range of symbolic and type-based ideas
- Narrow down to three concepts, before selecting a final design to refine
- Think about colour – look into the psychology of colour to choose the best colour fit for your logo
- Expand your brand with type – choose two brand typefaces for headers and body text
- Expand your brand with images – define the rules for using photos and graphics in your marketing materials
- Apply your brand across print and digital media, such as websites, letterheads and business cards
- Review your brand – assess whether your brand works, and consider reviewing it if it doesn’t perform well