Branding is, in most cases, embodied in product design. However, the process of the definition stage overlaps and even runs simultaneously with the creation of the product. Sometimes it even runs simultaneously to the production process. Therefore, we wanted to dedicate a separate section in which we cover in an independent manner the steps that should be followed to create a successful branding.
Since each project has its own peculiarities, depending on the customer's needs, the three scenarios that can be highlighted are:
- The client already has a defined branding
- The client needs a redesign
- The client needs a new branding
This client already has a defined branding. The only thing to do is to adopt the new components that appear in the project to its visual language.
When facing a redesign, the process will be the same as doing a branding from scratch, with the particularity that we will have to identify the problems that hinder the brand. In the next section, we will define the whole process.
This scenario is the most complete, so it is the one we're going to develop. It requires an overview of the project and consists of 3 phases.
Research the client, its product, its principles, and values to understand its brand. Detect what you may need and set a strategy. With everything gathered in this stage, a proposal will be made to the client.
This point is especially crucial. Laying a good foundation establishes a healthy relationship with the client and helps to arrive at informed decisions in an agile manner. These are the steps to follow:
1.1. Before the first meeting:
Research the client's internal profiles. Generate a preliminary idea of what he will want/need based on the insights acquired from any problems identified.
1.2. During the meeting:
- Actively listen based on your research.
- Be proactive. Get inside the mind of the client.
- Create a relaxed and understanding environment. We are his ally.
- Build trust: explaining the process to the client will make everything go smoothly.
1.3. After the meeting:
- Manage customer expectations.
- Checklist of requirements. Send an email to the client to validate the established needs.
After this first contact, we should research our client’s market in order to identify competitors and references. In this step, it’s quite important make the client think about his brand, his value proposal and the message he want to translate convey. To do that it, we ask him to complete a document: the Brand Strategy Brief.
With everything gathered in this stage, a proposal will be made to the client. These are the steps to follow:
- Search competitors that offer similar services. Analyze them to draw conclusions about best practices and stablished patterns from his industry.
2.2. The client fills out the Brand Strategy Brief.
- Give him access to the document in Notion.
- Explain how does it work and the purpose of this exercise. Try to make him understand how important this exercise is in order to obtain high quality information from him.
2.3. Do an in-depth analysis of the Brand Strategy Brief with the client.
- Analyze this filled document with the client. Doing this, you will be able to understand the client answers and reasons. Try to identify those questions that he didn’t understood to answer them in a collaborative way.
2.4. First presentation.
- Generate a presentation with the key ideas of this entire phase. Including: starting point, project needs, deliverables to be created, brand platform and the benchmark.
- Create a summary and reach a consensual agreement with the client.
Search for references that help translate all the information and knowledge acquired into a visual language. This stage should be put in as much time as necessary. To begin to design you must have your ideas clear and to get there you need to do some research and look for references.
- Search for references and prepare a moodboard.
- Think of 2 global concepts that bring together everything the brand needs.
- Think about how to materialize the concept graphically and narratively.
- Think of the headlines and copywriting that express the values conveyed by the brand.
- Consider the tone of language and personality.
3.2. Second presentation.
- Reach a mutual agreement on the visuals and conceptual references.
3.3. Visual design. Create 1 or 2 graphical guidelines based on a:
- Primary identifier.
- Secondary identifiers.
- Chromatic palette.
- Main and auxiliary typography.
- Create brand applications to test the feasibility of the visual graphics line.
- Basic stationery, digital, conceptual, communication pieces, etc.
3.4. Third presentation.
- Present the identity with a summary of the previous phases.
- The customer must select the chosen direction for branding.
Have well-structured and documented deliverables that help the client manage their brand by themselves once the project is completed. During this stage, it is necessary to perform:
Prepare a document that explains in detail what elements make up the brand, how they should be used and in what contexts they should be used. It must at least consist of:
- Introduction and table of contents. I
- dentity: logo, typography and color palette.
- Brand usage: size and proportions, use of color, use of photography, visual resources, etc.
- Brand elements such as: stationery, stickers, illustrations, etc.
- Online applications: email signatures, social media, landing, etc.
- Create all the materials agreed upon with the client.
- For example, you will have to export the logo in all the formats that may be required (AI, SVG, EPS, PNG, JPG, PDF).
- Prepare materials for printing, if required by the project.
4.3. Final delivery.
- Group and structure folders for all the created files and save the packaged content in the folder 04_deliverables of the corresponding project in Dropbox.