Brand Identity and how do I go about getting one?
Why not start by asking yourself how much importance you place on brand identity.
As a business considering a brand identity or brand development, it is important to ask the question – why you want to invest in it in the first place? Also, how much of your time and money will be spent reproducing this identity as an outward symbol of what your business stands for and how you want to be perceived.
It is worth noting that a company’s brand identity is usually the first opportunity for interaction with its audience and will be a focal point for any future relationship with that company as a ‘brand’.
Lay good foundations before you construct a brand identity.
At Red Thread Creative we know that this opportunity for a business to look very closely at itself as a ‘brand’ doesn’t happen too often and should therefore be given appropriate consideration and resource.
We also recognise that considerable sums will be spent reproducing the brand identity, so, establish early on what you want it to do.
Where will it be used? Stationery, advertising (traditional and digital), signage, vehicle livery, office boards, clothing, large format displays and exhibitions, for example. A brand identity will also influence the design of future marketing collateral. It is crucial that you get it right first time.
So, where to start creating your brand identity?
It’s that same old adage; you get out what you put in.
The initial brief will basically determine how the ‘branding’ process develops and what a business receives as an end product. At Red Thread Creative, we start by asking basic questions that provide simple answers, such as “what do you do”? “Who is your audience?” “What does your audience want from you”? “What makes you different”?
This defining of the brief should progress through to looking at competitors and on what platforms the brand identity will be reproduced.
Ensure your brand identity is unique.
Devote time for some proper research.
A brand identity should be individual and personal so that it resonates with its audience and allows the business to take ownership of it as their unique corporate image.
Why spend all that time and resource only to find that another business has the same or similar identity. Now, no-one in their right mind would research every business that exists but the very minimum any design company should do, is perform basic, industry-related research, on competitor logos, colours and typography so that a bespoke, unique identity can be created.
Consider every constraint.
Once these very important steps have been taken, the design process can begin – starting with a logo design.
There are numerous constraints to consider when designing the brand logo. Will it need to work in single colour (mono) and full colour? Will it reverse well (white on black)? What reproduction processes need to be considered – i.e. embroidery for uniforms or solid materials like wood or metal for office signage? Although reproduction processes have moved on significantly in recent years, gradation and half-tone reproduction can be questionable with some materials.
Then put pen to paper.
At Red Thread Creative, our design team will always begin with simple pen sketches and thumbnails, as this is the quickest way to arrive at a number of workable options. The best designs are usually the ones that carry the ‘message’ in its simplest form.
These concepts usually carry the most impact and perform so much better across all platforms in any digital format. Once constructed digitally, the approval process can be long and arduous and should be seen as a journey, after which you arrive at your destination, put your feet up, relax and enjoy.
Now commit to it by creating the Bible.
For the team at Red Thread Creative, the creation of a company logo is simply the beginning. We will always recommend that any brand has a consistent identity and is accompanied with a set of corporate guidelines.
A set of rules that establish the do’s and don’ts of brand image. This would include minimum suggested reproduction sizes, typographic styles, corporate colours, design and layout templates, so that any graphic designer who works with the business can confidently create in the knowledge that they are “following brand”.
Protect it and see it grow.
Lastly, always ensure you ‘police’ your brand identity and protect it with everything at your disposal. Just the smallest mis-use or bastardisation of a brand identity can have disastrous consequences.
First it starts with a minor tweak, usually as a result of someone’s laziness. Then, having been reproduced as such is then taken as a precedent for more and more ‘minor’ tweaks until it either becomes unrecognisable, or a laughable representation of what used to be.
Yes, over time, every brand should develop and adapt to new business scenarios and trends but it must be done intentionally and with a set purpose.