BRANDING - PART II
One of the first steps of branding is immersing yourself in every component of the brand before starting. When Brittany and Courtney approached me about creating a logo for Protea Lane they had a very specific vision for the identity but I wanted to know more. Not just about Protea Lane but about them as well.
Every brand consultant has a process on how to build a brand. Here’s how I approach my clients. Including Protea Lane.
- Discovery Phase - This is where a lot of the hard work happens. It’s where I get to know my clients and ask the tough questions. One of my initial meetings with Brittany and Courtney was at a local coffee shop in Denver. I had prepared a PowerPoint deck that briefly introduced what branding is all about and quickly followed it up with a few branding exercises and a list of questions—both about the brand and them. This phase is crucial because it helps me and the client uncover ideas and themes that maybe weren’t there in the beginning. This is also the time I like to ask about what differentiates their brand from others in the same market. Lastly, I like to ask about competitors. Who are they and why they’re competitors? After my initial meeting with Brittany and Courtney I did some desktop research on everything we talked about to set me up for the next phase.
- Creative Brief Phase – While doing research on the luxury diaper bag industry and Protea Lane’s competitors, I started to look through my discussion notes and discovered two distinct themes in which we could approach the visual identity. I then began to codify my findings into a creative brief that included mood boards to help convey each theme. This phase is crucial before diving into design. First, it helps level set with clients everything you’ve heard during the discovery phase while allowing you to make a creative leap with mood boards. Second, it gives yourself or your team guardrails and the inspiration needed to begin the design phase.
- Design Phase – As a designer, there’s a quote above my desk that’s become my mantra. “Creative without strategy is just called art.” When done properly, phases 1 and 2 sets a creative up properly with the strategy and foundation needed for this last phase. For Protea Lane, I had my parameters and my inspiration that Brittany and Courtney loved that provided me with direction on how to approach their visual identity. It was now time to put “pen to paper.” A lot of people think that visual identity is just a logo but as I mentioned in part I, it’s so much more than that. A visual identity is a collection of assets that helps to tell a brand's visual story. In addition to the logo, a visual identity includes item such as color palette, typography, iconography, graphical patterns and holding elements, photography style and graph/chart styles. Designing these elements in conjunction with a logo provides clients a breadth of tools that will help keep their brand fresh and prevent all touchpoints from looking the same.
Branding can be a very complex and tedious process but when done properly, can really help to define and differentiate a company. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, it starts with getting to know the brand. Inside and out. I learned a lot about Brittany and Courtney, their company and the industry they’re in before I started designing. By doing so, it provided me with a foundation that allowed me to create a brand that was uniquely and incomparably Protea Lane.