What's That?

All too often, we're asked to design a client’s logo and basic branding (letterhead, etc.). I often think that what the client is really looking for here, though is a complete “identity design”. This is where all of the branding elements are designed in unison instead of designing each element haphazardly and trying to find a way to make them work together later. You should never just start out with a logo, and then try to make everything work around that logo as you move forward. In that case you’re working from the top-down. It’s terribly inefficient, and will make you look like a rank-amateur to any savvy consumer. They’ll spot it in a heartbeat! What you need to do is to work from the ground-up. Start with a colour scheme, for instance then move onto layout and design, and onward and upward. This way you’ll have a better idea of how elements like your logo should fit within the identity of your company before you start designing it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had great logo designs rejected by a client because he didn’t have a brand identity established and therefore wasn’t able to see the big picture. In cases like those, an identity needs to be firmly established before you can develop things like logo’s, business cards, or brochures.

Here’s an example:

This logo was presented to the client, and was summarily rejected. The client was a young Hip-Hop artist who could just not see the how this represented the image he was trying to convey. We would usually go back to the drawing board in a case like this but thought that if we could show the logo in context then he would fall in love with it too. We returned a couple of days later with a more complete presentation using a design that implemented the artist's identity (or brand):

You can see here how the rather dull looking lettering in the stand-alone logo suddenly comes to life and is seen properly. The brownish lettering has become a brilliant reflective gold. The result? The logo was approved and we were asked to handle all of his branding, graphic design and photography (did we mention that we do most of our own photography, too?) in the future.

 

So What Do I get?

Here’s what you can expect to have incorporated into your identity design when it’s all said and done:

  1. Industry research to help develop a general direction

  2. Naming & tagline development

  3. Brand strategy

  4. Design or restyling of logos, typography and color palettes

  5. Visual language and photography style design

  6. Collateral design*

  7. Packaging design

  8. Stationery design

  9. Initial targeted Powerpoint presentation

  10. Brand identity guidelines

* This is everything that supports the brand. Things like stationery, web-banners, posters, flyers etc.