A logo is not your brand. We explain the difference.
A brand identity is an embodiment of who, what and why your business exists and, on a subliminal level, it should attract your ideal customer and suggest something unique and different from the competition.
In tangible terms, a brand identity is made up of a logo, a colour palette, a set of recommended fonts, font sizes and weights. It includes mono version, (black and white usually), a colour version, it offers applications for use on different backgrounds, such as solid colour, black, whites and images.
A brand identity also has a language, made up of a business mission, vision and values, an elevator pitch, a competitive point of difference, a value proposition, a tag line, brand essence and tone of voice.
Some thinking and discussion is needed to get to the point where you can brief a graphic designer, a copywriter or even a photographer. The output of this thinking is called a brand strategy. To execute key elements such as a website, social media ads, a sales presentation or other collateral, a brand expert can take you through a series of steps to create a brand strategy that will then be the brief for a brand identity.
How do you create a brand strategy?
A brand strategy is a summary of the business vision & mission, key audiences, competitors, personality, benefits, a brand essence, value proposition statement and keywords.
The investment in this time and work, will save you vast amounts of time wasted otherwise trying to explain to your designer what you want, debating with co-workers or simply not being able to articulate who your brand is. A brand strategy creates clarity, consensus and understanding of your brand before going into the design / creative phase.
The Brand workshop
A brand workshop is the best way to uncover the details of how you see your brand.
It should be a face to face session with the founder and other key stakeholders in the business, where you will sit and brainstorm.
In the Goop Digital brand workshops, we run our clients through a rigorous series of hands-on exercises and activities to get you talking and thinking about your brand. You will have big sheets of paper to mind-map ideas, lots of sharpies and stick-it notes and a whiteboard to visually share ideas and concepts.
This is an opportunity to stop, step back and take a deep dive into the anatomy of you, your business and how you want it to present to the market.
We will explore things such as your products and services and pricing model, customers and competitors. We go into the ‘why’ of your business, and discover the absolute essence and point of difference of your brand.
At the end of the workshop, you should have a rough idea of your unique selling proposition (USP) and what makes your brand significant to the customer.
We then go away and spend some time developing your strategy.
Briefing the designer
A brand strategy will enable you or your marketing expert to brief a designer. Ideally, this should be in person, over the phone or Zoom. The more context you can give your designer about your business the better.
A marketing consultant can help you to manage the design process, keep it on brief and on cost. This can be helpful if you are not confident working with designers and want to get the best result.
At this point, you can discuss colour palettes that you might like, fonts and perhaps even give the designer a mood board of images, brands and logos that you like and that align with the strategy that you have developed.
Creating a brand identity will take a minimum of 1-2 weeks depending on the availability of the designer and how busy they are with other client work. Be prepared for it to sometimes take longer. It is a creative process, and there can be some back and forth to get it to a place where you are happy. At times you might get frustrated, but a good designer will listen and be flexible, push you out of your comfort zone – but most importantly meet the brief!
You should be presented with a minimum of at least two logo concepts. If you don’t like any of them, the designer can go away and try exploring a few more ideas, however, a good brief combined with careful choice of designer should create something that meets the brief.
Usually by the second round, if communication is open and honest, a concept can be agreed upon.
Once you have approved the final logo, the designer will go away and create a full visual identity, including the colour palette, font styles and weights, treatments and applications.
The end result should be an identity set that is handed over in appropriate file formats for you to use. Jpegs, Photoshop, high res, low res is usually standard.
Don’t forget the Style guide
You should ideally also ask the designer to include a style guide in their quote. These can add cost but are an immensely useful way to keep your brand consistent and correctly applied across all touchpoints, within your team, with partners and suppliers.
A style guide should include the following at a minimum:
- Logo variations: Different sizes, applications and uses.
- Colour variations: A guide to when your logo should be used in full color, 2-color or 1-color. If you use Pantone colours be sure to include those, along with when it’s appropriate to use your logo reversed out or in black and white.
- Size restrictions: A guide on how large or small a logo should appear.
- Margins: Describe how much breathing room the logo should have.
- Bad examples: Along with the do’s, be sure to include some logo don’ts. This could include using the wrong colour, skewing the logo, or altering the lock-up.
- Fonts: Font names, font weights and sizes. This includes what fault to use in headlines, sub-headlines, paragraphs and disclaimers.
- Verbal style-guide: It should include your vision/mission, brand essence, point of difference, value proposition, brand personality, a tone of voice, a summary of brand benefits and supporting proof points.
Additional elements for complex brands can also include:
- Logo hierarchy: Which is the master brand and how to associated logos sit with it.
- Image and photography style-guide: How photos should be lit, shot, cast and styled, including wardrobe, talent and more.
- Icons: if you need icons it can help to put the logo set in the style guide also.
A logo is just one small part of a brand identity. Like a person, a brand is multi-dimensional. An identity adds complexity and interest, colour and movement, light and shade.
By investing the time into creating an identity, you have a much greater chance of attracting the right customers, who will emotively connect with your brand and come to love it and use it again and again.
Even if you are a small local business, it pays to show pride in your brand and invest in it, as this will immediately boost your credibility and professionalism and show a sense of self-respect.
Goop Digital can offer you senior branding strategy and design experience, and a portfolio of brand identities for local small businesses all over regional Victoria. If you feel like your brand needs a refresh, call us today for an obligation-free chat and we can offer some immediate advice and options to suit all budgets.
Contact us today for an obligation-free chat.