Brand identity

A brand identity is the combination of visual style, tone of voice and messaging and helps to differentiate your organisation from the competition.

A brand is the emotional connection between a product and its audience; the experience and relationship that a user associates with that product.

A brand identity can be created separately to any brand clarification or positioning work, but they are often intertwined. 

Establishing a purposeful and recognisable visual identity in the form of a logo, colour palette and typography is usually the main requirement of a brand identity project. Brand projects usually end with a set of brand guidelines that help the client to launch their brand and implement it consistently in the future.

To launch the branding, we recommend sharing it internally and working to develop an understanding of the new branding and messaging so the client’s brand and marketing managers, as well as sales reps, customer service teams etc. all have a clear idea of how to communicate the brand going forward. 

Communications involving the new brand need to be planned by the audience. A roadmap for implementation can be established by determining who needs to hear what and when. We can help you to plan the release across multiple customer touchpoints and effectively reach your audience, considering print, digital, industry events or social channels.

Our brand identity process

Step 1: Definition

The first step is to establish what the client is looking for; a new brand identity or a rebrand of existing brand messaging. After clarifying the brand direction as part of any forerunning brand clarification work, we host a kick off call or workshop with key stakeholders at the client to establish the objectives for the work, the purpose of the organisation and any expectations or propositions for the identity. 

Key stakeholders need to be identified for this project and everyone who needs to be informed should be involved from the beginning so that any major changes in visual direction should be avoided. A workshop with the stakeholders helps to further define the brand purpose, direction, goals and aims as well as to surface any relevant customer information, if available. 

The workshop is used to ascertain preferences on the core brand elements, e.g. preferred or disliked colours, styles, fonts, illustrations, graphics, photo treatments, photographic styles and any other relevant brand elements. If the client has no clear direction on these, mood boards can be used to gather more information.

  • Workshop with key stakeholders
  • Establish the parameters and objectives for the work
  • Gather existing brand materials

Step 2: Solution

Rebrands and brand refresh benefit from an audit and review of existing brand elements at this stage. Brand clarification is primarily about research and analysis, whereas brand identity creation is mostly about reflecting the business with a visual direction. 

This step establishes the visual direction of the new brand. Any new brand identity should stay up to date with the industry trends, whilst creating a clear visual distinction between the client and competitors in a dynamic design. 

Initially, three conceptual directions for core brand elements should be the focus, to show a broader selection of design possibilities to the client. Each concept is based on a theme and combines the messaging, visual and typographic elements to create a design that reflects each theme. Ideally, feedback should be reviewed in person or on a call with all key stakeholders. 

  • Audit and review existing brand elements, e.g. messaging
  • Present three conceptual visual directions 
  • Receive feedback and choose the winning concept

Step 3: Implementation

Once the conceptual directions have been reviewed and one has been chosen, we have a clearer direction to proceed and expand on that visual concept. Iterations with the client help us to refine the visuals until they are exactly what the client and customer is looking for. 

We then implement the creative directions by applying the brand identity to digital or physical assets. Digital applications include website UI, digital ads, email templates, internal documents and apps. Offline branding can include print marketing materials, such as brochures, or office signage and branding, personal stationary, product packaging, vehicle livery, uniforms and show stands or booths. 

  • Revise the chosen visual direction
  • Implement the designs onto brand elements

Step 4: Optimisation

The brand has been refined and the new direction implemented. In order to maintain consistency and future-proof the brand, we outline key elements of the brand personality in brand style guides. A light style guide covers logo usage, colours, typography and icons or illustrations, if applicable, and is the usual minimum documentation that we supply at the completion of branding projects. 

As part of the launch, we recommend using the brand guidelines and identity standards and appointing a brand guardian to ensure consistency across the launch. It’s really important to aim to rebrand all customer touchpoints simultaneously, so customers do not get confused between what is old and new branding.

Key brand attributes and perceptions pre-launch need to be tested pre-launch, and then again after the new branding has had some time to settle. It’s important to do this to gauge if the new branding is having the desired impact.

  • Supply a brand style guide: core values, tone of voice guidelines and manifesto
  • Test the brand perceptions before and after launch 
  • Launch the brand internally and externally

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