Today competition among businesses is tough. To stand out from the crowd, a company needs to be unique and recognizable by customers. A strong brand, example Nike, is what stands behind each successful product. People prefer to buy new products from brands familiar to them.
What is branding?
A brand is a unique design, symbol, sign, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. In other words, a brand is a visual representation which people correlate with a company or a product. An effective brand identity is the one which customers associate with a high level of credibility and quality.
However, powerful branding depends not only on aesthetic features of brand elements but on the details such as message and emotional appeal standing behind it. To create a proper brand identity, designers need to get deep into the details about business goals as well as do research on the market and its target audience.
Here are six essential stages which designers need to go through for brand development.
1. Business goals and brand personality
First step is finding out what are the company’s priorities and values so that the branding designers know what direction to go. Goals can always be modified during the creative process.
Moreover, before designers start working on a visual part, they need to identify the character which company or product wants to present. For example, designers can ask customers to make a list of 4-5 words describing their business, or at least how they envision their company to be.
2. Market and user research
Designers research about the market and potential competitors. It’s good to learn from someone’s experience be it good or bad. Having the necessary data experts can create a unique logo and build a brand identity to stand out from the competition.
A brand needs to make a good impression on its potential buyers or users to gain their trust. User research helps to get deeper into preferences of the target audience.
3. Logo design
Logo design is another essential step in developing your brand identity. A well thought-out logo is the most prominent symbol of brand image and an effective marketing strategy to connect with your target audience.
The Logo Design Process are:
- setting the task
- user and market research
- choice of style direction
- choice of color palette
- testing in different sizes and environments
Logo design includes researching logos of the competitive companies. You want to avoid your logo being too similar with other logos in the sector. The goal is to create an original brand identity.
After researching and information gathering, the creative process begins. Designers experiment with different style directions and color palettes to find which will work best for a brand.
After the logo is complete, designers start the testing part in different environments and surfaces to ensure everything looks good and there are no unpleasant surprises.
Logo design plays a big part in branding. A well-thought logo is worth time and investment.
4. Visual elements of brand
Certainly, the major focus on brand identity will always be a logo but there are other elements deserving attention such as mascots and typography.
Mascots are a good way for businesses to personalizing their brand. Mascots are the custom design characters created to represent the brand in a symbolic way. The character can establish the connection with users. A mascot can serve as a choice tool for communication and interaction with users. People start to see a mascot as a major representative of a company. A good example is the GEICO gecko.
Another visual element responsible for brand identity is typography. Many logos are created via typography or contain fonts in it but typography doesn’t end here. Banners, business cards, correspondence a company applies should involve brand identity signs as well. Experts choose a combination of fonts which will best suit a certain brand. This makes it easier to remember a brand because of its consistency in every detail.
Stage 5. Corporate brand style
When the logo is ready, the color palette is chosen, and other visual elements are prepared, it’s time to unite them into a cohesive corporate style.
There are some common brand items which are used by different companies:
Correspondence. Business communication always has a formal style. To show a brand is a reliable partner and service provider, designers need to work on its correspondence presentation. Letterheads and envelopes need to contain brand identity elements showing the professional level.
T-shirt, hats, cups. Clothes with brand marks bring the team spirit into a company so employers often take care of these attributes. Branded T-shirts and hats can be a good alternative to a uniform if it’s required or they can be used as gifts.
Business card. Today it’s a must-have item in business communication so it’s vital to make sure a business card represents a brand properly.
Billboards and banners. They are a core part of branding and marketing so clients often ask designers to work on a creative idea for outdoor adverts and web banners.
Vehicle branding. Companies which provide product delivery need an effective decoration of the vehicle. Brand identity elements on the company cars or trucks is an efficient way of outdoor promotion.
6. A style guide
The final branding task of the designer is to document a style guide. This guide provides instructions for the client about correct and wrong ways to use the graphics created for the brand.
As you can see branding is a complex process. Each step should be well-thought, based on the needs of the target audience and business goals.
Need help developing your Brand Identity? Soar Web Media offers Brand Identity Development.