Brand design and development
Why this is important
Brand design is sometimes mistaken for logo design, which is only one small component of what it takes to create a resonant and enduring brand. A great brand is built on solid strategic foundations (read more in this section on Brand Strategy). It will bring together the brand messages and positioning with a design language (including brand symbology), tonality, imagery and behaviours and will formalise them in such a way as to allow an organisation to speak compellingly ‘with one voice’.
Brand development process
DPR&Co’s brand development process begins with the strategic elements of the brand and moves through to the creative and executional elements we’re concerned with here.
Naming – DPR&Co has been involved in naming many organisations and products. The tests we apply to a name include:
- Mnemonic value (memorability)
- Simplicity and ease of expression
- Tonal fit (does it ‘sound’ like the product or organisation and would the team behind it be happy to use it)
- Protectability (we conduct a global search and brief our copyright lawyer to run checks)
- URL clear space
Brand values – Describing a compelling set of brand values is something many organisations struggle to do. Internally focused brand values are relatively easy to conceive. But establishing how your values impact on a customer’s propensity to engage with your brand in more complex. It may require some investigation in order to land a suite of compelling values that you can ‘live’ and that don’t expose your organisation to risk. In addition, it is vital that these values can be credibly put into practice by your team. If one of your values is customer centricity, for example, you can expect your customer to be doubly annoyed by a failure to deliver a positive customer experience.
Visual identity – A powerful visual identity covers a list of deliverables:
- Brand design – the brand symbol itself
- Basic elements – strap/positioning lines, typography, colour palette, logo clear space and usage rules (acceptable and unacceptable usage)
- Imagery – set of directions around the style of imagery that will complement the brand
The comprehensiveness of the list of basic elements is partially determined by budget. On smaller branding jobs, we provide what we call a ‘zip-up’ guide – a concise set of rules around the brand expression. See an example here. (link to Elevon case study).
Key messaging – Again, building on the strategic foundations of the brand, we apply a creative overlay to the strategic messages that underpin the brand. In some circumstances this is a stand-alone process while in others it may for part of our New Real process.
Brand assets – Bringing to life the materials that will support the organisation to embed the new brand with its people is a priority within this process. It may include brand briefing documents, brand assets such as screen savers, signage, pre-launch and launch activity planning including media briefings and brand-themed mood videos, video press releases and more.
Brand ‘idea’ – Often (but not always) distilled as part of The New Real process, a brand ‘idea’ is a creative expression of how the brand may be expressed in market. It may be, for example, that the brand has a particular social or environmental overlay that needs to be communicated compellingly. Integrating this within the foundations of the brand increases authenticity and credibility.
This normally involves:
- The commitment of all of the strategic and creative elements into a brand manual – concise or comprehensive depending on budget and complexity of audience mix. See concise example here (Alliance guide) and a more expansive example here (SmileSquad guide) Relace with better versions if/when possible.
- Assistance in the deployment of the brand – either with ongoing oversight of the brand roll-out or through period reviews to ensure integrity of compliance and creativity of application.