As designers, we strive to create brands that represent our client’s business in a unique and recognisable way. We aim for design that meets the culture of the day, but also has a timeless quality.
Branding is never easy. Even for the most experienced and skilled designers, the blank slate of a new project can feel like losing and rebuilding your creative skill all over again — but that’s what makes it so exciting.
We wanted to help to demystify the exercise and offer insight into the creative process that goes into a brand design.
The Client & The Brief
We recently worked with Louise Mathias to create a brand identity for her business. Louise is a barrister, mediator, and certified high-performance coach. She works primarily with lawyers and corporate high flyers to create meaningful change and resolution.
We started this project like we do all projects: with a design brief. A detailed design brief allows us to get the core project information on the table. The brief covers broad business questions such as the service offering, target audience, key competitors etc. It also contains more specific creative questions to understand if the client has any clear directions or expectations in mind for the brand.
After receiving the design brief and reviewing with the client, we head into a concept ideation phase. This is the key creative time during the brand design process. No ideas are off the table. It’s a time to explore any and all visual directions.
A great brand starts with a great core idea. A concept that communicates a core component of our client’s business.
We quickly identified the concept of ‘balance’ in Louise’s offering and expertise. Whether acting as a barrister, mediator or coach, one key common denominator among all is her role in finding balance for her clients.
This concept became key to our visual exploration, and eventually core to all of the visual directions we presented to the client.
Following our initial period of concept ideation, we identify the strongest of those concepts. From here, we gather those into distinct visual directions. Our goal here is to meet the brief, of course, but we also aim to present the client with a range of options.
For this project, the client did not have a clear style or direction in mind, so this is a vital opportunity to present vastly different options that will help us to refine the direction to a more specific place.
In this case, we presented four visual directions to the client, each with a title that summarises its essence.
Here is a summary view of all four concepts;
Initial feedback from the client on the concept review call was incredibly positive. As expected, there was not a clear immediate preferred direction. We sent them a copy of the concept presentation and asked them to take some time to review and ruminate.
The next day, we had a decision;
With clear feedback in hand, we can proceed to refine the chosen brand concept into a fully realised visual brand identity for the client. This final process includes refinement of the logomark and typography, as well as confirmation of the brand colours (with some additional feedback from the client), plus exploration of how the brand can be applied across different applications and mediums.
The final approved and delivered brand identity is bold and distinct, giving the client a unique brand that really stands out in a mostly boring and conservative field.
And that's a wrap on this project. A relatively small scale branding project compared to the larger corporate projects we usually take on, but lots of fun all the same — and a fantastic result for the client.
The client now has a clear and distinct brand identity to represent their business, and a set of visual assets to deploy, ensuring a consistent visual image.