Have you ever wondered how the branding process works?

It's almost a mystical being from a far-off planet sent here to confuse anyone who tries to understand it.

Before we get started, please note, when we refer to ‘agile’ we are talking in the context of the branding process — always learning and trying to improve. 

Don’t get confused with constantly updating your logo, that’s not practical or good branding.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps we take at SEED to create a brand and how it has changed for us and will probably change again.

Firstly, if you haven’t read anything before on branding, it’s basically:

  • What will the product look like visually (logo, website, app)?
  • How is our brand verbalised — internally and externally?
  • What is the overall vibe of our brand (imagery, feel)?

So, where do we start?

Sheda uses Design, Artificial Intelligence and technology to solve complex problems with an emphasis on delivering solutions that make and accelerate impact and bring about social change.

Branding workshop

Firstly, conduct a branding workshop with all of the key stakeholders involved in the project — a maximum of six to seven participants works best.

You’ll work through activities such as, discovering your brand values, promises, personas, colour associations, statements and a logo questionnaire.

The workshop usually takes about five to six hours and is well worth the time and effort. Maybe set aside the day for this, as your brain may get fried by the end…

Some practical steps to take when defining your brand are:

  1. Brainstorming: This exercise will generate an understanding of your brand using the 5W’s. Who is your target audience? What obstacles does your brand face? When is your target date for release? Where will your target audience will be open to your product or service? (for example on the train to work seeing a billboard etc) Why should the target audience care? This is designed to just get your brain flowing!
  2. Brand value: This is your beliefs about your responsibility to your employees, clients, business associates and community. Your statement of values can take the form of a simple list that declares the principles that steer your company.
  3. Brand research: Through various streams, this is important to validate the assumptions made on the target audience earlier in the process. It’s also helpful to find out any new or missing information to make a stronger connection between them and your product.
  4. Brand persona: A brand’s personality, or persona, can be defined as “a set of human characteristics associated with the name of a product, service or company”, but that’s just fancy talk for “adjectives used to describe a brand”. Basically — if your brand was a person who would they be? What would they wear? How would they talk? This process also includes celebrity, animal and car associations which is great fun!
  5. Brand promise: Every brand promises something to consumers. When people think of your brand, they might visualise your logo, but your promise is what motivates them in your direction.
  6. Brand Voice: This is about how your brand should conduct itself in conversational, written, and visual mediums. A good place to start is to look back at our brand values, promise and personas.

The information is then packaged up into a branding workshop results document, until we can add it into the final brand book.

It serves as a great foundation for you and your team.

This includes all of the above activities as well as detailed insights, such as target audience personas and car/audience/animal associations.

Logo design

With the basic brand direction nailed down you are positioned well to move into logo design — which again has it’s own process. We won’t go into too much detail here as there’s heaps of info out there about this — but we’ll give you a brief run down.

While going through the logo design process, we collaborate with you, your stakeholders and end users to refine the process.

  1. Questionnaire: It’s best to conduct the logo questionnaire during the workshop while the information is still fresh in everyone’s mind. This saves a lot of time, plus face-to-face is usually better with this sort of thing. However, the questionnaire is it’s own stand alone document and can be done separately to the workshop. This exercise is done to compare different logo/typefaces which are already established in people’s minds in the market and link it to your brand. It helps to clarify direction of your unique logo. So far, what we know is: basic colour ideas, target audience, values and word associations and logo style preferences.
  2. Create examples (build): This is a refining process so start broad and put together a bunch of concepts based on the documentation, examples and being a creative genius.
  3. User testing (measure): It’s usually a good idea to get feedback from a variety of relevant sources. These include internal, client and target audience. Personal preference is really important, but shouldn’t be pandered to in this situation. The power of a polite and respectful ‘no’ is helpful here. It’s also helpful to back up the ‘no’ with reasons why.
  4. Iterate through revision (learn): This process usually has 2–3 iterations depending on time and budget. The refinement of the logo is in full swing and well on the way to completion.
  5. Final logo: You’ll receive the final logo in all relevant file formats, including the editable source files, packaged up and ready for use.

Social media pack

Now the logo is done and dusted it opens up the rest of the branding process a little bit more.

However, not only do we need the logo sized for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we need to think about banners for these social media platforms.

This again comes back to the workshop. Do you want images? What style of images? Do you want vector images? 

Staying true to the workshop results is really important for consistency of the brand.

Brand book

Now the logo, colour palette, font choice/s, imagery style, iconography, brand values and language has been decided, it’s time to compile it into a electronic and hardcopy brand book.

I guess this is kind of like a heavyweight style guide for your brand. This allows consistency for any past and future branding creation and also acts as a reference point and guide.

  1. All the information is combined from the workshop, logo questionnaire, logo itself and image styling.
  2. This gets packaged up and sent to you for final inspection.
  3. Any changes are resolved together referring back to all the previous information from the workshop.
  4. Ship it! You have your very own brand book!

Customised branding process

Okay, so you may already have a logo and still need to work out who your brand is, or you may have gone through the workshop previously, have that branding information and need to start from there. That’s fine!

We are adaptable — and dare I say — agile. We can take what you already have and work through the process together.

So, why is the process agile?

Well, we’ve tinkered and tailored our way through this process a few times now and it works. Simple as that! 

That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, we come across different hurdles each time, then attempt to put things into place to improve the process next time, aka — build > measure > learn!

By

Matthew John

Senior Designer
@ Sheda
Matt is our Design Lead overseeing the entire process of UX, visual, interaction design and branding. Trained in graphic design, Matt has over 9 years experience designing clean UI, mobile and web applications for various platforms.

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