Creating a new brand is a mix of art and science, thought and execution, chaos and order. Your brand must embody all that is good about you and your company. Great brands are beautiful ideas expressed in form.
This guide shows you how we create brands at The Loft; brands that embody what you do and tell a captivating picture of your organisation to others when you are not in the room.
As we state above, your brand is an idea or a collection of ideas. Those ideas represent the spirit of your company, products or services.
Less about what you do, more about the way you do it.
What we want to do is find out what is special about your organisation?
This involves research into company culture. Sometimes it is just chatting to different people in the organisation, other times we will use a formal questionnaire and interview process, and occasionally there are times we haves to dig a bit deeper.
The difference between a brand and a logo design is the exploration and analysis of these ideas. A brand starts with thoughts, words and ideas. A logo begins with type, colours and graphics. A brand starts with a blank sheet of paper. A logo starts with a range of other logos (the manifestation of other people’s ideas.) A brand has so much more value than a logo.
At the end of the research & investigation phase, we’ll have generated a large range of ideas that will be used to embody your new brand.
When you begin with words, thoughts and ideas, you open up a much larger range of possibilities for your new brand. We want to explore as many different themes and ideas as possible. During these initial phases, we explore a huge range of ideas very quickly with mood/theme boards. We look for creative representations of the ideas that you want to encapsulate. It is important to note that at this stage – we are looking solely to build up as large a collection of ideas as possible. We look for images that are exciting, interesting and inspirational.
We have a range of internal and external presentations throughout this phase. We analyse what words and ideas best represents your organisation and what images best represent those ideas.
This phase will likely result in a range of 4-5 themes that are all representative of your new brand.
This stage is very simple – build a large range of sketches that begin to communicate the basic elements of the new brand. Our designers select elements from the inspiration boards and bring them to life initially with pencil sketches and then as vector graphics. Our team will work both individually and collectively to create a cohesive set of sketches that explains the different theme and elements of the brand story.
At the end of this phase the client will have a range of concepts (generally 4-5) which can be developed further.
After consultation with the client, we begin to develop the concept sketches into finalised brand identity designs. This stage has many phases – it involves another research phase to explore colour, typography, graphics and art-direction. We assemble and then re-assemble developed designs, each time simplifying and strengthening the basic design. This phase involves a great deal of analysis and thought. We very often will mix and combine various elements of different designs to create a final brand that not only looks good and interesting but reflects the organisation , and above all else, is meaningful.
At the end of this phase the client is likely to have two or more production-ready brand designs that tell a great story and accurately depicts what the organisation is about.
Your idea manifested in form must then work for you practically. We ensure that your new brand can work both small and large, work in black and white and in colour. Whatever the requirements are that are most important for you. Our ultimate purpose is to be able to reduce your entire brand to one pattern or mark which can be used in all of your communications – the very essence of simplicity. We also like to ensure that there are arrange of personalised stories that you can draw on when explaining to others about the design of your new brand. Your brand should make you smile when you tell others about it.
For some it is a range of business cards and a powerpoint presentation. For others, it is your brand stamped over some packaging design or on some personalised merchandise. We work with you to assist in the right digital and print outputs for your brand design. After the intellectual weightlifting of the research part of the process – you then receive a range of guidelines that can guide all future brand and marketing communications such as photography, copywriting and graphical styles.
A well designed and well thought through brand will help you spread the ideas that underpin what is special about your company, the very essence of your organisation. It will help you get your message across to other stakeholders, customers, staff, suppliers, even board members. It will help people understand what you’re about, the value that your products or services bring and the depth of our process means that you will always have a point of reference for all future marketing – online and offline.
The creation of your brand is a very rewarding experience. It is a path of discovery for you and the other people in your company. The examples above and below show the process we undertook in building three very different beautiful ideas expressed in form, brands that we have created for clients in the past.
We are The Loft, we create great brands for organisations in our studio in the heart of Glasgow.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, if you’d like to know anything further, we’d be delighted to help.
The Loft Team