Branding Design - A Step by Step Guide


With products and services pouring in the consumer markets, it is quite difficult to stand out and to create a unique identity for a brand among all the others out there. To make one’s brand shine among the others,  branding is essential.

Creating an image or an identity that resonates with the values and feelings of the target audience plays a crucial part in the success of every product.

In the entire process of creating Strong branding much credits are not given to the graphic designers. That shouldn’t be the case, as they are the ones who bring the major essence of the brand to life.

Before understanding how one can execute the process of branding design, we need to have a complete understanding of what is branding.

 

What is Branding?

Branding is a marketing practice that creates and moulds a brand and its identity. It is process of creating a name, design and logo that is unique and stands out among other brands.

Branding is the tool which gains customer trust and transforms one-time buyers into regular customers and regular customers to  brand loyalists.

Previously branding was only associated with creating a logo design but as time progressed it became important to create a logo design and identity that resonates with the consumers.

Brand and branding are two different concepts. A brand is how the consumers view your company i:e the perceptions they have about your company. Branding is an activity the enables the company to create perceptions about your company. 

Branding is important to engrave a brands identity in the minds of the consumer.

Here is a step by step guide to all the creative stages in branding design.

 

1. Understanding Business Goals and the Priority of the Brand

Knowing the values, goals and priority of the business is a very important step in the branding process, the graphic designers must ask clients to provide them with this information as it is necessary.

Every company needs to set its goals and priorities at the very beginning, as it provides a framework for the designers to work on. They don’t have to be precise, just having a rough idea about it is enough, as they can be modified as per the need in the later stages.

This information is vital for the designers to capture the main essence of the brand through their work. In that way the consumers can relate with the brand.

Not all clients provide designers with these details.In such cases the graphic designers must ask for it, as a pretty logo or design doesn’t give long term benefits.

Sometimes clients are just looking for an attractive logo design. Thus, they are not as prepared with goals and priorities for their business but the appearance doesn’t fetch customers. In this case, the designer must ask them to describe their business in a few keywords.

 

2. Conduction Market Research and User Research

What is Market research?

After gaining clarity on the company’s goals and priorities, the next step that designers must take is to conduct thorough market research.

Market research is basically gathering information about the market in which your client’s business will operate in.  This step enables the graphic designer to understand how the market works, who are their competitors and how they function, as well as understand the distinct features that could possibly help their client’s company to succeed in the market.

Thorough research is conducted to understand their competitors' strategies and avoid the mistakes that their competitors made.

Market research helps in creating a logo which is unique and efficient as well as creating a strong unique brand identity.

What is User research?

When designing a brand logo both the graphic designer and the company need to consider consumers perspective rather than their own perspective,as the brand needs to present itself to the consumer. Here user or consumer research plays a huge role.

Consumer research enables designers to understand the likes and dislikes of their target audience. It helps them to understand the psychology and preferences of the target on a much deeper scale. Hence research is very important in the entire process.

 

3. Designing the Logo

The logo is the face of the brand. There is a misconception about the logo being the actual brand, but in reality, it is actually a part of the entire branding process. However, we cannot underestimate the prominence of logo design. As the logo is the first thing that buyers and consumers look at. A logo acts as a connecting link between the brand and its target audience.

Before diving into the making of the logo market research needs to be conducted to understand the logos of the competitors and to avoid similarities.

Later, user research needs to be conducted. So that the designers can understand the likes and dislikes of their target audience.

When all the information is gathered the designing of the logo begins. In this step there is a lot of experimenting, trial and error, choosing the right direction of style and choosing a distinctive colour pallet is involved.

As business goals and priorities and preferences of the target audience need to be represented in the logo design, this step needs to be executed with a lot of care.

When the logo is designed, it needs to be tested on various surfaces. As a logo is made digitally, there is a possibility that it may not look good when printed.

Thus, the logo needs to be tested on various surfaces, situations and positions. Hence in order to avoid last-minute panic, it's better to test the logo and rectify it if any error occurs.

As the logo is a very important part of the brand, paying attention to the details and the entire creative process is essential.

 

4. Determining the Visual Elements of the Brand

After the logo, some of the most important elements of the branding design are the mascot and the typography.

Mascot:

Mascots are characters which are custom designed to represent the brand in a symbolic manner. The mascot can be a part of the logo (.e.g. Michelin tires) or can exist as an individual element of the brand (e.g.Kellogg’s chocos).

Mascots help the companies to create a connection with its target audience. Thus, it serves as a tool of communication between the company and its consumers. 

It serves as an effective tool to deliver the companies message to its consumers.  A good and efficient mascot generates consumer base and brand recall. E.g. Ronald Mc’Donald and the Amul girl.

Typography:

Typography is the type of font used in the design. Many logos are made with just the usages of fonts or at least have some type of Typography in it.

Typography similar to the logo is used in many other places such as posters, banners and business cards to correlate with the brand, as having consistency in your brand detailing creates effective brand recall.

Many graphic designers custom create the fonts to make them unique but some stick with the existing fonts itself because it suits the brand more. As typography is also an important visual element of the brand, choosing the right font is important.

 

5. Corporate Brand Style

Once all the above steps are done, it’s time to bring them together in a beautiful corporate style. This step is important when a designer works on the branding of a company as the logo will not only go on the product itself but also accompany the other elements or branded attributes.

List of common brand items are:

Banners, Billboards and Posters: graphic designers are often asked to work on them as they are vital for outdoor ads and web banners and posters and essential for online advertising.

Business Cards: business cards are used to create connections at events and meetings in general.  Graphic designers are asked to work on them as they are essential for communication.

Hats, T-shirts, Key rings and Lanyards: These are important to create team spirit and motivation and when employees wear them, they can act as representatives.

Letterheads and Envelopes: these are used in business communication to interact with employees and other business entries formally. Hence, they need to be done to showcase the brand's trustworthiness.

 

6. Provide a Style Guide

When all the steps are done, the designer must provide their clients with a style guide which explains proper usages of the graphic design.

A style guide is like a booklet that mostly consists of the explanation behind the logo, the colour scheme, typography etc.

Demonstrating the right and the wrong way of using graphics can serve as an additional asset.

 

Conclusion

One thing that we can conclude from this article is that branding is complicated but when exulted with efficiency and precision it can create a very strong brand identity that will bean useful asset.

 

Written by - Lirica Machado

Edited by – Adrija Saha


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