Unlocking Your Brand's Potential: The Art and Science of Identity Creation

Brand identity process

Ever wondered how we take Brand Strategy and develop brand identities that delight and spark emotional connections? Well, you’re in luck, as this article will walk you through the 4 steps on how we bridge the gap from Strategy to Brand Identity.

Before we jump straight into how we bridge the gap between strategy and identity, I cannot stress the importance of strategy enough. Not just when developing identities, but across all design and communication touchpoints.

If we jump straight into the creative and design process without a clear strategy, it's difficult to determine what we are trying to communicate, who we are speaking to and what the goals are for the brand. You can learn more about our Brand Strategy process in a recent article we posted: A peek inside our Brand Strategy framework: InsideOut Method.

Once we have developed a strategy, our creative team works together with the strategy team to discuss how we can develop a creative solution and articulate elements identified within the strategy to a brand identity. We start this process with an in-house workshop called the Big Idea Workshop.

The Big Idea

During this phase of the process, both the strategy team and creative team work together to develop The Big Idea for the identity. This stage of the process really blurs the line between strategy and design, but is an integral part of the overall identity process. During this workshop, we work through the strategy and determine what direction we can take this identity. We discuss potential opportunities, threats and overarching identity concepts & ideas.

Sometimes the direction is rather straightforward and just needs to be translated from the strategists to the creatives. Other times, we need to work together to determine a clear direction. During this process, our goal is to make sure the identity has a profound rather than a cosmetic effect. Once a clear direction has been established, the project is handed to the creative team to start developing visuals for the identity.

Initial Direction

This is the stage of the process when we start to develop visuals for the brand. We review a large collection of visual assets including photography, typography, layout, colour, pattern, and shapes, and start to develop a cohesive direction for the brand. This stage allows our creative team to start experimenting and determines if an idea will work or not. This phase of the project allows us to develop ideas and a clear direction, and present it to the client in a timely manner. We like to use this step to confirm that we are moving in the right direction before spending a couple weeks on refining it.

Our process is a little different from a standard moodboard, as we include custom elements our design team have developed for each brand, not just other brands' visuals. It's important that we create unique and ownable elements at this stage, even if the idea is in its infancy. After determining a clear initial direction, we present this to the client in a meeting to walk them through and discuss how we have translated the strategy into a direction.

Once we have presented the initial direction to the client and everything has been approved, we move on to the Identity Development stage.

Identity Development

This stage of the project is about expanding on the Initial Direction and developing all elements of the identity, including but not limited to the logo, typography, layout, photography & videography, art direction, motion, patterns, and additional graphic elements. This stage is about expanding the initial direction and trying to push the limits of what this can look like. 

Once our creative team has developed a unique identity that encapsulates the strategy and initial direction, we present this across to the client during a presentation. This presentation includes all identity elements and showcases an example of how the identity will look across several touchpoints through mockups and real world examples.

Refine, Rollout & Handover

Once the client has signed off on the previous stage, we move into the refine, rollout & handover stage. During this stage, it’s common for the client to have minor changes. This stage provides us with the ability to make these amendments. Once everything is finalised we move onto the rollout. 

During rollout, we translate the identity across the previously agreed upon deliverables such as business cards, social feeds, vehicle wraps, etc., and work with the client to develop a clear launch plan for the identity. A high attention to detail is required to make sure all touchpoints are consistent and reflect the vision. 

We document all these applications and how the identity is rolled out in an identity style guide for the client. This style guide becomes an asset for the brand and provides a clear direction for all internal and external parties, such as contractors and printers, who are working with the identity.

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