To be completely honest with you – when I started out as a young guppie designing logos off of Craigslist for $100 to help feed my PBR dependency in college; logo projects were only fun about 40% of the time. I say that because I had no clue what I was doing (from a project management standpoint) and I was spinning my wheels, going back and forth, turning in circles, thus drinking more PBR, depleting my stash, and defeating the purpose of my side hustle.
I eventually learned about the importance of “controlling” the design process by developing phases, asking and documenting very specific questions that would help the client better understand what they thought they wanted.
which in turn would help me design better logos in a shorter amount of time.
which in turn would help maximize the efficiency of my PBR intake.
So I set out to create phases of branding – which I will unveil to the world below.
At the start of any brand development project, we have two discovery meetings with our clients. The first is to get a better idea of “Who, What, Why, and Where” – the answers to these questions are aimed at helping us better understand who they are as an organization and who their current or future target audience is.
Once we have the initial discussion to answer the 4 W’s – we get to work conducting market and competitor research, building personas as needed, drafting mood boards, finding inspiration, and creating very high-level prototypes.
After we develop our internal foundation, we have a PBR, and then we schedule another discovery session with the client and present our art direction – when that’s approved we move into the actual design work, comfortably knowing that our direction has purpose and identity.
Concepting is the fun stuff – you start with a blank canvas and somewhere along the way you get to a point where you have a thing, something, anything that someone, anyone, may find visually attractive. Which is cool, to me at least. But I was selling my soul at 21 to people on Craigslist to help them brand their tactical sock business (yes that’s true). So what do I know?
Concepting is where you take all the foundational research you just spent a week or so conducting and you start to mix in the design ingredients: Iconography, Typography, and Colors. Then you wave your Adobe Illustrator wand and you magically come up with 10 or so renderings of different “logos”. One of which is going to take you to the promised land. Which is cool, to me at least.
Once you have those renderings built out in black and white, I usually assemble a small focus group of 5 to 10 people with varying backgrounds and opinions. I shoot them over to my feedback team who will roast and destroy maybe 3 to 4 and then the remaining concepts will be kitted out and sent over to the client for review.
The decision is insanely more expedited when you put critical thought into the development of a brand or logo. During this phase, the client and I will schedule another review discussion in which they have feedback and I lend some of my professional insight based on where the logo may be used (online, small print, a large billboard, etc), complimentary design components like patterns, similar design styles, or familiar brands. When our winning logo has led us to the promised land – we run a series of color variants until we agree on the best composition, and then it’s off to the Brand Guide process.
That’s the story of how I got 100% happier with branding projects and 100% more efficient with my beer supply.