WTF is a brand, anyway?
like that show 'how it's made', but the branding edition.
Most people mix up the terms branding and logos. A cool graphic is your logo. Every little piece of your business that the public experiences is your brand.
Because nearly every name, shape or graphic, colour and font will belong to at least ONE other brand out there, considering all elements of how people experience your brand is as important as having an iconic mark for a logo.
We would be remiss to say that Apple's brand is simply the apple itself. Everything from the fonts they use, to the amount of white space on their website, to the style of photography, to the employees they hire (why do they ALL LOOK THE SAME?!) to the language they use in their product launches is their brand.
...Which is why we can confidently say that we will never just 'design a logo'. There are other places to go for that.
Every branding project looks a bit different. We've taken one of our all-time fave projects, Salted Cycle and broken it down step by step for you, so you can have a glimpse into what we do (and how it can help your business be successful... if you're into that kinda thing).
STEP ONE: you have a business!
Salted Cycle reached out to us with a name, a lease on a space and needed everything else. Whether you are a new business owner or have a flourishing business in need of a refresh, both will start from the same place; our Brand Tacklebox (trout pun).
STEP TWO: BRAND TACKLEBOX
We spent three hours with founder, Becky, distilling her business. This is the part of the process that really allows us to get to know you and your vision for the future. Here's what we uncovered after our deep dive into Salted Cycle's brand:
CORE VALUES: Family, Sweat, Heartbeat, Happiness, Growth
TRAITS: Hell yes: Empowering, Energetic, Mindful, Playful, Fresh // Hell no: Pretentious, Generic, Serious, Elite, Cheap
MUSE: A 35-44 year old woman currently residing on the North Shore in Vancouver. She is a vibrant mom of one, and super active in the fitness community. She is a mid range professional who loves her job, yet seeks something more than the fluorescent lights of her office. She will invest in personal growth opportunities, backyard dinners with friends and family vacations. She spends her money on organic food, studio memberships, and her family.
STEP THREE: T+T HYPE SESSION
We have the perfect balance on our team between left brains and right brains, and we make sure that everyone has a stake in every project we work on (#bettertogether). In our project kickoff meeting (we call them hype sessions, cause man we are HYPED on your brand), we'll come up with individual mood boards and then put a master mood board together as a team. Here were a few from the initial Guru Singh meeting; see if you can spot his core values and traits within the mood boards:
......And here's the final mood board we came up with:
STEP FOUR: SKETCHING
Armed with nothing but a pencil and boundless levels of creativity, our team starts coming up with preliminary sketches and concepts. We present our highest level concepts to you very early on, envisioning your brand coming to life (more on the brand presentation later) so we spend hours and hours concepting (in fact; according to our time tracking app, we'll spend anywhere between 40 - 80 hours on this stage) alone.
For Guru Singh, we wanted to weave in the ideas of creativity and movement throughout his brand; so we broke out the watercolours.
Anything created offline, like these watercolour images or sketches from notebooks get scanned in and we'll start to work with colours and graphic elements like these guys:
STEP FIVE: BRAND PRESENTATION
We'll start assembling the brand presentation together. We use our brand presentation as a big ole brain dump. We'll show you our sketches, we'll show you our findings, we'll show you exactly how we envision your brand, and some of the concepts that we just couldn't get our minds off of during the creative process. We love to do this meeting in person or via skype so we can discuss all of our ideas with you right away.
We'll put forth our strongest options; perhaps you'll see different fonts, different colour palettes or different photo treatments.
To help you visualize your brand, we'll always put a section in the brand presentation called 'in the wild' - if you have a pickle company, we might show you our ideas for labels or loyalty cards. If you have a yoga studio, we'll show you your brand concepts on yoga mats or studio signage.
Like a snowflake, each brand presentation is unique but here's a sneak peek of just a few of the pages we presented to Guru Singh:
STEP SIX: REVISIONS
We'll work together over the course of the next couple of weeks to make sure we have totally nailed your vision. The biggest changes in your brand will come between the brand presentation and the first revision. To capture his masculinity (oh, and his favourite colour, maroon!), we adjusted the colour palette, while bringing in more electricity and vibrancy into the brand. They also had a strong desire to bring in more of Guru Singh's personality so we started working with his actual signature. They sent us this:
And here are some snaps from revision one.
They wanted to see a lil bit bolder still, so we decided to rock a few more signature options (by a few we mean 100)
...And decided this was the fave:
With one little quick fix of the G and I, we were off to the races with an approved signed-off mark:
STEP SEVEN: FILE DELIVERY
This is a pretty logistic-heavy stage, but we'll package everything up for you so you can start using your brand right away. We'll put together ALL of the logos you'll need to use, in every colour, in every format that you'll ever need them in. We'll train you on how to use your brand, the size dimensions you'll need to adhere to and which logo to use in which circumstance. Here are a few pages from our brand logo usage guide.
In addition to your brand fonts, your colour palettes, your logos, your graphics and patterns, we'll also give you everything you need to do a full online overhaul - all your social media profiles have never looked so fresh.
STEP EIGHT: ALL OF THE MIDDLE PARTS
We're going to gloss over this stage, but it's where all the magic happens. We'll work side-by-side with you as your brand directors, because words can't describe how invested in your business we are at this stage. This is the stage where we'll start building out your other brand assets; your website, your crew neck sweatshirts, your business cards or your custom Valentine's Day cards. With the Guru Singh team, we put together a creative brief and art direction for the new website photoshoot. We did a social media overhaul, and created some super rad supporting assets for the brand (hello custom guitar picks!). We'll always cap off the project with a super robust brand training session, where we'll go over how to use your brand IRL. Literally nothing is off limits when it comes to branding; we have consulted on bathroom tiles for not-yet-built spin studios - and we have designed custom cat sweaters. You did, in fact, read that correctly.
STEP NINE: BEYOND
It's pretty hard to shake team Trout + Taylor off after your brand is launched. We pride ourselves in the fact that we've had; 'have mandatory celebratory beers' legally approved by our lawyer written into our contract. We have absolutely loved every project we've ever worked on, and hope you'll keep us on speed dial. We'd love to support your beautiful brand in any way possible for years to come.
Still have questions?
We're really nice and we LOVE branding, so please reach out!