My bookshelf is looking a little more vibrant this week thanks to a new addition: Creating a Brand Identity: A Guide for Designers by Catharine Slade-Brooking. Branding is probably the most recognised area of Graphic Design as it covers a bit of everything: typography, colour theory, copywriting, art direction, strategy and packaging.
Reading this book has reminded me how much I love thinking about the strategy and psychology behind branding, so sorry if I ramble on… oops!
Even if you travel to the most remote part of the world, you would probably still be able to come into contact with some kind of branding; corporate or tribal. In our consumer driven culture, we are subconsciously influenced by branding whether you’re buying a chocolate bar or a car. It’s a fascinating subject and there is more to it than meets the eye – it’s not just making a pretty looking logo!
In Creating a Brand Identity you can learn about the whole process from researching a market and naming a brand, to presenting to clients and supplying the final artwork. It’s basically a branding bible for beginners, although I think every level of designer could learn something from it.
Going back to basics, the design process is different for every designer/brief/client. Each will come with unique obstacles, but Creating a Brand Identity identifies 13 key stages:
- Design platform
- Briefing the designers
- Independent research
- Concept development
- Analysis of design concepts
- Refining the final concepts
- Client presentation
- Finishing/protoyping the final design
- Testing/market research/consumer reactions
- Delivery of final artwork
I don’t personally remember a branding project that has ran so smoothly – there’s usually at least 3 rounds of stages 5 – 10! What is your design process like?
Not only does the book explain how to create an identity, but it uses case studies to help you fully understand including: Uniqlo, Virgin, Milka, Apple and Google. These examples dig deeper into the brand’s identity beyond the visual e.g. the reason that brands are able to succeed and why you should analyse the competition.
Sometimes brands aren’t so straight forward and have several legs and arms, so something else to consider is the consistency of a brand family – how the main logo works with sub-logos. This is quite forward thinking, but also clever if you’re ambitious and looking to expand later on!
So what could be harder than branding a new business? Re-branding, or so I think anyway. Refreshing an existing brand can be a lot trickier as sometimes people don’t like change, especially if it is a well known brand. This creates problems because everyone and their cat decides to have an opinion on design e.g. Gap 2010 – their rebrand went down really badly and was re-called in the end! In short, rebranding is not for scaredy cats!
As well as lots of food for thought, there are also helpful exercises to practice and top tips to guide you through the process. Because of this if you ask me, Creating a Brand Identity: A Guide for Designers is the perfect handbook for students and young designers.
What do you think to the book so far? Tempted to grab a copy for yourself? Let me know if you do!
Disclaimer: I was sent this book for review by Laurence King, however all views and enthusiasm is 100% my own!