The brand identity is a symbol for your organization. It has been called many things—a logo, a mark, a brand, an identity. At id8, we call it your Brand Identity. It identifies your brand, much like a driver’s license identifies you.
A successful brand identity (logo) represents what you stand for and builds an emotional connection between your company as a whole and your customers. A brand identity isn’t merely a favorite color or design. Thoughtful attention and focused time are spent understanding the organization, the culture, the customers, the product/service, and the business goals. Once we immerse ourselves in that purpose, our creative directors, art directors, and graphic designers begin creating sketches and concepts to solve the problem–how do we create one mark that represents this organization that has so much diversity in people, offerings, process, and systems?
At id8, we believe that a logo reveals the truth. It is the merge of data and art together to solve a problem. A logo is the simplest and most difficult symbol to create because it is just that, simple. It’s one thing. It’s a mark. It’s a logo. It’s a word. But it stands for so much more. Organizations with business plans to grow or double over a period of time need to be aligned together. A brand identity is a start to that unification. It’s not the logo alone, however, it is the entire brand experience. We start with understanding the brand’s position in the marketplace. Once we understand yours or help you define your positioning and messaging, then the creative team at id8 can use that information and transition to design a brand that truly represents your organization holistically.
There are thousands of fonts (typefaces, typography) to consider for logo design. A reputable typeface designer is Hoefler&Co. H&Co is famous for creating long-lived typefaces marked by high performance and high style. Unfortunately, there are many typefaces that aren’t made with that kind of attention. There are fonts that are created poorly. For example, fonts that don’t have adequate spacing between letters so it makes them hard to read. That means there are at least 5,000 fonts that aren’t the right choice for your brand. We agonize over the font selection to ensure it best represents your organization. The font is required to read well and be easy to reproduce whether for a digital ad, a screen-printed t-shirt, or on a metal lapel pin.
The font must also represent your unique culture, speak to your customers, the feeling, and the industry or market. We may assess 1,000 fonts and then curate that down to 30 and then continue to refine until we select and use a font that hits the high mark across each criteria. Once we select a font, then we begin to customize the font by modifying letters, creating ligatures, changing the kerning, spacing, and organization of the word(s). To stand out, using a custom font means that no other organization will have access to use that same font. It truly makes a brand stand out so much so that Netflix, BBC, Apple, and so many more well-known brands have created custom typefaces.
As a designer, one part of the logo design project is to carefully choose and assign the Pantone Matching System (PMS) color for the brand identity. We use Pantone colors for offset printing for one-color, two-color, or three-color jobs, like a business card. If something is printed four-color (CMYK), whether by a traditional offset printer or with a digital printing system, Pantone colors aren’t used and will be converted to CMYK. As we select brand colors, the design team looks at conversions to CMYK, RGB, and sometimes even HEX colors for digital applications. Consistency of your brand identity is critical to helping customers and prospects make a visual connection with your brand across different platforms. It’s critical to specify a PMS color to maintain consistency for your brand.
Our Proven Process
At id8, building a brand identity for an organization is a three-phase process:
Phase 1: Discover
We start with research. In the Discover phase, we begin by gathering information from your organization’s leaders. There is some pre-work and a long meeting where the id8 team asks questions about your purpose, target audience, competition, goals, and personality. We then research, even more, analyze the data, and present some overarching insights and recommendations based on our findings. We look for issues and gaps. This process can be uncomfortable because we look behind the curtains to not only understand who your clients think you are, but who you really are. We need to understand your culture and all the intangibles, along with the operational process for how products and services are delivered. Because our philosophy is that branding isn’t simply a logo, we’re not just looking for a visual solution. Branding is the total visual communication of what your brand stands for and, in order to be successful, you must connect with your customers or clients at an emotional level. So, we dive into psychology, gestalt principles, sociology, science, and human nature.
Phase 2: Create
After we have a sound understanding of your organization, the second phase uses that information as the basis for creative work. We use creative concepts to solve problems and reveal the truth of the organization. There is sketching and a deep exploration of typography, colors, and themes that will set your identity apart from the competition. The creative concepts must deliver a benefit and a message. Once the sketches are created, then we start a refinement process. The refinement process works like this: If a dog is the concept, during the refinement process we explore styles such as paint, chalk, simplified lines, dots, abstraction, or realism to find the right style that fits your identity. Then we explore position, cropping, enclosures, and proportion to continue to create the most unique solution.
Phase 3: Activate
During the final phase, we activate the identity and transform it with colors. Colors can alter feelings around a brand, so we hold on color exploration until the concept has been accepted. We include incremental design changes around color, fonts, placement, organization, and even letter spacing. During this time, we finesse how letters fit together, going so far as to hand kern or place-specific angles unique to the concept. The logo is finalized by saving multiple versions that can be used in a range of sizes, from as small as a lapel pin to as large as a tractor-trailer. The final identity set is used to replace all current versions. Brand Guidelines are created to communicate specific colors for print and digital use, as well as variations of the logo for specific uses.
id8’s proprietary process helps clients to translate their brand vision and meaningfully connect with their customers. We would love the opportunity to work with you on your brand identity. Let’s talk!