If you think of the brand strategy as the blueprint for your brand, the brand creative—or brand identity—is the foundational design and messaging elements of your brand. As a creative marketing agency, we love working with businesses big and small and assisting new product and service launches, to define the look and feel of key brand elements.
When it comes to the look of your brand, we start with a logo design, then move on to a color palette and other elements like typography and iconography. These visual aspects get applied across the board for brand consistency and recognition, for both internal and consumer-facing deliverables, including your website, business cards, letterhead, social media channels, trade show elements, digital ads, and so on. In addition, we help you set the tone and voice of any copy for your consumers. This way, when consumers are engaged with your website, a social media post or sales brochure, your consumers start to connect with your brand, because you are consistent with your look and messaging, which ultimately fosters brand recognition.
Brainstorming your business’ brand name is as important as naming your baby. We’ll go as many rounds as it takes to find the name that fits the personality you want to project. If we’ve helped you with your brand story, we’ve determined if your name should be something serious or playful, industrial or homegrown, clinical or warm. We take into account your industry category, your competition, brand pillars and overall brand mission, vision and purpose. For example, our client’s skincare app that relies on AI and chatbots to help users get clear skin, we came up with the name Clara, both because it sounds close to “clear” and it humanizes the brand with a person’s name.
We also handle the technicalities, ensuring any names we recommend have available urls, and the legalities, by registering your domain name and running it through a lawyer to ensure there is no copyright or trademark infringement.
In the world of brand creative, you’ll often hear over and over that your brand is not just a logo. True. The logo is one part of this living, breathing, often intangible, emotional thing we call your brand. But that abstract perception or feeling that consumers have about who you are has to be rooted in a few distinct elements. And your logo is top on the list of tangible things.
Our love of brand design and communication through graphics, symbols, illustrations, photography, color and gradients, shows in the work we do, not least of which is through our logo design efforts. First developed in black and white to eliminate color distraction, your logo options are delivered with rationales as well as shown in comparison to your competitors so you can see how it stands out. Once we add color, we refine till we have the exact gradient and saturations that work for your brand. We then apply your logo to other identity design elements like business cards, letterhead, and social media channels, so everything is properly scaled and uniform.
For the holistic look and feel of your brand, there are visual elements beyond the logo that we create that helps your brand stick and stand out, including photo and illustration archives for your website and all marketing mediums.
For micro-lending app Tala, we created a photo library that would provide a visual representation of target audiences. We conducted a creative direction exploration prior to leading the art direction of the photo shoot and post production selects. Likewise, for survey company Forthright, we designed a treasure trove of colorful illustrations that we implemented into the website design and across all other branding elements, so that the name Forthright is synonymous with this playful, vibrant look.
In conjunction with all your visuals, your brand needs consistent messaging. This includes voice and tone. In this day and age with social media and image-driven content, voice and tone are often overlooked when it comes to brand recognition. But the words you say matter and are part of your brand personality. By the same token, the imagery used for your brand also represents the personality you want to evoke.
While voice is about personality and doesn’t change, tone is the emotional inflection, which can vary depending on the medium or topic at hand. When we explore voice, we come up with a list of adjectives that become your brands guideposts for all copy moving forward. In addition to what your brand’s voice is, it’s important to understand what it’s not. For example, custom stationery, cards and home decor giant Shutterfly’s voice is soulful without being spiritual, imaginary without being erudite, and helpful without being cool. Likewise, their sub-brand, Tiny Prints, has a voice and tone that evokes classy, sophisticated and warm. Their voice is poised, not prim; gracious not superior; and elevated, not cutesy. By knowing what your voice and tone is not can be just as helpful as what it is.
Part of our identity design package includes a messaging hierarchy. This can be developed either during the brand story stage or brand creative. In either case, we outline the key brand messages along with copy examples for each stage of the user journey: awareness, consideration, engagement and retain/refer.
Your brand strategy has been established, you’re rocking a new name and logo, you understand the voice and tone you want to evoke, and you’ve got an assortment of assets for all your marketing efforts. Your team can shout your brand statement from the rooftops and can’t wait to test that elevator pitch at the next meet-n-greet. But an overzealous employee decides to add fucsia to the holiday flyer. Or that new social media manager thinks it’s okay to distort the logo to fit with the latest meme and toss in a few F-bombs to be “edgy.” Oof.
Enter the Brand Style Guide. This is the protocol of your company’s brand etiquette, the dos and don’ts when it comes to your logo, color palette, typography, fonts and brand voice and tone. Whatever we do to build your brand identity, we leave behind the rules you and your team need to follow moving forward so your look stays elevated, your message remains on point and your brand is never led astray.