At Darwin Digital there are specific steps that we take in the design of all identities and brands. These steps help us to develop an effective brand from the start and ensure both we and the client are making informed choices throughout the process.
Establishing a thorough and well considered brief is an underestimated yet incredibly important factor in developing an effective brand identity. The brief is a document outlining the requirements of the client and is the result of a question and answer session with the client. It contains information such as the company history, market positioning, target markets, the messages we want to deliver, the schedule and deadlines.
The brief is written up and agreed upon prior to work commencing. This keeps the design process on track, saves time and money and focuses the thoughts and ideas of both the client and the designer to achieve the best results for the organisation.
To establish an effective brand identity, research must be conducted on our part into the market positioning of the brand in relation to direct competitors, market trends, product and service, company history, unique selling points and more. This allows the developing brand to be positioned most effectively to maximise return on investment. As we will never know the business as well as the client, collaboration, knowledge sharing and feedback in this area is of the greatest importance.
Sketching, mind mapping sessions, analysing typography are just a few of the methods we use to generate ideas and concepts. This process is very important in creating a unique visual identity and allows us to weed out the cliché and weaker ideas to leave us focussed on the concepts that work.
Taking the stronger design ideas, we digitally develop the concepts. At this point we look mainly at the identity’s form, weight and balance so, to avoid the distraction of colour, we produce artwork in black and white. This allows us to concentrate on developing the brand for cross media application.
If the design works well at this stage, the introduction of colour only further enhances brand recognition and we can rest safe in the knowledge that our brand will prove strong where the use of colour is not possible. ie. black and white newspaper reproduction.
We also look at how the identity works at various sizes, making sure it remains strong when produced small as well as when it is produced at a larger scale.
We present the developed concepts, in black and white for discussion with the client with the focus being on form, weight, balance, application and message. There is no set number of concepts that we present as we feel it is important to provide the client with the designs that answer the brief. Presenting weaker designs is detrimental to the entire process. As a general rule of thumb however, the higher the budget, the more time spent in the exploration and development stages and the more likely that we will have developed a larger number of well considered designs. With smaller budgets there must be a compromise.
Once the form has been established, colour can be introduced and we can look at how the brand will work as a whole and how elements of the identity can be used independently to create a comprehensive, instantly recognisable brand. We produce mock ups showcasing how the brand will be viewed in real world situations relative to its market position.
Meeting with the client to make sure everything is on track, we look at colour choices based on market position, message, style and it’s application based on the mock ups we have produced. We look at any changes that need to be made to refine the design and finalise the process.
Collating everything that has been designed and discussed into a set of comprehensive guidelines ensures that any designers or marketers working with the brand in future understand exactly how the organisation should be presented.
Typically, our guidelines include sections on the following:
Once any minor tweaks and changes have been made, the design work and guidelines will be signed off by us and the client. The design work and guidelines are supplied in all the relevant digital file formats by email and we post a hard copy on DVD or flash drive. If there are specific file formats required outside the standard remit, we can produce these on request.
We are always available should the client need to discuss anything relating to the brand, its usage and any issues. We are happy to liaise with third parties, should any questions arise. And of course, we are on hand should the client need any further marketing collateral designed and produced.