Branding first, before logo design

Hi all. It's my first blog!

I thought I'd take the time here to write about something I often encounter when dealing with clients looking for a logo designer: The need to understand their brand before talking about getting a logo designed. I'm more specifically talking about clients who are starting up, or clients who have been in business for a while now and are reconsidering their logo more closely the second time round.

A logo isn't just a logo

To start off, a logo isn't just a logo - in that it's not merely a standalone item you can get designed separately from a general system. This general system I'm talking about is your general brand identity, where the logo plays one part. There are heaps of posts on what branding is (just Google "What is branding"), but I'll summarise by saying that your brand is people's perception of your company, your core values, your company's personality - which influences your tone of voice, how you connect with your audience, and so on.

I've got a few clients who have a strong idea of what their brand is - even to the point of writing out sort of a 'story behind the brand' statement on their website. This makes it easy for me to ask a checklist of questions I often run through to more fully understand what they wish to convey with their logo. But for other clients, their ideas about their brand aren't always so strong - which usually means that there is more guesswork on the part of the designer to try to capture what the client is after.

Branding first, before logo design

That's why I've titled this post as is: Branding first, before logo design. If you're someone who does not know your brand, this is where I suggest you take a pause, and go through a brand research and discovery process (more on this in another blog post) BEFORE considering a logo design/redesign. Without having a clear idea what your brand is, you're going to find it more difficult to critique a logo from the viewpoint of your specific brand... since you don't know what it is yet!

It's important to bear in mind that a designer is not able to create the brand for you - it's something you will have to work out yourself. As the founder/owner of your company and as the provider of the goods or services, you're in charge of saying 'This is who we are, and this is what we do, and this is what we believe', and so on. With that said, the designer can help you to discover your brand, by prompting you with questions and to help you refine your thinking towards discovering what it is. The designer can also help you capture and express this brand and vision - after they've been discovered - through design, via a logo, stationery, marketing collateral, and so on. But at the end of the day, you have the final say on what makes your brand, your brand.

If you're looking to dig deep and discover your brand, get in touch, and let's embark on a brand discovery journey together. If you already have a brand - terrific - stay tuned for my next post on the checklist of questions I ask before designing a logo.