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About Innovatemap — 07.19.2022

Pairing Art, Science, and Instinct to Create the Right Brand

Cassidy Belk, Associate Marketing Manager

Brand team collaboration at work

Building a brand is a non-linear process. It’s creative, collaborative, and loaded with roadblocks. With the right team, these roadblocks become opportunities to push boundaries. We have that team.

Though brand design is artistic in nature, we understand that the process of building a brand is a collaborative science. It’s what helps us create brands that work for established companies like Doodle and startups needing a face for the first time, like Boost.

For our team, brand isn’t about picking the prettiest colors or going as bold as we can. It’s about every detail working in harmony to create associations, build perceptions, and tell your story.

Our process is a science.

Kaylee Green, Brand Designer, compared the brand process to the scientific process. “When building a brand, I am inspired by elements of the scientific method almost as if I were performing an experiment,” Kaylee explained. “This helps me get to the best concept.” 

It works like this.

  • Identify the problem. With extensive information about the industry, design trends, and the client’s pain points, Kaylee decides the brand should feel approachable. She asks, “how do I make the brand feel more human?”
  • Make a hypothesis. Kaylee hypothesizes, “If I use a serif font, the brand will feel more human.” She isn’t certain that will be the result, but her experience as a brand designer leads her to that hypothesis. 
  • Test it. Kaylee, armed with a serif font and the goal of humanizing the brand, asks the brand team for feedback in a design standup. Parker McCullough, Senior Brand Designer, says, “I like the serif font. You could elevate its approachability with warmer colors and illustrated icons.” Tressa Janes, Brand Designer, adds, “I actually think a cooler primary color with warmer secondary colors would be better for this client. Let’s talk about it.”
  • Revise it. With the brand team’s feedback and her own expertise, Kaylee experiments with new ideas. She makes improvements, eliminations, and additions. 
  • Repeat until you get it right. Kaylee knows that the brand process is about challenging one another openly and honestly. So when Kaylee faces her next obstacle, she repeats the process, bouncing ideas off the team. This allows her to take the brand into new directions, adding elements as she goes until it feels right. 

Right is a difficult feeling to achieve when building something as artistic as a brand. Without a defined process and feedback from other experts, how could you know when you’ve reached the right brand concept? Our designers know that the process of creating a brand is as important as the final concept because when they present the brand to a client, they can justify each decision they made along the way. 

“You just keep repeating the process until finally it feels right. And then you present that to the client. They give you feedback, and because of the way we arrived at the final concept, we can back up our choices,” Kaylee said. “We are very intentional with each of the design choices we make, which guarantees we’ve thought everything through.”

Such a deliberate approach ensures the client gets a tested, research-backed, and intentional product. For example, if the client tells Kaylee they don’t love the font, Kaylee can ask the right questions to get to the root of the problem. She chose the font for its approachability, so she can ask “does the font feel too friendly? Would you prefer something more serious?” Now, she understands why the font isn’t evoking the right feelings and can ask the brand team for feedback to find a solution.

It’s like creating a recipe.

Parker likes to think of building a brand like developing a great recipe. “Every ingredient (logo, colors, type, and visual language) plays a role. We know what flavor we want at the end, and every ingredient has to work together in the right way to reach that goal,” Parker explained. “And it’s such a delicate balance. One element may be more prominent while others are more subdued, all working together to create something dynamic and different.” 

Just like mastering a delicious meal, the brand process is about trying new things, different combinations, and getting second (third, fourth, and fifth) opinions.

“When the right foods come together in the right way, you create something truly delicious and memorable. That’s what we do with brands,” Parker said. 

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