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During the brand development process, there comes a very special time WHEN you will need to deliberately add a personality & face to the ideas that have been incubating in your mind. Hence, the critical importance of brand differentiation in the global and digital marketplace. In a crowded and noisy social media era, it has become more important to separate your brand from the pack.
You have to stand out.
You have to be memorable.
If you were one of 300 cows in a field (just bare with me for a sec) how could you prove that you are different?
That is branding.
How can you get consumers to see you and THINK OF YOU (or your brand) the way you want them to?
It all starts with a careful brand development strategy and a creative team or brand designer to help bring your ideas to life.
Your company needs an attractive brand that is cohesive and better engages consumers at each key touch point.
The surest way to create a well respected brand that allows you to better attract and engage with your target market, is to work with a professional brand designer or creative director who can work with their team of graphic designers, copywriters, web designers and technical programming to build a robust marketing engine ; websites, landing pages, corporate/brand identity, style guide, sales kit, promotional materials, social media marketing materials etc
Your brand needs a signature design system
One of the first things to do when launching a new business or rebranding all/parts of your company, is to work with a brand stylist to create a signature design system; specific icons, elements, styles, fonts and brand elements that will become highly recognizable by your audience, fans, clients, customers and partners.
Even if you just want to rebrand one of your hair care product lines, launch a new consulting business, publish a book, beauty blog or create a community space online where you can showcase your products & services or express yourself/art, it is best to start on a solid foundation by creating a signature design system to use on all your promotional materials.
If you are an established graphic designer reading this post, you may appreciate my brand identity creation process (and perhaps already practice in a similar manner).
However, this post is for marketing directors, CEO’s or executive consultants and creative entrepreneurs who may be creative/knowledgable in your own right but lack the graphic design skills to design your own brand the way you would like.
This post is not going to show you the technical aspect of using Photoshop to design your brand. However, it is an overview of the steps I take to arrive at a memorable, distinctive and unique brand identity.
This post is a bit lengthy, however, I hope you appreciate the detail provided. With that said, lets get right to it.
STEP 1: Strategy
All great ideas, projects and action plans begin with a strategy. In this case, you will need to create a brand strategy that will thoroughly identify specific ways to position your brand, project, blog, website or agenda in the manner that will generate traffic, leads, clients, opportunities and interest in your business. You have to first ask yourself the key questions that will help you create a positive frenzy when you launch.
I did not intend on discussing the strategy portion in this post, however, I will upload my Manic Branding System at a later date (which btw is a powerful questioning system I use with our clients to excavate and uncover their brands “love factor.”) If you are itching for some creative strategies right now, simply send me an email.
STEP 2: Messaging
Once you’re clear on your brand strategy, you will need to translate your value proposition into a catchy and unique message which should include word hooks, slogans, taglines and descriptive copy.
I did not intend on discussing the messaging portion in this post but I promise to share my content marketing techniques with you very soon in a future post.
STEP 3: Brand Development & Styling
Now this step is the focus of this post.
So lets dig right in and get straight to it.
The diagram below is an overview of my brand development process which I will explain in more detail in this post.
2 Phases of the brand development & styling Process:
“You should not be using random fonts, different color shades and other oddities if you desire to WOW your audience.”
1. DESIGN THE STYLES FIRST
In my Lovette Branding Program, I now design brands by creating the “styles” first. I don’t just jump in and start creating websites or marketing materials without first designing the brand elements and “styles.”
To build an iconic brand, your audience must begin to associate certain icons, colors, patterns, textures, fonts and imagery with your brand.
This doesn’t happen by accident. Brands must be intentional about the manner in which they want to be remembered.
2. CREATE A STYLE GUIDE
With that in mind, it is best to work with a brand designer who will design your styles first and create a style guide to document when, how, what and why certain elements should be used. (In a future post, I’ll show you how to create a style guide.)
Uniformity is very important when it comes to your branding presentations. You should not be using random fonts, different color shades and other oddities if you desire to WOW your audience. Confusion and inconsistency is the fastest way to dilute your brand.
Designing your brand elements and styles is a great way to establish your brand image and to ensure that all your marketing materials carry the same level of excellence, even if you hire different designers to create your graphics.
As long as your styles have already been designed and established by a brand designer, you are good to apply them to any collateral item you wish to promote down the line (such as websites, marketing materials and products.)
So…..let me take you through my brand styling process. The best way to do this is to use the Nnenna Lovette brand identity as a case study. That way you can see the thought process and manner in which I assembled my brand identity. You can also look at my brand design portfolio to see how I applied my brand styles to them.
Alright..here we go.
CASE STUDY: HOW I CREATED THE NNENNA LOVETTE BRAND IDENTITY
BELOW ARE THE BRAND ELEMENTS I CREATED TO SET THE TONE FOR MY BRAND DESIGN & TO CREATE A UNIFORM STANDARD ACROSS ALL MY MARKETING MATERIALS AND PLATFORMS.
FIRST I CREATED A MOOD BOARD
Setting the mood of your brand before creating any elements is a great way to define the style, feel or aesthetic of a brand. When I was working on the NNENNA LOVETTE rebrand project, I first assembled a group of images that I felt drawn to. I noticed that the images I gravitated to had distinct features which I used as foundation of my mood board. You can do this easily by setting up a Pinterest account and pinning images that you are naturally drawn to. I like to start with images related to interior design, abstract art and ordinary objects, so that I can capture the different hues, shades, textures and colors that appeal to me. This is a great way to figure out what your design aesthetic is. Knowing your design aesthetic will create a guide and a strong foundation for your brand stylist & graphic designer to create a brand Identity that is authentic to you (and your audience). No more guessing games! There’s a science to this (at least that’s how I see it).
Anyway if you take a look at my mood board you can see what my style is. Those images give me life!
NEXT I DEFINE MY COLOR PALETTE
I noticed that my mood board had a classic/elegant style with brief pops of bright colors. This is where my color palette came from. When I look at these colors I come alive. Its me! It feels authentic to my brands personality and is also attractive to my target audience.
I like to define my primary, secondary and call-to-action colors. This creates a guideline and ensures that my aesthetic is maintained during the design process.
NEXT I CREATE THE LOGO DESIGN AND SUBMARKS
When I was designing the NNENNA LOVETTE Logo, my main goal was to design a style that is classy, elegant, creative and unique. I think it’s very important to include a reasonable budget in your logo development plan so that your designer can comfortably create different variations to suite the various aspects of your business marketing needs (look at the bigger picture).
This is my main logo which I like to display prominently on my website, marketing materials and promotional items. I love the fact that it is gold in color and cursive to express the essence of my brand (elegance, luxury, feminine, and classy).
I use this logo in special situations where I need to highlight “nnenna lovette” as the designer as opposed to “nnenna lovette” the Brand. For instance you may see this on a NL portfolio presentation that says…brand designed by…..” and then…(logo inserted)
I use this logo if I need to reference “nnenna lovette” as the “company.” In case you are not aware, my business is registered as Nnenna Lovette Design & Marketing Agency, so this is what I use in that instance.
My sub-mark logos come in handy when I need to display an official stamp on an invoice, delivery or document. For instance, lets say you order a Nnenna Lovette Coffee Mug (which I am currently working on)…when you get your shipment in the mail, you may see my sub-mark stamped on your delivery package or receipt.
I have two options at the moment because I still cant decide which one to use primarily. As I mentioned, my brand is expanding into 2 divisions (products & services). I may use this one just for any service related stamping, and the other option for product shipments etc.
I use these versions if I need to display my logo/name within a sentence or as a signature. I also use these versions in instances where there is a color clash (in which the primary gold color is not suitable)
This icon is so versatile and I use it for multiple purposes. I love using it as my website favicon. I also love displaying this icon on my marketing materials and presentations.
NEXT I DESIGN THE BRAND ELEMENTS
Below are the brand elements I created to set the tone for the NL brand design & to create a uniform standard across all my marketing materials and platforms.
The Blog Post Title Decor
I typically use this to display titles or bring attention to a headline or phrase. I especially use these to decorate my blog tittle area and to style the headline text areas of some of my web pages and documents. For instance, if you check the tittle of this blog post, you will see this element incorporated into the design.
I looped my heart shaped icon to create a decorative divider which you can see sprinkled in specific areas of my blog, graphics and marketing materials.
I use this to divide thick blocks of text or to separate different clusters of content from another. You will see this used on the sidebar areas of my blog or in different content presentation pieces.
Blog Post Divider
I use this to divide my blog post featured image from the post tittle, etc.
NEXT I CREATE & DEFINE THE PATTERNS & TEXTURES OF THE BRAND
I did not define a texture for my brand because my primary style involves the classic black & white clean look. However, I created the black and white stripes to match some of the elements I noticed in my mood board. Stripes make me happy! I just love them, They add a chic element to my style palette.
I also used my signature love shaped icon to create patterns for backgrounds, wallpapers, gift wraps, iPhone cases and more. I used this pattern also on the side flap of my envelop…its really cute!
I love using my love shaped pattern on a black background to stay consistent with my primary color palette. I love the elegance of the black and gold theme. I #TotallyLovette. Do you?
I just love this icon. It is so versatile. I have already mentioned how I use it in some of my logo variations, patterns, dividers and more.
Custom Bullet Point
I love to use this black heart shape as a bullet point. Its so cute and fits my brand so well. With NNENNA LOVETTE as my name, it makes sense to play with heart shapes. You will see this sprinkled throughout my brand (look how I used it on my blog menu)
Social Media Icons
I created 2 different social media styles. I tend to use the gold ones on print materials such as business cards, brochures etc. I like using the black one on my website. Does it matter? I don’t think so. The key really is to set parameters and rules through a style guide so that there is a form of uniformity and consistency throughout all your marketing materials.
Next I work on the fonts & typography
I take the time to select specific fonts that I want people to recognize and associate with the brand. It is important to not outright copy another brands font style to the tee…Even if you are inspired by another brands color palette, fonts etc DO NOT BE A COPYCAT…grrrr!
The following are “extra’s” and “add-on’s” that can certainly spice up your brand.
I like to choose a distinctive photography style
If you notice, my photos also resemble my mood board. You can see the blacks and whites. You can also see the pops of color.
These photos where actually shot in my office which is also decorated according to my color palette.
You don’t have to do this buuuuuuuuut I chose to. Not all my pictures are pink and colorful buuuttt I generally like to stick to my aesthetic style which I developed earlier from my mood board.
I like to incorporate vector characters or illustrative elements
Your brand may nor may not need character development.
It all depends on the strategy you have put together in your Branding blueprint.
For me, I like to use my characters in my training videos.
Its a great way to turn a boring website management tutorial into a lively presentation that commands more attention and engagement.
How does the Brand style translate?
See for yourself…
Key Take away points:
Would you like the luxury of having your brand Identity developed by a professional brand stylist?
Get in contact right away and I or someone on my team will send you our complimentary information kit and also schedule an introductory consultation to see how we vibe and if our pricing structure is within your budget.
Listen love….I hope this post was informative? helpful? Cool?
Do you #TotallyLovette? If so, please share this! Post it on your Facebook. Pin it on Pinterest. Email it to someone.
The more people love and share my posts, the more exciting it is to keep creating them.
I’ll be sharing more strategies in future posts.
Until then, I’m sending all my love…
Don’t forget to Love your life each day..learn to create a solid daily routine and take it one step at a time.
Practice excellence each day and soon you’ll be an unstoppable force!
Cheers to your success
(p.s…If you want me and my team to work on your next design project, I’ve got you covered!Simply reach out with all the details.)