The Brand Design Identity Process: Website Edition
April 13, 2021

Today, we’re talking about the brand identity design process. This is the “2021 Edition,” the newest one, full effect. I’m gonna be breaking down why it’s important to have an identity and how to cultivate one for your web design brand or for your clients.

First things first: why do you need a brand identity? One, a brand identity looks like this:

It’s an amazing way to showcase your brand and have continuity across the board—whether it’s social media, letterheads, billboards. Whatever you have to create that continuity. And what that does is make your brand, give it perceived value.

It gives it perceived value because you have that consistency, and you’ll look at that as a premium brand because you have all these assets that are consistent in regards to color palette, design, look and view.

Also, if you think about it, it creates a trust between you and the client, right? When you have that consistency across the board, they can tell that you’re putting a lot of emphasis and work into your design. So then they know that they’re getting a great product when they’re collaborating with you.

Lastly, it builds and maintains loyalty. So when you have that loyalty and that continuity across the board, when the customer sees your color palette, they see your branding, they know they have a trustworthy brand that they can work with.

The Breakdown

So, one, I’m gonna show you a few brand identities that we’ve done, and the way that we get that process going. I’m also going to supply you with our kind of step-by-step process in which we develop and create these designs. 

The great thing about this is that you don’t necessarily have to have a design background to be able to leverage this, because you can always hire amazing designers. But you have to make sure that you give them a process to work from.

So let’s go ahead and dive in. I’m gonna open my computer and screen share, and we’re gonna get this done.

1. Job Template

First thing I’ll start with is by showing you our job template. Now, this is a Google Sheet—very simple and effective in regards to building out your brand identity. And so everything in green is kinda part of our branding-slash-UI/UX design process.

So, I’m gonna kind of break this down for you. So, I’m gonna skip all this Client Onboarding and Prospect stuff. I’m going straight into the guts of it: Brand Discovery.

So what we like to do is capture initial info. So we’ll create a logo board, create a mood board, and add those items to Asana. So that way, we have all these resources that we can gift to our designers.

So instead of going to our designer saying, “Hey, can you make this for us” or “Design a logo”, they have a brand discovery document—which I’ll go over in a few. They have a mood board and an art board, so they can see the kind of design and aesthetics that we’re going for. And this gives them an overview of how we want this design to be laid out.

So, let’s go ahead and walk through that process.

2. Brand Discovery

So, the first thing we do is the brand discovery. This is about an hour’s session where we talk about the brand and break it down with the client. 

So you might talk about the brand name, the url, and then we ask vetting questions like, “What services do you provide? Tell us a little bit about your brand. What’s your vision, your core values?” These are the things that will help resonate and help us create a brand that coincides with the consumer they’re looking to target.

Also, we talk about some of the brands that they love, because you could always borrow from great brands that are doing the right thing in your vertical. You’re not necessarily copying, but you’re looking to them for motivation and inspiration when you’re creating the design. 

Some other questions might be, you know, “What’s your USP? What’s your unique selling proposition that differentiates you from the competition?” We also talk about target buyer, target audience. 

And so the brand discovery is basically like a mind dome that you perform with the client to capture all this information, all this data, when you’re going in to design your logo.

Go to Dribble for Logo Concepts

What I also like to do is show them some kind of logo concepts. I’ll literally go to Dribble—and this is a fun concept—while you’re on a call with a client, you can go to Dribble, look up logos and say, “Hey, which of these logos and designs stand out to you?” 

Literally go to Dribble, hit Branding, and instead of Following, you can go to Popular and it’ll show you popular logos and designs that resonate with folks.

This is gonna help you, in turn, create your Mood Board, right? For your designer. ‘Cause your designer’s gonna say, “Okay, well, if you like this type of aesthetic, that means that we can replicate this across the board with what we’re doing with these logo designs.”

So this is a great way to give your designer ammunition, right? So then they’ll be able to shoot that “logo gun” (I know that’s corny, but please bear with me, guys). But ultimately, giving them all these assets that they can use later on.

So back to the Job Template, you’re gonna perform that Brand Discovery Session with a whole bunch of questions like this that gives them details and specifics on how you want that brand to be.

Create a Mood Board

Now, you can create your Logo or Mood Board. Now, here’s an example. We like to use Figma, or you can use a tool called Markup, where you literally take screenshots of a website, put them in a document, and then you’re going to give this link to your designer. Then they’re going to design and create your brand identity for your customers.

So, with that being said, here’s one we’re working for with a client, you can see the ads and screenshots here. We’re looking for a dark, clean, kind of text-centric look. So what I’ll do is I’ll add these in, but then I’ll also add comments.

So if you push this comment button here, you can see that I added here, “Great typography and LOVE gradient use here”, right? You’ll also see something like, “Great image use,” right? This is a really great image that they used here in regards to the design.

“Love the gradient over text”. So you’re giving the designer all these assets and things that they’ll be able to use. We also like to do logo art boards for inspiration, as well.

Logo Art Boards

Let me show you an example here, so you can kinda get an idea. We’ll do an art board like this, for logos also. So you can do it for web designs, for logo designs, and you’re creating a repository for the designer to go ahead and reference and be able to use.

So, in this case, I have logos because we were doing a logo design for a client. And you can see some of my comments here, like “Great color palette”, “Great in color and inverted”, right? This is a logo that’s great on both ends.

And then the result becomes something like this, where you have designs that are distinct, that are appealing, and that work really well for the client. So you can see me taking some of those inspirations and use them in that logo design.

So moving back to the job template—and again, this is just a list that we follow, that we use in Asana to make sure that we’re tracking all our efforts. Now, with the brand discovery done, I can be able to give the brand discovery, the logo art board, the mood board, and everything that the designer would need to make a really great asset for the customer.

3. Brand Guidelines

Now, once the brand discovery’s done—remember, that’s the brain dome: that’s where we’re dumping all this information or data into this doc. Then you’re going to create a brand guidelines doc. And this is a document that you’re gonna use to create your brand identity, so this is crucial to the process.

And the way that you create this brand guidelines doc is via the brand discovery. You’re taking all this information—all this mind dome info—and you’re organizing it into a document like this. We have the brand name here, we have the tagline, we have, of course, an Introduction about the brand, About, the Vision, the Core Services & Targeting, we talk about Tone, Location. 

These are the primary things you need for your brand identity. This is it, you don’t need a ton, these are the main components. I’ll go over them again: Introduction, About, Vision, Core Services & Targeting, the overall Tone, Location—and then we just put additional info here for when we’re creating the brand assets, like social media collateral, business cards, and so forth.

And so, what this turned into is, now we have a logo, right? The designer has an idea of what we’re looking for. Now, once the logo is approved by the client, we provide the designer with this brand guidelines doc and info.

4. Brand Identity

And what they do is they turn this into this:

And now we have a brand identity, ‘cause now what’s gonna happen is when they look at that brand guideline doc, they already have a logo, they already have a color palette, they already have an overall typography. So now, it’s gonna be really easy for them to create this brand identity.

So this is an exact replica of this text-based content. And we usually go over this with the client so we can get approval prior to designing out the brand identity. 

All right, so this is what the brand identity looks like. You most likely have an Introduction, About, the Vision & Core Service and Targeting, Tone, Brand Mark. 

So, as you can see, this is pretty much the same layout as the document here. So you can see Core Services and Targeting, and if I go here, you can see Core Services and Targeting—we have the Target Demographics and we have the Target Beneficiaries, as well. 

So it’s, essentially, taking all that information, all the details that you’ve gone through and created for the brand, and translating that into a document like this that you can showcase to the client. 

And now, what’s great about having a brand identity is, you can leverage this in your website design. Now, when you’re working with the designer or developer, they have an overall aesthetic and they understand details of what you’re looking for.

5. Recap

So, to go back here, we have been approved, we have the brand guidelines doc. And now our designer starts to work on additional assets, like the Open Graph Image, Favicon, Webclip, all that good stuff. And that’s pretty much the brand identity process.

So, to break it down for you, in recap: we start with the brand discovery—about an hour’s session, where you’re asking questions to the client and gathering as much data and information as you can. And then you walk through the process of getting all those assets and information for your designer, pass it over to your designer. They’re going to go ahead and execute it at high level, because now they have all the details that they need, and then they’ll go ahead and output that brand identity.

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