The approach for identity projects includes the four stages of research, creative strategy, design, and implementation.

Research

The scope varies from project to project, but a few things are always examined, such as market conditions with audits on competitors and comparable brands. Details are recorded through a mix of site visits where appropriate and desk research.

Client interviews are used to discover what vision a company has for the next five or ten years. This makes it easier to develop context that futureproofs the work. Interviews also give a better understanding of client design knowledge so things can be explained in the most appropriate way throughout a project.

Uncovering best-practice brands — companies with strong positioning in terms of what they stand for — who are either in the same or a similar sector is another beneficial step toward the right outcome.

Creative strategy

This is essentially about having a plan, and finding logic in what the research uncovers.

The outcome is a creative brief that needs client agreement before moving onto the design. A typical brief includes a business introduction, project objectives, sector context including the various audiences and competitors, and the specific parameters of the desired project outcome.

The brief acts as a framework to ensure that nothing goes wrong in the design interpretation. It’s a benchmark that every decision can be tied back to.

Design

A lot of ideas are considered, but it’s normal that just one or two are presented to the client — never more than three — and it’s rare when clients want to spend more for several ideas. In fact, as the creative strategy has already been approved it often happens that a single design direction is the outcome.

Presentations are crafted using Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, and the work is ultimately shown through a PDF file for discussion. Various mock-up tools are used to share how a logo or identity looks in context, such as on signage, stationery, uniforms, vehicle graphics, etc.

Feedback on how everything aligns with the project goals is necessary, and there’s always scope for revision. When the work is driven by the strategy, there are rarely any major objections.

Implementation

Everything is designed to ensure that implementation (the roll-out of the new identity) is as efficient as possible. For example, if a client has multiple offices around the world then identity guidelines can be prepared for internal distribution, helping to keep a consistent appearance across locations. Or if a brand gallery proves to be a useful tool, but the client doesn’t have the budget for bespoke photography, then a variety of royalty-free images can be sourced. 

Clients are always reminded to get in touch if they’re unsure about implementation, even if it’s many months after the project is complete. Some clients invest in a brand guardian phase where in-house work is reviewed for a number of months post-launch, while other clients choose to have ongoing design help until an internal team is formed.

Questions

For clarification on any aspect of working together, please ask.

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