Usually our design process is broken down in to the individual elements as listed below.
Depending on the individual client, their brief, and the project in hand, there may be more or less emphasis on some of these elements. While the process set out below specifically refers to identity design, most other design projects would have a broadly similar process.
A design brief
A detailed and focused design brief can be the key to a successful start to a branding project. Sometimes this is provided solely by the client, in other instances we will work with the client to develop a brief. Our involvement in shaping the design brief allows us to better understand our clients requirements, and enable us to deliver the most effective design solution. Our individual creative skills and experience can also help with the overall strategy. The brief will evolve from asking questions, lots of questions such as; where are we now? where do we need to go? It sets out the main aim and specific objectives of the project. The client must value the importance of brand identity.
'Problem solve first - design later'.
Research and analysis
Research is an ongoing element in a project that will continue right through the creative process. Here we carry out current brand analysis, competitor analysis, profiling and intended target markets and audience. The results of this research are invaluable in tailoring the design to your needs and required, both perceived and perceptual. This is also the 'brainstorming' phase - the time for ideas.
Concepts and sketches
This is a phase in the project where all avenues and approaches are explored, many discarded, and some developed past embryonic ideas, into the beginnings of a logo or a brand mark. Much of the work takes place on paper - simple sketches, usually devoid of colour or specific type, just raw ideas.
Concept design development
This is where we take those ideas for development and start to flesh them out, usually on Mac at this stage. With regular in-house critiques, and design meetings this phase will produce the concepts that are to be presented to the client.
At this point a set of more evolved designs is sent to the client in PDF file format. Depending on the size of the project this can be anything from four to twelve individual concepts. Sometimes more. Each concept is normally presented in both positive and reverse versions (ie black on white and white on black), with colour set apart.
Client review and feedback
Final artwork and revisions
Once we get feedback, changes and approval from the client, we will finalise the chosen concept. It is at this stage that the design is 'frozen', and the definitive versions of the logo are established. It is at this point that all elements - form, colour and typography, are defined and strict criteria established to their relationship and usage. This lays the foundation for consistent and correct application of the identity in the future.
File preparation and supply
Once finalised, we create all of the artwork files to be supplied to the client. Adobe Illustrator (.ai) or Encapsulated PostScript (.eps) are the principle print file formats that we provide. The logo will normally be a resolution independent file, which means it can be reproduced at any size without loss in quality. For online, multimedia or inhouse use we usually provide a set of bitmap files (.jpg or .tif). Other file formats can be supplied by arrangement. Delivery is usually on disk (CD or DVD), by FTP or by email.
Brand Guidelines (Identity Manual)
The purpose of identity usage guidelines, commonly called a 'brand manual' is simple enough: it is there to help everyone express your brand correctly and consistently. Whenever your brand appears in print, online or even on TV, a number of key identifiers come into play: logos, taglines, fonts and colors and their positioning, graphical components and their respective uses, even the tone of the communication. By following the guidelines presented in a brand manual, and by simply doing things in a consistent manner, you will communicate your brand and your products in a clear, effective way.
We can where needed produce a set of comprehensive identity usage guidelines tailored to our clients needs. Depending on the size and scope of the project these can be anything from a few to twenty pages plus. Usage guidelines can be supplied electronically in PDF format or as actual printed guidelines.
Implementation and roll-out of identity
As a full service design agency, and in conjunction with like-minded associates and strategic partners we have huge experience dealing with all required aspects of a successful roll-out and brand implementation. We can work with our clients to develop an implementation strategy, and advise them and their suppliers on how best to apply the design across a broad range of media.
We like to stay in touch with our clients and involved in their design strategy, even if that only involves a cup of coffee and a chat. We feel that the relationship between us as designers and the client is critical, and it is in this ongoing partnership that our role as design consultants can increase the effectiveness of the creative work undertaken. Remember design is an asset, and must be looked after and valued like any other company asset.
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