Hello everybody! This has been a very exciting year for us at Yellow Studio. Reviewing & renewing our brand and corporate identity about a year ago has been a daring but wonderful adventure!
The studio was founded in 2011. Last July we decided to take the big step and rebrand, creating for ourselves a new, strong identity. With new people on the team, and our services varying from graphic to interior design, animation, photography and marketing, we had to rethink what would represent us all and -of course- a way to reposition us on the market.
So here’s the story of how we did it (or a few notes on rebranding)!
Rebranding is the creation of a new visual and social identity for a business or a product by effectuating a partial or complete change of name, logotype design, products and/or a new marketing strategy that addresses a new social community.
Why do companies rebrand?
Rebranding is important to small companies and big corporations equally, under specific circumstances, such us evolution (changes in ownership, leadership or size and reach of the business), internationalization (entering new markets), need to reposition the brand on the market (renewed line of products, change in target niche, bad or no reputation etc) or simply differentiation (stand out from the crowd).
The most important tool: Briefing
The first step was filling in our own brand design briefing questionnaire, an 8-page long working tool we always ask our clients to fill in. It consists of a list of questions about both the client and the project, and it helps us understand the characteristics we need to take into consideration before we start designing the brand’s identity. These questions provide information on the product or service the client is offering, the target group they are aiming for, their style preferences etc..
This is one of the most important (if not THE most important) parts of the whole procedure of creating a brand’s identity. A detailed briefing can save you from a lot: misunderstandings, hours of reviewing and correcting, problems in communicating with the client, etc.. Knowledge is power!
It also helps you get an insight on whether you really want to work with this specific client or not (I know sometimes you cannot afford to say no to a client, but believe me, it’s always a good thing to do when you see from the beginning it’s not going to work smoothly). It’s generally a good idea to use a printed questionnaire for your brand design briefing, give it to your client to take home, sit down, think and fill it in. It always makes things clearer for him/ her and helps them understand better what they are looking for.
In a nutshell, in order to successfully rebrand your business you need to:
- Know the story of your brand. Who is your audience, what makes them resonate with a product?
- Analyze your current branding in the circumstances of your market. How the consumers view your current brand, what they expect from you and how the market is changing in order to change with it not the other way.
In our case, filling in the briefing document took us quite a long time. It’s always more complicated when you are both the client and the designer. When we were happy with our answers, we finally moved to the next step:
The mood-board is a graphic representation (a collage of images or sketches) that best describes the idea behind the brand. It is one of the most difficult, but also the most creative of processes.
A creative interpretation of the briefing questionnaire, the mood-board’s intention is to explain feeling through images.
With a background in architecture, I’m used to expressing thoughts and feelings with images. For me personally, it’s a way to take notes without writing words down. It doesn’t really matter where the images come from: this is a private tool (one that you normally never publish or even show your client) and you can use any material available to you found online or from magazines, books, sketches, etc.
After finishing with the analysis of the brand´s goals with both words and images, we start sketching different ideas for the logo. It is very important for us to start this process with pencil/ pen and paper before concluding on a specific design and creating the digital and final archive in Illustrator. We always make sure that the final design works perfectly with bright and dark backgrounds by either choosing a colour that works well with everything or creating the logo´s negative.
There is no brand without an official logo and a carefully designed visual identity. This is the starting point whether the business is rebranding or starting their first branding process.
For our brand, I chose to create a graphic logo, one that has a yellow background and no transparency behind the name. Using a strong background for your logo (in our case the talk bubble) gives the advantage of use at all sizes as a trademark, or a “stamp”.
Corporate identity manual
Once the main visual representation (logotype) is fixed, we start working on the brand´s identity manual.
The manual is a corporate identity management tool that contains guidelines for the correct application of the brand´s identity.
Briefing and mood-board at hand, we start building the corporate identity manual by choosing the right colours to be associated with the brand, the fonts, sign and banner design, avatars, visual content strategy and everything else that may be associated with the visual identity.
We hope we´ve helped explain what the rebrand procedure is like. For us, taking the decision and flipping to a new, colourful page has been nothing but a great success.
If you feel like a change is needed for your brand, make sure you have the time to plan it carefully. We would advise you to ask for the help of specialists. We strongly believe it´s worth the investment, considering the impulse that a good rebrand can create for your business.
The only important thing to be remembered is Consistency! Visual content needs to be consistent with the brand´s story at all times and at all locations.
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