As mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, my portfolio professor referred to me as a “logo/branding guy”. This was the exact clarity and positive reinforcement I needed. So when it came to selecting a webinar to watch, I knew Paper Specs’ 5 Essential Tips for Developing a Brand would speak to me the most.
The speaker was gentleman by the name of Christopher Simmons of MINE, a San Francisco based graphic design/branding firm. Simmons began his discussion with a cylindrical, tier based system, detailing some of the key components of successful branding. These four components are leadership, people, product, and design. Although product/design may account for half, it’s the other half that’s just as important.
It’s so easy to become immersed in design alone, that sometimes us designers forget the human component. While the outside layer is represents design, the two innermost layers are leadership and people. A successful design is what the world sees, but behind it is a team of unique individuals under strong leadership.
Simmons also discussed the importance of starting with a logo. ” For most small businesses, and even some larger businesses, we and try and start with the logo because it’s the most tangible thing”. As someone who particularly enjoys the logo creating process, my ears perked up at this part. This segued into Simmons next point of always presenting a logo in black and white first, then developing the color later.
When color is added prematurely to logo ideas, it’s possible that the client may make a selection solely based on color. “We don’t want there to be any influence between a logo thats red and a logo’s that blue, and have the client pick the blue one because they prefer blue over red”. This tactic is a simple way to ensure a logo receives the right analysis from a client.
Probably one of Simmons’ best points, was his explanation of designing across media. Just because there is a successful logo, does not mean that the brand will also succeed. Simmons explained that besides the traditional media like print and web, there are non- tangible forms such as company attitude and personality. “Every time you have any interaction with the brand on any level, it should be deliberate. Not overly designed, not overly controlled, but really conscious”.