Brandishing a Brand New BRAND BOARD
Updated: Apr 24, 2018
Recently a client came to me jonesin' to take their brand back down to the studs and do an overhaul of the look and feel of their brand. Any Old Task had grown by leaps (and bounds) and they were looking for something just a tad more upscale.
Now for the record, I thought their website was pretty great, but from year one to year three, so much had changed for this small business that they needed their branding to reflect their expanded service offering and their brand maturity as well.
When doing a rebrand, starting with a blank slate or just doing a minor facelift, I start the process off (right, in my opinion) with a comprehensive brand board. It will go through several iterations, which involve the client until we have in our "hands" a visual imprint for the business as it moves forward. A brand board differs from a style guide, as it happens BEFORE we even get out of the gate and start designing all the good stuff that comes as a result of a rebrand.
Seeing the new logo, new colours, new imagery, new typography (new, new, new ... everything) all in one shot is an amazing visual tool for clients, and provides an aesthetic benchmark for everything amazing that will come AFTER.
Following are the individual components of the Brand Board for Any Old Task, with some notes on how we "got there".
Any Old Task had a logo, but again, to reflect the forward momentum and adjusted scope of services of the company in year three, we moved away from a checklist metaphor to a typography driven modern iconic mark.
I always (always!) start my creative process with exploration of a black only logo, and in this case the client was actually leaning towards a muted – possibly B&W – palette, so we were working within those constraints already. Regardless, it is super-duper (mega, very, sooooo) important that a logo always work first in a single colour... black. Colour gets layered in later, once the symbol + mark are firm.
Here as I said we went super classic, iconic and bold. Below are the main and boxed version of the logo. We did stick to the game-plan of black and white, for a modern aesthetic, but read on and you will see that we do get our colour on as well.
The logo was working in black and white (as a good logo should) but for the materials that would follow (website build, lead magnets, corporate identity... and so on) we decided to warm things up ever-so-slightly with some subtle neutrals. The result a five colour palette that can be used selectively, or in its entirety, depending on the medium... and brand mood.
While this evolved later when it came time for the web build, this hero image, with brand typography reflects the voice and energy of Any Old Task. It is useful at this stage to imagine the brand fully alive, and explore possible headlines and images.
Images are the photographic building blocks for the future. The photos should tell a story and adhere to the brand palette. I curate a loose collection of images that would/could be used across all channels for multiple purposes. Searching can become a bit of a "rabbit hole" but a seasoned designer can source on-brand images – that won't break the bank – if stock photography will be starring in much of the collateral.
And now we're back to our gold old friend the logo. For the folks at Any Old Task we created a selection of secondary marks that could be used at the client's discretion. With options up their sleeve, they won't feel boxed in and can with both ease and success sub in a secondary version that is on-brand.
Ahhhh... typography. I love you so. Here we've kept it simple with two font families. Since the first has a fair bit of flourish, its mate is simple, sans serif and modern. The pairing creates visual interest and balance when employed throughout brand materials, and ensure we have a simple readable font for subhead and body type.
No stone left unturned, we even dive as deep as exploring icons for use in web buttons, forms, badges, print collateral and social. The goal: to make certain they "feel like" the rest of the Any Old Task brand elements, for a consistent look and feel... absolutely everywhere.
Because the brand board is created in the very early stages of the rebrand, we play with language and tone to guide the visual process and later inform the copywriting.
Different than images, textures and patterns can be used throughout a website, traditional brochure, training materials, lead magnets (etc) to add depth and interest within the design. Used just-so, they layer in brand ethos across all channels, similar to colour and type. While textures often remain in the background, they need not be shrinking violets.
To say that I enjoy creating a brand board for a client would be a massive understatement. Watching a brand come alive in colour, texture, type, imagery... even pattern is such a satisfying undertaking. Can't help it... I'm a total design nerd.
Not to mention the amazing feeling of a happy client, who now has to hand a powerful design and branding tool to move forward with confidence to create new materials, engage new customers and grow their business even more.