Fast Company challenged Moving Brands to develop a new identity for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Sounds like a reasonable challenge. The twist? They only had five days. What followed was a streamlined design process resulting in a solid brand and identity system. If you are embarking on your own branding or rebranding project, Moving Brands’ design process can be adapted to your company and your needs.
Step 1. Get to know your client
Their process begins with client research. We’ve written before about the importance of personas in web design and how having solid personas can help eCommerce companies better tailor their experience to their target audience. Harvard Business Review posted an article on empathetic product design that also focused heavily on user observation for their research. Persona research is also helpful when branding your company. Creating a persona for your company will help you better understand how you want to portray yourself. What does your company stand for? How is it different from the competition?
Step 2. Research and form a point of view
The next step, forming a point of view, connects with your persona, and helps to further differentiate and stress your company’s unique offering. Are you forward thinking? Reliable? Trustworthy? All of the above?
Step 3. Define the Brand Story
Now that a unique point of view has been established, Moving Brands moves on to defining the brand story. This step helps create a strong emotional connection between the brand and consumers. Essentially, this step helps your customers understand why they should care about you. Does your company have an inspiring history? Are you dedicated to giving back to your community? The American Marketing Association has great suggestions for building a brand story over on their blog.
Step 4. Decide on a Name
Next up is selecting a name. If you are rebranding, you might be sticking with the same name, but this is still a good time to get some insights into your company name. Where did the name come from? Why was it chosen? Answering these questions can help provide background details to your work from the earlier steps and can shape the direction of the rebrand.
Is your current name working for your company? Does it resonate with your employees and customers? Moving Brands recognized a key differentiator in their Hillary Clinton Campaign redesign, “Everyone in the studio was referring to her as Hillary… It’s a huge and rare advantage to be on a first name basis with America.” Is there a portion of your company name that isn’t working or that your customers typically omit? For example, we are in the process of moving from Briteskies.com to Briteskies, as the .com portion of the name in the logo is no longer critical for the brand.
Step 5+. The Visual Brand
Lastly, after the research and strategy work, Moving Brands continued on to the visual component of the Hillary brand. They worked to push past the expected patriotic color scheme and also tried to keep the palette gender neutral. Color theory is important when developing a brand. Check out Fast Company’s post on using color in your logo for more guidance.
Next up came selecting photography and outlining imagery guidelines. Anyone who has spent any time on stock photo websites knows the unique challenges of finding the perfect image that conveys the right message and doesn’t look distinctly like stock photography. This is almost an impossible task. Using your own photography or hiring a photographer provides the most flexibility but can be less cost effective than purchasing or searching for free (and legal) images online. Buffer has a good list of free photography sites that fall under Creative Commons and/or Public Domain licensing.
Moving Brands moved away from a traditional “logo” for their Hillary campaign, instead focusing on creating a cohesive visual system to help share Hillary’s story. According to creative director Aki Shelton, “Brand is about story, aligned touch points, and how you connect with your audience.”
We hope you can take these ideas and strengthen your connection with your audience.
Need help telling your story? Contact us to get started.
Design Bonus: shortcuts for hand drawn type