Today I’m going to let you in on a sneak peek into the early stages of the design process.
Keep in mind, because I use a strategy-driven framework, I don’t start designing ANYTHING until a whole lot of juicy foundational work has been done first. Because we want to make sure that the aesthetics and overall feel of a brand support the goals and the strategy.
As I was in a Brand Strategy session with a client yesterday, something came up in our conversation that led me to show them what I’m going to share with you below. See, we’re just wrapping up the deep foundational work for their brand. I haven’t designed anything yet. In fact, I’m just about to compile all of our work into a gorgeous, coherent document called a Brand Brief.
I told my client that inside their Brand Brief I’ll be giving a sneak peek at the direction we’re going to take their brand aesthetic. NOTHING for their brand is designed yet at this point. But a curated visual Brand Board (sometimes called a mood board) is the first glimpse they’ll have showing how their brand will come to life.
So, having done the same juicy foundational work for my own brand, I was able to show my client a little further down the road from where they’re at currently. I showed them my own brand aesthetic and explained how it tied in to all the strategy work I’d done – the same strategy work they’re just completing.
You see, a tiny portion of our strategy work is coming up with brand attributes / tone words. These words are internal. They are not forward-facing in terms of marketing or messaging.
We do some exercises and make a giant list of possible brand attributes and then we prioritize down to the top three. These three words end up being a compass for the visual direction we’ll take things.
My own brand attributes are: Authentic ✨ Lasting ✨ Impactful
The reason I’m telling you all this, is because a brand’s aesthetic (mood, vibe, whatever you want to call it) + color palette should tell the story of these three words. (The color palette should ALSO be grounded in color psychology to help get ahead of what we want your audience to FEEL when they interact with your brand, but that’s another post for another day.) 😉
So I showed my client my own Brand Board:
I then explained how my own brand attributes are woven throughout this “mood” they were seeing.
They became SO EXCITED as they started to connect some dots. We had been talking about how HARD it was to come up with those three magical brand attributes, and my client still wasn’t sure WHY I wanted them to that. So I showed them my own Brand Board so they could get a taste of where that hard, thoughtful work leads.
I told them that in our next step they’ll get to see a curated visual like this for their own brand. The excitement over their project was pushed to a whole new level! And because I’ve done this for a long time, I can tell you that when they see what I come up with they will be EMPOWERED. The first baby step of seeing their vision come to life. The chance to feel their brand before we design their brand.
Because here’s the thing… In the “old school” thought process of designing a logo by itself, detached from deep thinking and strategy, you still can’t tell what the brand will FEEL like. And FEELING is exactly what is going to cause your clients to stick around with you or not. How you make them FEEL. That gut-reaction – the gut-feeling we first have – is always the most powerful.
When you know the people you serve and when you know HOW you are going to serve them, you can then articulate how you want them to FEEL at every touch point when they interact with your brand. Do you see how a logo by itself ends up being pretty meaningless?
A strategy-driven brand is designed with logic to shape a particular feeling, and so that’s why we start there. Once a Brand Board has been established, you would not believe how quickly the logo + collateral come together. No more fussing and stressing about things not “feeling right” because we nail that out of the gate! It’s what makes my job ridiculously fun + rewarding, and it’s what allows my clients to have dream businesses that attract all the right clients.
What does your brand currently *feel* like? Are you attracting the clients you want to be attracting? Are they giving you the reviews you’d hoped they’d give you? If the wrong people are coming to you and you aren’t getting the testimonials you hope to be getting, it all comes down to how you brand is making people FEEL. If you want to explore this further, please read more about what I do or connect with me. Part of MY genius is showing the world YOUR genius in a way that attracts + converts the right clients for you. 😉 Best to you always! ~Lyndsey