The 10 Minute Brand Design Guide

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I recently decided to go through my archives to put together a collection of what I thought were some of the best brands I've designed with the hope of documenting my process.

I'm going to do it by quickly taking you through designing a brand identity for a hypothetical blog called "Human readable".

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When designing any brand start with the firm belief that it's ground zero. Everything else about your product, business, company or person is built around the brand.

A brand is a lot of things, but it's primarily made of your logo or logotype, so I'll focus on that.

1. Colors and feelings

Start with the core feeling you want to evoke with what the brand represents and use it to define a palette of colors. Gradients of two or more colors can be used to create a wide range of feelings. Just take a look at the array of colors below and the feelings they're supposed to represent. It's tough to disagree.

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On the most part, your choice of color defines a large part of the brand. Then comes shape, typography and general arrangement of things.

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2. Shapes and forms

You can mix and match shapes into elements of your brand to instantly exaggerate certain impressions. Rectangular designs feel more logical and consistent. Circular ones feel friendly and sharp edges create tension.

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I've designed with all sorts of shapes, and on top of that I also like to have some symmetry and experiment with how well the logo fits in different formats - like packages, banners, mugs, letterheads and etc.

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3. Typography

Typography is an extremely important part of your brand. When choosing a typeface for your logo be sure it's legible and recognisable.

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Typography in your brand extends beyond just your logo. The text on your packages, the titles on your website and labels all represent a part of your brand. It's a good idea to choose a consistent primary and complimentary font for these purposes. Google fonts is usually a good place to start.

The right typography gives your brand some personality. So choose carefully.

4. It's not just about the tangible

It's important to recognize that brands are not just about what's tanglible. Your visual identity only goes so far. What makes or breaks a good brand is the overall experience. Every brand start off as an empty shell. It takes time and work to build and associate goodwill, trust, quality and friendliness to it.

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As they say, a good brand for a bad product can ruin ever bit of its meaning. But a good brand for a good product is how you charge $1500 for something that costs $300 to manufacture.

5. Different formats and industries

Brand designing is spread thin across a wide array of industries, formats, and languages. Each needing someone with a proper understanding of your demographic to build the right identity. It's important to do your research. Things like the age of your target audience can have a large impact on how you design for your brand.

Most of my experience has been with tech products for millenials, and my preference has always been to go for clean, modern and simple designs. They're versatile, easier to remember and therefore easier to communicate.

Experiment with different styles and try to get as much feedback as possible from your target audience.

6. They're always a work in progress

Brands are always a work in progress. They evolve and mature with the business. It's tough to define a one-off guide to designing the perfect brand, but it also doesn't have to be perfect. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars to develop your brand. Just start with what you can. As your business grows it'll be much easier to get a sense of which direction your brand should be heading.

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Written by Udara Jay
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