Write the worst brand identity anyone has ever written
Take it from the king of shitty first drafts— no one ever has to know.
Our previous series post identified three objectives for your logo design project. You can read that post first for more context if you're just joining us.
Today, we'll discuss how to identify some key aspects of your business's "brand identity" so you can offer some guidance to your logo designer.
Your brand's identity before the logo design
Listen, you really should write up some thoughts on your brand's identity and purpose. It'll save you time, stress, and maybe even some cash. At a minimum, you'll need to share what your business does, what it sells, and a couple matters of tone and vibe to your logo designer (and everyone else for the rest of your life).
I know, I know. Sitting down to a blank computer screen, expecting to make a wholly remarkable brand out of thin air, is not what dreams are made of. I'll let you off the hook a bit and tell you that you won't get it right the first time. Hell, you probably won't get it right the fifth time. I sure didn't. But you have to start somewhere, sometime. How about right here and now with something small?
Let's take 30 minutes and get that first drivel out of the way. You'll likely learn something about your business you didn't know before. And when your designer asks you their discovery questions, you won't have to start with a blank screen.
I took the liberty of writing out some fun prompts that'll help you gain insight into your business without dying of boredom.
Answer the following questions as sloppily and long-winded as you can make it:
The most annoying family member just cornered you at a holiday dinner and asked, "So, what does your company do?" How do you respond truthfully without encouraging follow-up questions?
The New York Transit Authority called. You just won a free advertisement on the E train. How serious is your ad's tone on a scale from Vitamin Water to the CDC?
Follow up: Which typeface do you use? Times New Roman, Helvetica, or something fun like Lobster?
Side note: don't use lobster font for your logo. This is just an exercise, you weirdo.
You're setting your business up on a blind date (stay with me). What companies do you think your business would be into?
Now you need to buy your business an outfit for its date. Would you shop in the men's or women's department? Or something more androgynous?
Oprah called. She will buy one of every service or product you offer on grand opening day. Write out a list for her.
Write some thoughts down. Set it aside. Come back with fresh eyes and start a new draft.
This article was initially going to outline a few core concepts that will meet the three objectives from the previous post. A thousand words in, I realized that the entire series is about meeting those three objectives. Isolating a few concepts into a single article became increasingly difficult. I kept adding sections until I was dipping into future posts I've outlined. So, I backed up a bit and limited this post to a single concept— communication.
Conceptually, communicating clearly to your stakeholders is the best way to meet any objective. In the matter of logo design, that would be to your designer. Most experienced graphic designers will ask a client some discovery questions. These questions are designed to help them understand your needs, wants, and sensibilities toward design.
The longer you have to mull over the answers, the better you will be at communicating your vision.
Later in the series, we'll discuss the various logo "types" and why you can choose any one so long as it's the one I recommend.