Branding is about creating an identity for you as an individual, organisation or business. A strong brand identity allows you to connect with your audience and stay in their heads. We’re designers, and we care about how things look (a lot!) but branding isn’t just about aesthetics. Branding is about expressing who you are and what makes you unique.
Scroll down to our process to get a general understanding of our approach to branding. We promise to help you find a visual identity that truly represents you, and the tools to enact it over and over with a bespoke brand tool kit.
This is the locus around which all your branding sits. The OG of brand tool kits, your logo should be strong and unique enough to act as a metonym for your whole enterprise.
Fun fact: the word logo comes from the Greek ‘logotype,’ which translates as ‘word speech.’ In practice, logos are more like ‘picto-word speech,’ but they’re most successful when all syntactic clues are taken away, but the name of the brand still springs immediately to your lips. Think Nike’s tick, McDonald’s M, Apple’s … apple.
As a rule, Studio Lutalica always creates responsive logos, which means we’ll create a range of variations on your logo for different use cases.
Our design team start by designing the main canonical logo for your brand. This is the logo you would use when the logo is the main event (such as in a business directory) and sufficient space allows. From there, we create a series of logos that can be used to different specifications – for example, variations featuring your brand name, simplified versions for tiny icons, black and white versions, as well as alternative colour formations.
During the logo design process, we think about where your logo might be used, as this can have significant implications for design. For example, will it be your Instagram profile picture? Will it be your App logo? Will it feature on products you create? What do these products look like?
Your logo, typography and colour palette are each closely intertwined, so we recommend developing each in tandem for best results.
The tone, selection and number of colours in your brand palette help to create a mood and a defined aesthetic. If you’re a vintage furniture company, for example, we might create a palette of muted tones, suggesting age – or upend convention by using bright neons – or a tasty mix of both!
Heaps of books have been written about colour psychology, as well as the significance of colour in art and culture throughout history. Like everything else in our visual world, colours have the potential to convey meaning and build connections – between people and things.
Crucially, we consider accessibility as much as colour psychology and aesthetics. For your website, social channels and other comms to function, they need to be legible. If your audience can’t easily understand what you’re putting out there, you’re limiting yourself to gimmicks.
You may not have thought much about it before, but the degree of contrast between colours has a major impact on readability. Colour contrast is especially important on digital platforms, as the eye is already strained, but it is a key consideration for print and editorial design as well. Accessibility guidelines always inform our approach to colour selection. We make a point of checking our designs against the official WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).
Current guidance recommends a 4.5:1 level of contrast between background and small text, and a 3:1 level of contrast between background and big, bold headlines. There is also research to suggest that particular colours and colour pallets affect people with different access needs in different ways. For example, some dementia sufferers find solid black incredibly off-putting as it can be perceived as a recess; as a hole (Alzheimer’s Society, 2023). While some people with autism find stark contrasts and jarring palettes overstimulating and anxiety-inducing (National Autism Society, 2023). That’s why we consider your end user and their needs, at every stage of the design process.
Typography is a field of design in its own right and we are huge typography geeks. As well as giving an immediate sense of your brand identity, there are important accessibility and practical considerations when it comes to your brand fonts.
If you’re looking for a font that is bold and unique, to help with brand recognition, we may look into sourcing a custom font for you. Custom fonts can help you stand out in a crowded market, which is key to branding and marketing. However, custom fonts also tend to come with licencing rules that you’ll need to factor into your budget.
To find out whether a custom font is right for you, we’ll ask about the platforms you use, and the number of people who will be applying your branding, as all of this can affect font selection. For example, if you create a lot of Google Slides presentations, we might recommend forgoing the benefits of using a custom font in favour of a compatible Google font which will be readily available throughout the Google suite. Equally, if your branding is primarily going to be used by a limited number of people on custom designs, such as your website and in print, a custom font could be the way to go.
As with the rest of this brand kit, we won’t simply pick your fonts and send you on your way. We’ll create a document with rulesets, defining your typographic style.
People tend to take in images before they read text. The size, type and placement of images can completely change the look and feel of a document. We’ll work with you to find out what kinds of images you might already have available, and how much capacity you’ll have to generate images over time. For example, if you have ready access to high-quality photos and videos, we’ll build these into your brand guidelines.
Sometimes a client will come to us with a desire for more imagery, but for a variety of reasons (eg. lack of time, money or due to the sensitive nature of their service) don’t have the capacity to generate relevant photography.
In such cases, we may create or advise on illustrations and other graphic elements to create visual interest and build a visual identity that is not reliant upon photography. Original illustrations and graphic elements come with a wide range of other benefits, including broadening the scope of your visual identity and enabling you to represent difficult subjects and vulnerable groups more sensitively.
By graphic elements, we don’t just mean illustrative media: as you can see from our work London Youth Gateway, graphic elements might also be shapes, lines and other visual motifs that appear at different points in your branding to create visual interest and an overall tone.
How do you speak to your audience? This says a whole lot about who you are as a brand. Some clients come to us with a vague idea of what their tone of voice is, but the specifics of this may differ between team members, resulting in a miss-match between, or within, different platforms.
Discovering how you want to be perceived by your audience; how you want to make them feel and respond is the first step we take towards creating your tone of voice guidelines. Then our copywriters lay out practical steps to help you and your team convey this in your communications.
The way you speak on a mass communication level, particularly on your website and social media platforms, is a key part of connecting with your audience in the digital world. Every email and tweet is a chance to put across who you are and what you stand for.
The way you communicate one-on-one has a huge impact on the relationships you have with customers, clients, readers and … basically anyone with whom you come into contact! That’s why we need to understand who will be using your tone of voice guidelines before we generate them. Is this just for you or a small number of external communicators who are creating mass communication assets? Do you have a whole customer service team for whom tone of voice guidelines will form a significant part of their training? Whatever your needs, we’ll create useable documents for you to create a strong TOV across platforms.
We begin with a discovery process to help us get to the core of your ethos.
We need to understand exactly who you are and what makes your brand unique, so we can develop a visual identity that will convey that in a competitive market. We’ll send over some discovery questions to get your creative choices flowing and then invite you to an interactive workshop, where we’ll tease things out further. Following the workshop, our branding team will send over a series of moodboards to give you a flavour of the different directions that the project could go. Take your time to look over these and don’t be shy about giving us feedback.
We create initial visual concepts.
Our team will use everything we’ve learnt to create initial concepts for your re-brand. Usually, we begin with iterations of a logo, colour palette and typography, and move on to graphic elements, photography, frames, etc. as appropriate. At every stage of the branding process, we’ll ensure that the visuals properly communicate who your organisation is and what you stand for.
We iterate and refine, based on your feedback.
We’ll touch base with you as we develop and refine the branding deliverables, factoring in your comments, concerns and suggestions, to ensure you’re as happy with the final product as we are.
We deliver your Brand Guidelines.
Our branding process concludes with the delivery of a comprehensive Brand Guidelines Document. Here, we’ll clearly lay out all of the information you need to apply your branding across your website, print and digital assets, presentations, social media, and so on. Depending on the project scope, the final document will include:
- Responsive Logo: A guide on how to best apply your new logo, which will have a few variations, so you can select the best format, depending on size and context.
- Colour Palette: A flexible colour palette and guidelines on how to use it.
- Typography: Selection of typefaces and how to use them.
- Brand Assets: A set of visual/graphic elements to use across digital and print.
- Tone of Voice: A guideline that defines a clear tone of voice for your brand.