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12 MIN

Step by Step: How to Design a Brand

Jessica Kramer

July 21, 2021

About The Author
Jessica Kramer
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Hi my name is Jessica K and I'm a writer for Servicelist. I've been writing freelance for several years.

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Building and designing your brand can become a tedious process. Something as minute as choosing colors and fonts are essential in the overall brand design. It’s unclear HOW LONG the branding process takes. But, Top Hat, an agency, reveals that it can take up to three months. In some cases, it can take even more time to design a brand. However, you won’t be alone in this endeavor.

Read more below and know why your business should have a solid and established identity. Plus, how you can create a brand design that will make your target audience flock to you.

What is a Brand Identity?

Ever wonder how Nike, McDonald’s, and Apple have become known and trusted household names? They have a strong brand identity that helps them connect with their target audience. Plus, they have products or services that customers can rely on and prefer to purchase, getting them ahead of the competition.

Granted, they have cultivated their brand from the ground up, and they’re way ahead of small businesses and new ones. But even if you’ve entered the market late, you won’t be overlooked if you have a strong brand identity.

Hence, learning from them will give you an idea of creating a brand identity and eventually how to design a brand. Before we get to the nitty-gritty of it, let’s understand what makes up a brand identity.

So what are elements of a brand identity?

And with those elements in mind, that’s the definition of brand identity as well. It’s your business’ visual and outward appearance. It’s the image you present to the public, and every business SHOULD have one before you launch it.

Having covered the basics of brand identity, how do you design a brand?

How to Design a Brand?

This is where you create all the elements we listed beforehand. It may seem easy to identify these things, but in truth, it takes time. After all, you want a solid and established brand identity and don’t want to rush into this. Let’s go through this one by one.

Step 1: Research

The first step in the brand identity process is researching. Here’s where you might dedicate some time to find out what would be part of your brand’s overall identity.

The fundamental thing to remember in your brand identity process is to identify the following:

With thorough research of these things, you can start identifying your brand’s key elements, such as typography, colors, illustrations, and more. It would serve as the basis of your design brief when finding a designer that meets your visual requirements.

Step 2: Find a Designer

Once you identify your brand design basics, finding a designer should be your next step. While you want to go at it alone or with your partners or team, a designer will make your brand design official and look more professional. Besides, you don’t want to waste time focusing on design, when other vital matters in your business also need tending. That’s why a designer would be glad to take the design work for you.

You want to select a designer that will match the aesthetic you’re going for. In addition, just because a designer or company is affordable doesn’t mean they will provide you with an excellent brand design.

It’s good that most design companies or freelance designers would have a portfolio ready before you hire them. Upon seeing their work, you can narrow down your choices and prepare a design brief that you would submit to a designer.

Step 3: Start The Logo Design

You’re probably thinking, why should we have the logo design first? In every graphic design material or visual, you’ll notice one detail: the company logo. It’s the essential part of your brand. Plus, with this, you can set things in motion once the logo is done.

At this stage, you should prepare your design references, colors, and fonts. Your designer will create drafts based on your logo design preferences. Consider the idea that you might need bespoke fonts and icons based on your logo. In this case, there would be an overlap of the creation of other brand design components.

As with other stages in the brand identity process, this could also take time. But once finished, you can work on branding other materials, which brings you closer to the finish line.

Step 4: Incorporate Main Brand Elements into Materials and Graphics

Now that you have your essential design elements down, it’s time to apply them to your materials or graphics. Some graphics that you might need are:

While this is another time-consuming step, rest assured, it’s much easier considering that you have the basics covered. And to ensure that after finishing this project with your designer or design service, there’s one more thing you need before finalizing your brand identity: develop a brand guideline.

Step 5: Create a Brand Style Guide or Visual Identity

To make your brand design consistent across different platforms and websites, a brand style guide or visual identity will reinforce your branding online and offline. 

Without this handy guide, your brand could be all over the place. And your brand designer can assist you in this step on how to design a brand. Once finalized, you can move forward in producing materials that will make your branding consistent across the board.

Companies with a Great Brand Design

Now that we’ve covered the steps on how to design a brand let’s take a look at big names or companies that have been successful in their brand design.

Apple


Simplicity is at the heart of Apple’s overall brand design. You’ll see it in their logo instantly. But you don’t only see minimalism in their logo; their advertisements and landing pages follow the same philosophy. You’ll notice their product is always center stage, with the copy or text being the supporting character. 

Audi


Audi is one of the many luxury car companies in the world. But, their brand design gives them an edge as to how they present their image to their target audience. There’s a certain sophistication to most of their branded materials, such as ads, newsletters, and posters. Plus, they’re particular about how they want to present these visuals to ensure consistency across different media and visual communication.

Coca-Cola


When you think of a sweet carbonated drink, what comes to mind? Isn’t it Coca-Cola’s sugary fizzy drink? Aside from the saccharine beverage, it’s also Coca-Cola's signature bottle and wordmark script logo that pops into your brain. It’s just two elements of the overall brand identity, but it has a strong retention quality that it’s ingrained in our minds for a long time.

Starbucks


Even if you may not like the coffee brand, you have to admit that Starbucks is easily recognizable anywhere. Not only does the logo play a huge role in brand recognition, but they have specific brand colors per season, which are present in their merchandise and Starbucks card. Plus, sometimes you can spot a Starbucks cup from a mile away.

Headspace


The meditation app’s brand design is one to consider when creating a consistent brand design. When you see Headspace on any digital platform, visitors or followers are greeted with bright colors and big text. Speaking of text, they use a sans serif font, which indicates being approachable and casual. And that’s how many perceive Headspace is as a meditation app.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find a designer to design my brand identity?

Lucky for you, you have various options to hire a designer that will create a strong brand identity for your company. Here are your options:


Unlimited Graphic Design Services

The cost of designing a brand can have a hefty price. And if you need to save on costs (and time), then an unlimited graphic design service is the best option for you. These services charge a flat monthly rate, allowing you to save on hourly or weekly payments. Plus, you can be sure that designers will be available to work on your branding project.

Click here for the list of the best unlimited graphic design services. Plus, get exclusive discounts when you subscribe to any of them.


Freelance Sites

One of the most obvious (and affordable) options is going on freelance sites. Over thousands of designers are ready to take on your brand identity design. You can hire freelancers on Fiverr or Upwork. But you may need to dedicate some time to find the best designer as most of them are not vetted. Plus, they might charge per project or visual material, which would be much more costly.


Agencies

Branding agencies, in particular, are masters in building your brand from scratch. You can be sure experts will be meticulous in every part of the branding design process. Their expertise, however, comes with its extensive client base, project demands, and steep fees. But, if you’re short on time and need things done at half the cost, you may have to reconsider your options and put off working with an agency at a later time.

Can I Get a Logo for Free?

Yes, you can get a logo for free. But there’s a catch.

In most instances, DIY graphic design services will use an AI to show you templates of logo designs that match your preferences. As alluring as the word free sounds, it’s going to cost you more in the long run. 

After all, other businesses may opt for the DIY graphic design service because it’s much more affordable and won’t break the bank. And it’s possible the design you select would be something your competitor has also liked and chosen. 

Not to scare you or anything, but copyright-wise, you could run into some trouble, considering you and some other businesses would have similar-looking logos. That’s why it’s more costly to get a logo for free.

But if you intend to get a logo for free and from scratch, you might need to follow some expert graphic design tips. This might not make you a design expert overnight, BUT it helps to get into the mindset of a graphic designer.

If you want a designer to work on your logo, your best options are still to use unlimited graphic design services or companies. Or you can hire a freelance logo designer to bring logo vision to life.