First, Don’t Take Shortcuts. Especially in the Beginning
Each decision you make during a rebranding effort has a larger impact than the one that follows, all the way back to the decision to rebrand in the first place. For instance, deciding upon a single core value – a foundation of a new brand – has more enduring impact than a new business card design that may have a shelf life of no more than a year.
So although the idea of creating a new piece of print collateral is exciting, shortcuts on early core decisions compromise the long-term goals of both you and your organization. Do the research, don’t be afraid to speak up in a brainstorm, sketch like a madman, and never hesitate to tackle the dirty work. Believe me: being bold about big choices will make everything else easier throughout the process.
Know Your Users and Know Yourselves
Before we began to brainstorm or search for design inspiration for the rebrand of 352, we had to find out who we really were as a brand.
Rather than asking how we wanted to be perceived by our customers and peers, we asked ourselves, “Who are we? How do our people view the world? What are we passionate about?”
In the process of answering those questions, we found an honest, thorough answer to “How do we want people to perceive us?” Once we had our vision, we collaborated to create a Brand Persona which took everything we knew about our new brand on paper and turned it into a personality. Just like a person, our brand has its own attributes:
- Open to change, but makes a well thought-out decision.
- Funny, but not over the top.
- Smart and clever, but equally humble.
- Confident, without cockiness.
Setting these declarations for our brand allowed us to constantly revisit them throughout the process and determine if every decision regarding design and content met these standards. It also provided the entire branding team with a refined vision of the company to check ideas against.
Sketch Like a Madman
Once we moved through our initial research, I was able to sketch out some ideas. Sketching should be seen as visual brainstorming. So, like brainstorming, you’re probably not going to land your winner in the first 3 sketches or so. But, those initial sketches will eventually lead to something great down the line. So sketch a lot. Then, when you’re tired of sketching, sketch some more.
I filled nearly 30 pages with sketches during the months of our rebranding. There were plenty of ideas that seemed promising on paper, but once I scanned and traced them in the digital environment, they simply didn’t work out. With an iterative process like logo design, it’s crucial to be prepared to take a few steps back if a particular element doesn’t meet your standard of design.
It can be extremely stressful having to go back to pencil and paper, but your intuition is there for a reason – stick to your guns, and it’ll all work out.
It should go without question that constant collaboration is a necessity in a rebrand and should be present throughout. As any designer knows, staring at a design for hours on end can easily trap you in tunnel vision. So, take a break and send it to someone on your team who can give you honest criticism.
Be Happy With Your Work
If you’ve done the research, pushed enough pixels, and settled for nothing less than awesome, you should be proud of your work.