5 Steps to Creating a Strong Brand Identity

A brand is the essence of all that your work stands for, so every maker and entrepreneur spends a great deal of time to create a good one.

So what makes a good brand? It communicates well, is easy to recall, and represents something bigger than itself. What are the components of a brand? To start, you need to decide the name, colors, typeface, imagery and voice. Beyond this, a brand is represented by your products and also embodies your beliefs and actions as a founder as well as the overall company culture. Everything related to your company more or less feeds back into your brand.

Here are 5 steps you can take to define your brand and make sure it stands out illustrated through anecdotes from my own process in creating my company’s brand, Bhold.

Bhold_packaging_work

1. What are your core beliefs and which of these do you want your new brand to embrace?

Bhold’s brand values started out as my own beliefs and life mantras that I try to live by. Of the many problems to solve in our world, I felt that the area I’d have the biggest impact is in fixing something that affects us all every day. Every Bhold design is inspired by solving a problem in our daily lives. Decide which subset of your own values to transfer to your brand’s.

2. Based on this, deliberate and decide on your new brand’s name.

Give yourself plenty of time and space to do this, as the best name likely will not just appear on Day 1. Write them all down, pull them up then put them on the back burner again. It took over a month of daily brainstorming before the idea for “Bhold” struck me while listening to a talk about 3D printing in space.

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3. Think of your favorite brands and write down what they do well and not so well. What do they communicate effectively and not so effectively?

These will be your references. One of my brand references and favorite design brands is Muji, a Japanese home decor retailer. Their aesthetic is striking and the range of problems they try to solve is bold and diverse. Despite this range, they have a consistent enough image that you don’t need to see the name to know it’s their product. It’s ironic because the brand name literally means “no brand” but has now become a global and iconic one.

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4. Create the logo, together with company colors, imagery and voice. How does each communicate your new brand values?

Now that you have a name, weave together the rest. Experiment and iterate on these until you feel out what’s right. Use your references but give it your personal touch.

The Bhold logo is strong and bold through both the choice of colors and the thickness of the font. The  line between the “b” and the “h” is aspirational, standing for the blank canvas of future designs that are yet to be.

Thus, Bhold’s icon is just a black background with a red line:

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And with each new design we create a new product icon:

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 10.37.03 PM

5. Stay consistent. This is the most important tip as this is what makes a brand.

Your brand is your personality so if you’re not consistent, you will confuse your customers and partners. Apply your new brand identity across all of your channels: website, products, packaging, email, social media. Stay on top of new imagery and communications to tie it back to your roots. Be flexible and change what’s needed for your brand to grow, but keep true to what you started. Most importantly, remember your brand values.

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Let me know your questions and comments below on creating your new brand!

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