My Process : Identity Design

As a designer, I’ve often struggled with how organic vs. structured I should be with my making process. On one project, I would decide to float with the wind and see what manifests. While on another, I would decide to have a spreadsheet of check-points and task lists to reach my end result. In the defense of an organic approach, you might find correlations that otherwise would have remained in the shadows based on happenstance. However, with a structured approach to the design process, the correlations should be able to form in an almost formulaic manner.

I am a big fan of structure, consistency, and intention. I think it’s safe to say that every project has a few constants — a beginning and an end. And if you have a sound and solid process to connect those two dots, then the end result will consistently be just as strong.

I will be using contextual references from a project I worked on with Bill and Linda Chin at Parachin Design Studios while under the creative direction of Scout Driscoll of DesignScout.

The first step in my brand identity design process is an audit.

The competitive set is on the left and the positioning matrix is on the right. Both analyzing the market for Parachin Design Studios.

This is helpful because it not only allows you to become an expert on that particular brand — learning everything they’re doing right and wrong, but it also allows you to become an expert on their competition. This step will often point out flaws, issues, and points of interest that you or your client might not have previously considered and allows you to have the sturdy structure to build your ideas upon.

The next step in my process is creating the moodboard.

Moodboard for Parachin Design Studios

Once I have created my mooboard, I then share it with the client to make sure our visions are aligned and that were on the same page (😏 pun intended). Often times, this step will lead to the most clarity with relations to the goal of the project because thoughts or ideas that were not able to be articulated in the project brief come to light.

Then I move on to concepting.

Search results for the word ‘build’ on both thesaurus.com and The Noun Project

Being able to see the same word from multiple perspectives is where the magic happens. Correlations between different ideas can add up to create some pretty powerful concepts. Once I’ve established a three or four distinct concepts based on the keywords, I begin to sketch and visualize.

After nailing down a handful of concepts, I move onto providing context.

Example of logo concept A
Showcasing the personality of this identity option

This part of the process can often be one of the most difficult because it forces the designer to think about more than just the logo, but also the world that it lives in. Although difficult, this step can provide the most information to the designer about the future of the the identity and how it can apply to unforeseen implementations.

This then leads to the last step which is ironing out the details of the identity.

Showcasing the type, color, and texture choices for this particular identity option

These are the details that can add the polish and thoughtfulness to the presentation of the identity. Having these elements can help a client to think about an identity as being more than just a pretty logo, but an entire visual experience. A complete and comprehensive presentation of the client.

Voila!

While happy accidents are always welcome during the design process, I believe that a structured and curated process will allow for consistently effective design solutions.

Designer by trade, Goonie at heart. I like to make things . @lettersociety

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