From pre- to post-identity.

It’s been a couple of months since we had the first designers into Brandpad, and we are finally starting to get some real numbers on how the system is used. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, we are seeing quite a lot of use cases that we did not expect when building the product.

Not just for delivery, apparently.

When we started this journey, we interviewed a lot of designers about their brand design process to figure out where the brand guideline fit in. Most brand design projects go through roughly the same flow — even though every studio has their twist on the process. Based on these talks, we expected Brandpad to be a system a designer would use at the end of the brand project — and that our value is based on our ability to help designers create and hand over a brand guideline. Because of that, our primary focus has always been on the last phases of the identity project; helping out with publishing, client handling and so forth.

By now we have thousands of designers using our system. And yes, most use the system to create a guideline for an already finished (or close to finished) identity. But, the system is being used elsewhere in the process too, sometimes for another, earlier phase and sometimes even for the whole process. Here’s a generic breakdown of the different phases of a identity project and how people have been using Brandpad for that phase.

Pitching & Strategy.

One of the most interesting insights we found when looking through usage of the product was that a lot of studios used the system to deliver project pitches to (soon-to-be) clients. These documents normally include a strategic anchoring, some background on the studio and their experience, and usually a plan of action for the project. Using the system for this really never struck us — but proves to be a brilliant way of proposing professionally, while at the same time providing clients with a single place for information on the project. We know for sure that several studios have won pitches that were delivered with a Brandpad-made document, and that makes us proud.

Concepts & Directions.

Additionally, we also learned that even though most brand guidelines are made at the end of the project, a lot of designers start experimenting with them already in the concept phase and that the guideline is the result of an organic process throughout the whole project. This also became very clear when we saw designers using Brandpad to show possible identity directions and different concepts to a client digitally. While talking to these designers, we learned that they use the system to present initial sketches and to agree upon a final direction with the client. After agreeing, the identity is worked out, and the document gradually turns in to a guideline for the final delivery.

Guides & Delivery.

As the project is coming to an end, the system really comes into play. To allow designers to create a custom designed, digital brand guideline will (probably) always be our core and over the last months our designers have published hundreds of guidelines so clients can access them digitally. We also see that a lot of guidelines get published the week they get started. To us, that was and is surprisingly fast, considered the quality of the work we’ve seen designers put out.

Usage & Updates.

When used throughout the whole process, from pitch to delivery, the clients normally have a single source for information on the project. They use the same link to read the project pitch as they use to access their guideline, and this single source of truth has already been incorporated into their workflow when the project is finished. In a sense, the company receiving the brand is already educated on how to make use of their identity—and that shows.

The most interesting data here is that most of the guidelines are used on a daily basis, by different people, and normally during normal work hours. We’re assuming this means that it is referenced as part of someones work. We can’t speak for what’s normal for other guidelines, but we’re pretty sure that the offline brand guidelines we delivered personally wasn’t used daily. And we like to think usage like that means we can successfully help designers in helping their clients get more out of their brands. If that is the case, I think we all win.

Brandpad is a brand guidelines system made for designers and studios that are passionate about brand identities, and how they adapt and grow. If a tailor-made, digital brand guideline sounds like something you and your clients can benefit from, you can try out the system for free at www.brandpad.io.
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