THE Lemon and Birch BLOG
Laney from Silent Goddess Art Jewelry got in touch via Instagram after seeing the work I’d done for fellow jeweler Rosy Revolver. I’m always so pleased to be able to work with jewelers because I specialised in jewelry design and silversmithing in my Art degree. I later got into branding and graphic design via a corporate role – it’s so much fun to be able to combine my knowledge and expertise in these two industries and create beautiful, multi-faceted brand identities that really show the heart and soul of my clients’ work, but that also allow them to grow.
This is exactly what Laney needed – a brand identity that felt true to her work now, but that would allow her work to evolve and grow over time.
Here’s the summary of how Laney’s brand needed to feel:
A BRANDING EXPERIENCE that MAKES YOUR AUDIENCE FEEL CALM and REFLECTIVE as they DISCOVER YOUR JEWELRY PIECES and products – an identity that is CLEAN but WARM and NATURE-DRIVEN, with a DISTINCTIVE edge.
(This addresses 2 key things to help keep your brand consistent and strategic: (1) how you want to make people feel and (2) what words that you want them to associate with your business.)
I put together the mood board below first, before diving into the design phase.
I was able to create a brand identity that Laney loved during the first design phase! See part of the process of bringing it all together below, plus a closer look at each element.
After working together Laney said:
From the first moment Meg sent over a preview of the branding package she created for me, I’ve been pretty speechless and I find myself in that same predicament as I’m writing this. I HIGHLY encourage you to reach out to Meg if you are interested in branding for your business. She did such an outstanding job and is so wonderful to work with. Meg, I continue to be in awe of the package you created for me. You are incredible. Thank you ⚒️???
If you’re looking for stunning, professional branding let’s work together in my Unfurl Your Brand package.
You can also join my email list below for branding tips, advice, and updates on new packages and availability.
Safiyyah approached me via Instagram and asked me to create a Brand Identity Design for her business and I couldn’t wait to get started working with her!
Safiyyah is a British born artist and textile designer based in Birmingham. She specialises in floral print and pattern, taking inspiration from her original art work.
Her unique watercolour style embodies the magical unexpected beauty and wilderness found in nature, with all its imperfections. Safiyyah’s style encapsulates nature in its entirety as she strives to transport you to a world full of enchantment and beauty through her art.
Her audience for her beautiful nature inspired artwork had grown quickly on Instagram and so she wanted to make sure her website and the packaging for her paintings and products was professional and created a beautiful client and customer experience.
Here is our goal for how the Safiyyah Studio Brand Identity needed to feel.
A BRANDING EXPERIENCE that MAKES YOUR AUDIENCE FEEL ENCHANTED and SOOTHED as they DISCOVER YOUR ART – an identity that is TIMELESS, with an IMPERFECT and APPROACHABLE edge.
This addresses 2 key things to help keep your brand consistent and strategic: (1) how you want to make people feel and (2) what words that you want them to associate with your business.
After we were on the same page about how the brand identity needed to feel, I put together a mood board to show the direction.
After the mood board phase I was excited to dive into the design and I managed to create something Safiyyah loved during the first design round!
I created a unique typography logo, hand-drawn the leaves and branches, and overlaid them with Safiyyah’s own watercolour work and photographs.
I used overlay effects in InDesign so that the different layers of the background somewhat blend together to create this gorgeous textural effect. It bridges the gap between Safiyyahs floral artwork and her landscapes and feels distinctive without taking the emphasis away from her art.
See the process video of the brand identity I designed for her, along with a closer view of all the details below!
Here’s what Safiyyah said about working with me:
“Meg was a joy to work with! She just completely understood me and my brand and created something that is full of magic and soul. She helped me create beautiful, cohesive brand packagind that evokes a feeling of enchantment!”
If you’re looking for stunning, professional branding head let’s work together in my Unfurl Your Brand package.
You can also join my email list below for branding tips and advice, new work and availability.
TLDR: Your photo, your words, my animated doodles! Click here to see my availability and book this design service. Scroll down to see examples ??
There are so many wonderful people with small businesses these days – you shouldn’t see this as a a bad thing for your business at all though. There is more than enough work to go around, it’s just a matter of being MORE YOURSELF, because you are the only version of you.
People can sell something similar to you, but no one’s going to do it exactly the same as you do it. Plus, the people following along with you probably don’t follow along with all the other people in your industry. They probably follow a select few that they relate and identify with personally in some way.
You don’t need to share absolutely everything about yourself, but bits of what really makes you YOU here and there will go really far to forging connections with people that just GET you and your business.
I think we’ve all been through that phase of wondering whether we should make it clear that it is JUST US in our business, or whether we should use the WE instead of I. I think years ago we all thought it looked more professional if our businesses looked bigger than they actually were. Nowadays though there has been a big shift towards people wanting to buy from small businesses, solopreneurs, and people just like them. It goes for both product and service based businesses – being small is now a superpower!
One of the most fun things about being a small business is your ability to experiment and try new things – there are no gatekeepers, there’s no one to approve the new thing you want to do. There’s just you (and possibly your VA or small team). Experimentation is something I personally just love to do and it’s what can often lead to really cool new offerings, or a new way of sharing what you do via social media, or a fun thing that can make your website shine just that little bit more.
I found something that is all of these things for me, and I want to share it with you right here!
As you probably know if you’re reading this, I’m a designer and illustrator, and I’d seen some super creative people drawing over their photos and sort of ’embellishing’ them with the procreate app and their iPad and apple pencils. I gave it a go and it was fun and creative and just a nice extra to share on my insta account. I’d also seen that GIFs had become really popular, you know those ‘stickers’ on insta stories where you can add little moving phrases and pictures? That’s not the only place you can use GIFs but it’s where I saw text animated so that it ‘danced’.
I thought “What would happen if I put these two things together, the embellished photos and the dancing animated text?”
What I created was SO MUCH FUN to design! The embellished and animated photos are eye catching and quirky (I haven’t seen anyone else combining both these methods…yet!) and SO filled with personality.
I’m hooked on creating them and so I now offer this as a sweet new design service. You can book your slot here!
I also made a tutorial for anyone that has an iPad and the procreate app so you can try it yourself if you want to. iPad and Procreate are just the tools I use and a similar method would work if you have other drawing software that uses layers and allows you to export as file types like .gif and .mp4 – Photoshop would work if you have a tablet that allows you to draw directly into it.
I thought it would be really helpful to show you some ideas of how this animation method could be used over your own photos, but the possibilities are endless. All I need is a photo of your choice and some text that you’d like me to add over the top. You can specify whether you’d like colour added too, or can leave it to me to work my magic!
So there it is: Your photo, your words, my animated doodles!
The introductory price is £75 and the file types I’ll provide are:
After booking your slot in my calendar, please email your photo over. If you’d like text on your image, please email the text over along with your photo. I’ll need this BEFORE the date you booked in my calendar. Usually I’ll provide the files within 2-3 days, but I’ll always keep you updated.
Please do email me at email@example.com or click on the chat box (in the bottom right corner) if you would like me to check your photo for usability. You can upload files via the chatbox 🙂
If you’re ready to book your slot for this in my calendar you can click here!
And don’t forget the tutorial I made if you have the tools and software and would like to learnt the method yourself.
I was super excited when Anna Dunleavy got in touch with me about her branding via Instagram. We had been following along with each other for a while and I loved all the work she was doing. I knew she was a personal branding photographer and had recently set up her community – Fearless Hustle Collective.
Anna created the Fearless Hustle Collective to provide a supportive community of likeminded female creatives where everyone can help each other on the way to achieving their goals.
There are a few different elements within the Fearless Hustle Collective. There’s the super valuable paid membership club where Anna provides group coaching calls, monthly expert sessions, accountability calls, downloadable worksheets, and a closed Facebook group.
She also has monthly in-person meet-ups in Nottingham (UK), and a podcast where she talks to other business owners and creatives to share their stories and the nuggets of wisdom they’ve learnt along the way.
Anna felt that she was struggling to grow her reach because her branding wasn’t memorable enough and didn’t stand out. She wanted a look that other female business owners would feel connected and drawn to. Anna has a real spiritual side (like myself) so we were inspired by sun and moon symbolism and I dived deeper into other symbols and their meanings in parts of the branding too.
I also created the three sigils shown in the following images that incorporate the moon along with symbols of strength and support, clarity, and wisdom for each section of Anna’s business. A sigil is where you set an intention and then distill that message down into a meaningful image or design. The sigils feel like a tangible representation of the benefits of being part of the Fearless Hustle Collective.
After sending through the first brand design draft to Anna, she had this to say: “YOU HAVE BLOWN ME AWAY!!! The branding is everything I wanted and more. It couldn’t have felt more me if you tried! And I can’t tell you how thoughtful the sigils are. Thank you so much for all of your hard work. I’m honestly so so happy, and can’t wait to start using the branding. Thank you!”
I hit the nail on the head first time with this design and after a small tweak to the weight of some of the text, we were good to move onto collateral items such as business cards and blog graphic templates!
If you’re looking for a stand-out design for your brand please get in touch, I take on a very limited number of projects each month
Caro is an in-home family and newborn photographer who approached me via Instagram. She is also a passionate photography coach and mentor who is moving into the teaching world as another branch of her business.
With the shift in her services Caro knew it was time to update her branding so I created a bold, striking brand design for her that blends seamlessly with the stunning light and shadow play that is so distinctive in her photography.
Caro’s previous business name was Blue Cicada Photography – at the time of setting it up she was living away from her original home of Provence. Cicada’s reminded her of the summer months back at home and ‘blue’ came from the very unique blue of the Provence summer sky.
With a move back to France and a business that has evolved into teaching and mentoring alongside photography, Caro felt it was time to make her brand feel more like her.
She told me a story about how some types of Cicada’s stay underground in the dark until they shed the skin that has protected them while they were growing. Once that is done they come out into the sun and sing their hearts out. This is a beautiful metaphor for where Caro is at with her business – she’s ready to celebrate her hard work over the years and be the name and face of her business.
After reading this story I knew we had to keep Cicada imagery in Caro’s branding even though she was changing the name because it represents her business journey so well.
I put together the mood board below as a starting point for the project.
I combined hand-drawn Cicada wings with bold but refined typography that plays on the light and shadows that are a distinctive part of Caro’s photography. I overlapped the 2 hand-drawn wings to create the rectangular mark on the right shown below.
And below you can see a GIF animation of me creating the custom typography logo.
In the below submark, the word Caro is rising out from the circle to show that she is bringing herself to the surface. We chose colours that feel warm but dramatic to strike the balance between compassion and strength.
This was the very first concept I created for Caro following on from the approved mood board and she fell in love with it right away! She said: “It feels like you have materialised my vision…I feel elevated and energised!” To finish off, I also created some instagram templates for Caro, a business card design, and a keynote presentation for her training sessions.
Jess from Rosy Revolver contacted me via my website after finding me on Pinterest and we immediately knew we were a great fit for working together!
Jess is a Silversmith and a Jewelry Instructor with online courses – I studied some Silversmithing back during my college degree and so having some working knowledge of her industry meant I understood her business easily and intuitively.
To unite all the parts of Jess’s business I created circular design that feeds into each of the logo varieties. It was so much fun to design with the wild rose theme and to make each design feel like a collection of trinkets – gathered, treasured, arranged.
Jess’s jewelry work is just like that – collections of repeating elements, sometimes including precious stones, vintage glass, African clay, and always with fine and sterling silvers.
She builds these materials into beautiful, wearable pieces that are bursting with stories to tell. It’s jewelry with heart and soul and history, ready for you to wear and layer with your own story and meaning after the many years you’ll treasure it.
Of course there was custom typography in this branding too – the little spiky thorns on the letters feed into our wild rose imagery. Jess has always had a rose motif within the branding for Rosy Revolver, we just shifted it to a Dog Rose – these wild plants grow by climbing up other plants and shrubs for support. This represents Jess’s online courses and resources and in person workshops where she helps others who have no formal silversmith training to create work they can feel proud of, supporting them through the process.
At the end of the process Jess said:
“I’m thrilled with the care and thoughtfulness Meg put into my brand design. Absolutely cannot recommend her enough – if you want something custom, curated, meaningful, and of the highest quality – Lemon & Birch is your best bet.“
If you are interested in working with me on new branding for your business you can see my Unfurl Your Brand package details.
You can also sign up to my email list below for branding tips and advice.
There is no rule book for running a business and there are always so many questions circling in your ahead about what should be a priority and what should be put on the back burner.
To a new business I would say that brand design should be high up on the list of priorities if there is the budget to go professional first thing. For a more established business though, how do you know when the time is right?
Maybe you have been in business for a few years and feel much more set on the direction you’re heading in, or maybe you’ve been in business for a long time and have a niggling feeling that something needs to change.
If that seed has been planted in your mind and you’re at least considering it, it probably is time, but let’s go over a few signs so you can get a clearer picture.
Sometimes that font that seemed to suit your brand perfectly in the beginning just becomes a nightmare to work with. A very fine or thin font won’t have a big impact and when reproduced at a small scale it might well become unreadable.
Fine lined fonts also don’t translate well in a number of other situations – if letters are not thick enough there may be problems with things like hot foil or letterpress stamping, spot gloss printing, screen printing, signage, embroidery – any time that you want to reproduce your logo on products or stationery.
If you want to grow your business and want to be able to use your logo in a wide variety of situations it’s definitely time to rethink your brand design.
There is a difference between incorporating an element or design tend that feels authentic to your business and having a logo created in a certain style because that is what everyone else is doing.
For example, botanical and floral themed branding is still having a majorly popular moment, but as long as florals and botanicals fit with your brand vision and values then it’s perfectly ok to use them in your branding. Just having a floral logo because it looks pretty however may feel restricting in the future, and you might find that you grow out of it quickly.
Every design decision should be backed up with meaning so that the final outcome is truly tailored to your business – you’ll find that it feels timeless and authentic even though there might be ‘popular’ elements incorporated.
Perhaps you only have a logo rather than a full brand identity. Chances are that things don’t look cohesive and that might be holding you back.
Think about how larger brands look, they have set colours, fonts and styling for their products, stationery, website, and social media. This cohesive and intentional look is absolutely within reach for you when you work with a professional designer. Make sure your designer provides a style guide at the end so you can stay consistent going forward.
If your business has pivoted and the direction you’re heading in has changed or become more clear, or you have new product offerings, then it’s definitely time to rebrand.
Your brand design should be rooted in your vision and all those things that matter to you and your customers. When that alignment isn’t there you can end up with a confusing and inconsistent message which can turn off potential customers.
You might just have a niggling feeling that something doesn’t match up and if you’re unsure, please get in touch with me here for some friendly advice.
This almost goes without saying, but a business name change is the perfect time to review everything and as mentioned in the previous point – make sure your message is still consistent. A name change often signals the start of a new chapter and your current logo design is probably more suited to your old business name – simply changing the words used within the logo might not be enough.
If you’ve identified that you want to target a different type of customer, a rebrand should definitely be high on you list of priorities. Good design can elevate your offering and connect on a deeper level with your ideal customer.
Customers buy from you over someone else offering something similar because they feel an emotional connection to your business and product. Brand design and your visuals are a huge part of triggering that emotional reaction. Please also consider refreshing your brand voice and hiring a copywriter if you can in this instance, words and visuals go hard in hand here.
Before we dive into the elements that make up a strong brand, let’s first recap what a brand actually is. It’s a big buzz word, but what does it mean?
What is a brand? In simple terms, your brand is what you mean to people, or what your business means to people. It’s not your logo or your colour palette, it’s more of an abstract thing. it’s the substance below the surface of all the visuals – without substance and meaning, your logo is just a pretty book cover.
Your brand is what your customer thinks of when he or she hears your business name. It’s an experience that’s not repeated by any other company they interact with, and is guided by a set of values that they understand and that resonate with them.
There are 7 basic attributes of a strong brand – when you get these right your brand will naturally flourish. You may currently be strong in many of these areas and need only to tweak a few in order to grow the number of loyal fans and customers you have!
“If you confuse, you’ll lose.” ~ Donald Miller That quote is a pretty blunt way to put it, but it’s true. It can be tempting to use flowery language to describe what your business does and what you stand for. In reality, people have perhaps already spent their daily quote of brainpower elsewhere that day – they don’t have the time to decipher your meaning.
It’s so important that they understand what you do quickly and with ease. As soon as they feel a little confused, or that they need to use some brainpower, they’re likely to leave your website, shop, Instagram profile etc.
Assess the way you talk about your business everywhere. Ask a friend or family member, or better still, a customer. How can you simplify things? Do you describe your business the same way everywhere? Make sure you use simple language that’s free of jargon.
Not everyone is your customer, so you do not need to appeal to everyone. You just need to be relevant to the right people and understand how you help them with your product or service.
Do you understand your customers’ situation and where in their life or day you come in for them? Make sure the messaging and content you share is relevant to them.
Sometimes it might feel like you’re repeating the same things over and over but I assure you, the repetition is necessary to help strengthen your brand.
You must have something that makes you or your business different to your competitors and makes sure you highlight it often. Maybe it’s the way you create or manufacture your product, maybe it’s how or where your materials are sourced from. Maybe it’s a personality trait and the way you show up on social media.
Your unique mix of brand values and the reasons you do what you do are also a differentiator. Point out or illustrate your differentiators often so that they stand out in your customers’ mind.
Make a list of the ways you and your business are different and start weaving them into your messaging and content.
When you’re truly passionate about your product or service it’s plain to see. I think this is the area that most small businesses have no trouble with. We’re all here because we’re passionate about what we do, right?
Making a success of your business is hard – you must have passion in order to move past the knock-backs and the things that go wrong and keep ongoing.
It’s important that your people believe that you’ll deliver on your brand’s promise. There are many ways you can increase your credibility, such as:
The reason that social media is such a valuable marketing tool now is that it helps your business to be more visible. You can pop up in the news feeds of your followers on a daily basis, keeping you front and centre in their minds.
People are much more likely to buy what you’re selling after they’ve interacted with your brand multiple times. Having social media accounts and a mailing list so you can pop into the inboxes of your customers are both so valuable for visibility of your brand.
Visibility of you as a person also counts, showing the face or faces of the people behind the brand. People buy from people, they want to get to know you and hear about your story.
Last but definitely not least, we have consistency. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be consistent with everything you do. I’m not saying you cannot pivot or fine-tune things, you absolutely can and should as you get further along in your business journey, just build that consistency back up again. If you take nothing else away from this article, make ‘be consistent’ your mantra!
I get asked a lot of questions like ‘what are the best practices for designing a brand identity’ over on my Instagram account. I always make a list of the questions I get asked so that rather than just answering once, I can create blog posts like this that help more people with the same questions! I also have some digital products and online masterclasses in the works right now so keep your eyes peeled for those launching in a few months time.
If you’re new to the world of branding, or are a designer looking to learn more about what the ‘best practices’ are when designing a brand identity for a client, I really hope the following tips are helpful to you.
During the research phase when you’re gathering imagery to inspire the look and feel of the brand identity, it can be tempting to only look at other logo designs that have already been created. Worse still would be to look at only logo designs from the same field of business.
Of course you need to know what else is out there in the field of business you’re creating the identity for, but there is SO MUCH MORE to see, and I don’t just mean on Pinterest. Really dive deep and think about the story of the business owner and their journey to where they are now.
Are there little ‘story’ elements you can pick out, are there themes you can build on, are there any images that come to mind when you’re reading all the information your client has given you? It’s important that a logo design has elements that feel familiar and not totally ‘out there’ but that it also feels like it has something ‘new’ to offer.
The most original designs come from combining different inspiration sources together. For example, combining a style of typography or text layout you may have seen in another logo design with some interesting angles or shapes inspired by a tiled floor pattern that gave off the right vibe for your clients’ brand.
It’s important to know what the future goals of the business are so that the new design can be aligned with this. You brand for the future of the business, not the past or present.
If the business is looking to expand in some way, an objective of the new brand identity might be to diversify the overall design so that there is scope to add more product lines or service offerings. More design elements might be needed for product packaging, or set colour combinations for each new service for example.
If the business is looking to target a slightly different customer or an additional type of customer, an objective of the new brand identity might be to elevate the overall feel of the brand to bring it in line with the revised target market.
Always discuss goals and objectives so you have a marker on which to judge the effectiveness of the new brand identity.
There may be more than one font used within a logo design, but the main typeface or font used should not then be used in other parts of the branding like for headings.
There are always exceptions to the rule – sometimes if your logo has illustrative elements or has had lots of customisation done to the text, you could feel that the same font is going to work best for headings. However, as a ‘best practice’ try to find a heading font that blends nicely rather than using the same one – or at least use the logo font very sparingly. This will make the overall brand identity look and feel much more professional.
In addition, you might think that adding more elements to a logo design will make it stand out more, but this just makes things complicated. The best logo designs have one or two ‘wow’ elements (this could be an illustration and custom letters in the text for example). Don’t try to add too many ideas into your design so that it becomes confusing or too busy.
Make sure you think about (or talk about with your client) all the places the brand identity and logo’s might be used. If you go ahead and start designing using a really thin weight font in part of the logo and then it’s decided that the logo needs to be letterpress stamped onto stationery, it can be impossible to make a stamp at certain sizes to get the desired printed result.
Similarly if the logo is going to be blown up very large onto a shop sign, make sure it’s going to look perfect at this larger size! Hand drawn elements can sometimes be tricky at larger sizes and may need a bit more tidying up so they don’t look too messy.
Another example would be involving colours – some blues and turquoises don’t replicate well from screen (RGB) to printing (CMYK) and you may need to use Pantone printing to replicate the correct colour. Same with neons – spot colour printing is the only way neons are possible in print. Make sure your client is aware of any colour printing limitations if they are keen to use colours that might present problems and try to explain Pantones and spot printing if you can.
I hope these best practice tips have helped you get clearer on some aspects of designing a brand identity. As ever, if you have any questions for me or things you’d like me to cover please do send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’m always happy to help!
When creating a brand design, either for yourself or as a designer for a client, the most important step is getting the right information down on paper at the beginning. Talking on the phone or in person is sometimes important too, but a paper questionnaire allows time and space for reflection.
I don’t work with clients who come to me with a brief as such. They may have some ideas about the direction they want to go in which is great as a starting point, but I’m always wary of working with a client who wants to dictate exactly what they want their logo to look like.
Many graphic designers prefer to have a set brief to guide them and for some clients that is exactly what they want to give and that is fine of course. But the way I like to work is to gather lots of information in the beginning and then let that information guide me on the design choices I make. I’m guided by the persons story, how they got to where they are, and I’m always trying to infuse as much meaning into the brand design as I possibly can.
This is not to say that the client has no say in where the design goes – of course they do! The difference though, is that they are hiring me as a branding expert to steer them in the best direction for their brand. A direction that feels true to their business and who they are, and a direction that will also appeal to and make sense to their target audience/ideal clients.
And so, I thought it would be helpful to show you how I peel back some of the layers with the questions I ask my clients at the very beginning of their projects.
The important things to remember is that the person you’re working with probably doesn’t know the information you need in order to create a meaningful design for them. You are the expert, so you need to guide them.
And if you’re not a designer but are looking for someone to work with you on your branding, hopefully this will help prepare you for the experience a little!
Maybe this sounds like a super obvious question, but it really is necessary to ask it. Like I just mentioned, your client might not realise that this would be really useful information for you to have.
If your client is using their personal name for their business then maybe this won’t give you any nuggets of wisdom, but if they have chosen something other than their own name it can give you a wealth of information to start with.
An example of where this simple question really paid off for me is with a recent client of mine – Caroline, see her website here.
When Caro first booked in with me her business was called Blue Cicada Photography, but she wanted to rebrand to bring herself more into the centre of the business. She wanted to rename the business to her own personal name, the short and sweet ‘CARO’.
On the surface it didn’t seem like there would be any meaning to find from asking the question, but upon reading Caro’s questionnaire she surprised me with some beautiful information that really helped steer the direction of the project.
An extract from Caro’s questionnaire is below:
Is there any special meaning behind your business name?
There is [meaning behind the name Blue Cicada Photography] but I feel that I have moved on from there and that my business has evolved to be more about me.
It’s funny because recently, someone pointed out that cicadas stay in the dark until they shed the skin that protects them as they are growing.
Once it is done, they go in the sun and sing their heart out. I feel like this is me now. Enough staying in the “dark”, I feel more ready than ever to celebrate my business, who I am, what I can do and the skills that I have been working on for the past 20 years.
After reading this I knew straight away that although the Cicada was not going to be in Caro’s business name anymore, the imagery was still something I wanted to explore and perhaps keep in the new branding because it represented the history and story behind Caro’s business.
So this is a few questions in one, but sometimes I like to ask questions in groups to get my client thinking about not just each question, but how each question/answer interacts with each other. The three questions are separate, but they are also linked and there is probably some crossover in the answer for each.
I also mention that these questions might warrant a long answer and I make sure to say they can write as much as they like which allows the client to feel a bit more free.
Asking the questions together is almost prompting them to reflect and think more deeply and answer in long form rather than with a couple of sentences.
I love reading this section of the questionnaire the most because it really helps me to understand the persons history and the driving force that lifts them. Often, because the answer is longer than a paragraph I can pull out or highlight small sentences that feel like they could take me somewhere – as in they might be a starting point for imagery to explore for the logo and branding.
An example is a simple sentence I got from my client Katie when she was explaining her story is “I love the magic of translation” (she is a translator and copywriter). This gave me the idea that we could add a sprinkle of magic into the branding, nothing over the top, just a little something extra.
I don’t particularly like the word ‘competitors’ because I think if you have a strong and defined brand then the notion of competitors sort of fades into insignificance. Your brand can be so unique that for your ideal clients or customers, you are the ONLY choice for them to go for. I can write much more on this subject so let’s save that for another blog post!
The word competitor is easily understood by all though and most people will have a few businesses that they know they are somewhat similar to, so I do use it in this question.
Asking follow up questions like ‘What are they doing well/not so well’ helps me to understand what my client views as ‘good’ and ‘not for them’ in terms of business and branding. It’s always so interesting to see the answers to this question and it really helps to know who we need to differentiate their business from.
Often, clients might say a business is similar to them in terms of services, but they want to have a much different feel to their brand so that they’re attracting a slightly different customer. They may often describe this other businesses brand in words and so it gives me a benchmark and an understanding of what words they use to describe different ‘vibes’. This is really helpful because words sometimes mean different things to different people.
After working through all the answers my client has given me, having pulled out various snippets that stand out, I will head over to Pinterest to begin to find some imagery that feels like it matches with all the information and come up with a visual direction for the branding.
This is such a fun part because I will get to try various combinations of colours and imagery to see what feels right. This is where words lead to images and images lead to more images and I’m sent down a wonderful rabbit hole!
I try to look for inspiration not just from branding that has already been created, but from other sources, like book covers, magazine layouts, beautiful artwork, tiled patterns, interior decor, and nature (to name just a few).