Module 1: Market Position
At the very beginning of any project, it is important that you choose a position in your market with very little competition. To do that you will need to draw up an Axis to plot the position of your rivals. Once you have done this, you will be able to see any potential gaps and can set about choosing which gap in the market you wish to serve.
1.1 - decide on your axis labels
The qualities you choose have to matter to your customers, not necessarily what you think is important. Below are some examples to help you:
- Price - Cheap clothing vs Haute Couture
- Time - Instant Coffee vs Pour over Coffee
- Convenience - Frozen Pizza vs Gourmet restaurant pizza
- Temperature - Holidays on a beach vs Holidays in the snow.
1.2 - write down on your axis labels
Choose one theme for your A&B values and another for your X&Y values.
For example: Price - A: Cheap / B: Expensive and X: Fast / Y: Slow.
1.3 - DRaw up your axis
List as many brands that are in your industry, both close rivals and non rivals. Now plot their position on the Axis. When you have finished you should be able to see gaps within the market where there is little or no competition.
To give you an idea of what a finished axis looks like, I have filled out one for Pizza Brands. As you can see I chose Price - Cheap to Expensive and Convenience - Frozen Pizza at home vs Visiting a Pizza Restaurant. What the Axis shows is that as the price increases, the Pizzas become slower to make. It show the opportunity to create a Gourmet Frozen Pizza that could sell for around £15-£18.
1.4 - Plot the position of your rivals
List as many brands that are in your industry, both close rivals and non rivals. Now plot their position on the Axis. When yo have finished you should be able to see gaps within the market where there is little or no competition.
1.5 - Choose your position
Pick a market that excites you and that you would like to serve. Make sure it is practical and that there is a genuine opportunity missed, rather than picking somewhere that clearly isn’t popular for good reason.
module 1 downloads:
Module 2: Target Market
Now you have chosen your market position, you will need to work out who your target audience is. Once you know what type of people would be interested in your brand, you can choose to market to them in a way that will resonate.
2.1 - Target Audience Profile
2.2 - Interests
By knowing what they like, you can create a brand that they will be more receptive to. Although it isn’t essential to know exactly what their interests are, it will prove valuable knowledge for further down the line when you are creating valuable content for social media campaigns.
2.3 - income
This will be directly related to your position in the market. Are you an exclusive premium brand or a cheap and cheerful brand. The price you can charge for your services is directly linked to your type of branding you will create. By knowing what your target market earns you can work out what to charge.
2.4 - Favourite Brands
What other brands from other markets do they like? Who can you look to align yourselves with so that they feel reassured by what you are offering? Think of clothing, cars, food, holidays, sport events, music etc.
module 2 downloads:
Module 3: Type
A crucial part of successful branding is good typography. This will extend beyond a logo and into all of your communication including websites, business cards, brochures and promotional materials.
3.1 - My Process
Conventional advice stresses the importance of pairing 2 contrasting typefaces together. Although I agree with this, I focus on choosing a particular theme for the typography and then choose typefaces that work within that. Themes could include: textured, expressive, refined, traditional, fun etc. I find that once you pick a theme that is representative of your brand, it makes choosing typefaces much easier.
3.2 - Type Categories
Listed below are the most common themes out there with a brief description of the characteristic s of the typefaces found within that theme.
3.3 - Pairings
When bringing typefaces together try to stick to a theme for your brand and then pick 2 typefaces that have contrasting qualities. If you are unsure, try picking typefaces from 2 different categories.
Listed below are some example pairings to help you.
3.4 - Type Resources
Here are my top typeface websites. You can pick up plenty of excellent free ones, but in my experience paying to get something more distinctive and exclusive is well worth considering.
Paid typeface websites & foundries
Free typeface websites & foundries
Other useful type sites
module 3 downloads:
Module 4: Colour & Pattern
Colour is very subjective, so to be as comprehensive as possible I have outlined the various theories and rules applied to colour use, as well as sharing my process and the resources I use for every project I work on.
4.1 - Colour Psychology
Different colours mean different things to different people. This is why it is impossible to attach a universally accepted meaning or feeling to a specific colour. However each colour does have it’s own unique attributes and qualities, so in order to help you choose which colours to consider using for your branding, I have compiled a brief list.
4.2 - TYPES OF COLOURS
Warm & Cool Colours
The colour circle can be divided into warm and cool colors. Warm colors are vivid and energetic, and tend to advance in space. Cool colors give an impression of calm, and create a soothing impression. White, black and grey are considered to be neutral.
Colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel are considered to be complementary colors (example: red and green). The high contrast of complementary colors creates a vibrant look especially when used at full saturation, but must be managed well so it is not jarring.
Analogous colour schemes use colors that are next to each other on the colour wheel. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs. Analogous colour schemes are often found in nature and are harmonious and pleasing to the eye.
Make sure you have enough contrast when choosing an analogous colour scheme. Choose one colour to dominate, a second to support. The third colour is used (along with black, white or grey) as an accent.
A triadic colour scheme uses colors that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. Triadic colour harmonies tend to be quite vibrant, even if you use pale or unsaturated versions of your hues.
To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colors should be carefully balanced - let one colour dominate and use the two others for accent.
The split-complementary colour scheme is a variation of the complementary colour scheme. In addition to the base colour, it uses the two colors adjacent to its complement.
This colour scheme has the same strong visual contrast as the complementary colour scheme, but has less tension. The split-complimentary colour scheme is often a good choice for beginners, because it is difficult to mess up.
4.3 - patterns
As well as using colours in your branding, using a pattern can really help make it stand out. A distinctive style and type of pattern can really elevate it beyond any rivals. Here are a few examples:
4.4 - Textures
I love using textures to give a design more authenticity. This is especially true if you want to make your designs feel aged. I find they key is to be very subtle and take your time to build up the textures.
4.5 - Finishes
Foils, glitter, watercolours can really enhance a design by giving it a handcrafted and luxurious feel. Fortunately there are many excellent digital renders that look great and cost next to nothing.
4.6 - My Process
Choosing a distinctive colour pallet can play a key role in making your brand recognisable. Some brands even trademark their colour such as UPS brown and Post-It-Note yellow. When deciding on colours, I like to pick one main overall colour theme that will suit the brand and then choose what I call a ‘Hot Colour’ that will break it up, provide some friction and bring it to life.
Here are some examples below:
The ‘Hot Colour’ is there is provide energy and breathe life into a more subdued colour palette. It can be used aggressively, but often it’s a case of less is more. Here you can see how the teal / white combination is instantly lifted with a Burnt Orange drop shadow. You don’t have to always use a Hot Colour, but try to include one to give you more flexibilty.
I personally don't pay much attention to the rules and theories behind colour combinations. Having studied Art and History of Art to a fairly high level (I was offered University places to study History of Art and have a Foundation Degree in Fine Art) I choose to take my inspiration from other areas such as Art, Film, Nature and Interior Design.
module 4 downloads:
Module 5: Logo Design
Although there are many components that make up a brand, your logo is the most important part, as it is the most distinctive. A logo can come in many shapes and sizes, so here are few different categories to consider.
5.1 - WORDMARK
Classic examples of this include Coca Cola, Fedex, Ebay to name a few. It’s where the name of the brand is also the logo. By doing this there is less need to fall back onto symbols or monogram logos.
5.2 - Symbol
Using a symbol to represent your brand is also a common practice, however the symbol is one part of the logo, as usually the name of the company is included. Using the name is especially important in the beginning to establish the logo, but after time, the name can be dropped as the symbol becomes recognisable enough on it’s own.
5.3 - Monogram
A monogram logo is where the first letters of the brand or person are combined together. Often they will intertwine or overlap to form a the logo and are commonly used in the fashion industry. Famous examples include Louis Vuitton, Coco Chanel and Volkswagen
5.4 - badge
Badge or Crest logos are commonly found in the car industry and in sport. They combine lots of information with visuals in a concise way. More recently there has been a trend in Hipster culture to use badge logos to represent ‘authentic’ and ‘hand crafted’ brands.
5.5 - How I Work
For me I love to create something bespoke and to try and tell a story through the logo. Each job is different, but I always have to consider who is the target audience of the client, what message do I want the logo to convey and is the logo representative of the client.
It’s always good to do as much as research into the client as possible so you can craft something unique to them or their industry. One useful way to get the creative juices flowing is to put together what I call a ‘Cross Pollination List’.
5.6 - The Cross Pollination List
Get a piece of paper and on one side write down words that are relevant to the client’s industry. On the other side compile a list of words that link to the client. themselves (this could be their name, history, location etc). Then you try to bring together different elements to create something unique through combining themes from both lists.
5.7 - The Noun Project
This site is excellent for visual stimulation as it uses icons, which by their very nature have to communicate something without resorting to using words. Searching for key terms on here will throw up loads of visuals that might spark something that would work for an symbol style logo.
5.8 - Font Manager
All of us have a Font Manager on our computers - Font Book, Font Explorer, Suitcase etc. By putting in the name of the brand you can scroll through all of your favourite typefaces and see how the letters look, feel and most importantly, work together. When you see them rendered in different ways, it can spark inspiration for creating something new. To make the most of this type in the brand initials (for a monogram style logo) the brand name in lower case, upper case and capitalised (Wordmark style logo).
There are a huge number of designers I love to follow and althogh this list is always evolving over time, here a few places I’d recommend paying attention to.