10 Steps to Design a Corporate Identity
What is a Corporate Identity?
A corporate identity (or visual identity), is every visual and graphic element that represents the Brand Identity: logo, colors, photography style, signs, uniform, etc. It has to be applied to every place where the brand should communicate. It must be unique, coherent, adaptable and easy to remember.
Why do I need to hire a designer?
Design means project. It involves three important aspects: analysis of the concept, market research and, the most important: a study of the target (the people who will be affected by the creation). This recipe can be applied to any design work (furniture design, editorial design, fashion design, web design or graphic design).
The design purpose is to communicate and create attractive functionality. I mean, it has to shine the eyes of the target and accomplish its function.
The designer professional is a strategist who must solve problems, give profitable solutions and help a company convince the right target.
That’s the reason why you need a designer and not a decorator, an illustrator or neither an artist.
So, let’s learn the 10 basic steps to create a strong corporate identity:
Answering a design brief is the first step towards a successful project. It guides both client and creative about the purpose and achievements of the project. It’s the most important document of the project and it has to be filled carefully, so the designer can have a real projection of the company needs and calculate the quotation. It guarantee a fair price and a project near to perfection.
A Brand Identity brief must ask about the company background, clients, competition and where the company will apply the corporate identity.
2- Market Research
This step is crucial to differentiate a graphic designer from an artist. Since the project has an profitable purpose, the designer must analyse market share, consumer behavior, competition, the external forces and the internal aspects (called marketing mix) of the client. A professional graphic designer must know as much as possible about the company, its product, clients and target – before start creating.
3- Mood Board, Client Board, Brainstorm, Mind Maps
A mood panel is where the designer explores everything related to the concept of the brand: colors, photographs, images, sensations. This panel translates his market research and his interpretation of the briefing, giving a visual idea about the project.
A client panel is used to visually understand the target, exploring its personality, way of life, desires and how they will interact with the design.
Brainstorm and mind maps are some of the methodologies that help creatives to develop concepts.
4- Talking & thinking
It’s time to talk with the client to validate the considerations. It’s very important to analyse everything carefully, because a small detail can change everything in the creation step. Also, if possible, a consumer research to validate some doubts and even certainties would be precious.
5- Sketching and planning
Here the creation process begins. This step includes sketching, choosing the colour pallete, the typography, the images,icons and what else the project requires. The designer has to keep in mind everything he has to consider (target, materials, application, etc) and test all the possibilities.
Finally, the designer will end up with (only one)¹ best solution within all the possibilities. He must present the solution to the client and convince him why this is the best one. It’s very important to consider and argue about everything the client disagree and make the right revisions – agreed by both. In this step, would be even more professional to do a second survey with the public, showing the prototype and validate the decision.
¹ Some designers usually present 3 possibilities to the client. Well, if you have 3 possibilities, you are probably lost about the project demands. The designer has to have in mind that he is the expert, he must know what is best for the client.
If there are some mistakes, it’s necessary to go back some steps and correct it.
If everything is ok, it’s the moment to vectorize and digitalize the creation.
This step is technical and precise. The corporate identity need to be digital, reproducible and applicable in any size. The designer will choose the materials, printing techniques and demands, proportions, sizes, colors, usages. He will also create the stationery, the web images and other materials that follow the corporate identity.
Mockups give the opportunity to test the design solution in real objects’ pictures. It gives a realistic view of the project and make it easy for the client to visualize the whole project.
Finally, the last approval step, where the client will consider just small and aesthetics details he might change, such as the size of the logo in the business card, some text information, etc.
Everything done, the designer finalizes the archives to print and web. Then, he delivery the new corporate identity ready to be applied in every piece of the business.
all amazing photos from https://unsplash.com