What is Visual Branding? 5 Branding Specialists Share their Expert Knowledge

Branding is such a strong factor in business success.  But branding can mean a range of different things to different people and to different businesses!

Today I am going to focus in on the ‘visual’ element of branding, and to do so, I have invited 5 branding specialists to share their expert knowledge around what visual branding means.   Each of these design specialists has a very different visual aesthetic and a different process for creating a beautiful brand.  I can’t wait to share their insights below around their processes and what ‘good branding’ means to them.

Enjoy!

 

 

How would you describe your design style?

In five words I would describe our design style as coastal, feminine, vibrant, whimsical & fresh. 

 

What makes your designs unique?

We’re obsessed with hand lettering and watercolour illustrations, so we weave hand-crafted elements into everything we do. If you branding is created by us, then expect it to be very unique and bespoke to you!

 

Who are your dream clients?

Businesses and Brands who are run my good humans with a mission to make a positive impact on their customers lives. So many of our clients have turned into good friends (over coffee & wine of course) and so we’re proud to be attracting our ideal clients all the time. We love them so much!!

 

When you’re creating branding for a business, what’s your process?

With our logo and branding clients, we always start with a phone or coffee meeting after the initial enquiry. Any excuse for coffee right! From our discussions we get to understand our client, their vision, their passion and discuss how we can help them achieve their goals. 

We conduct competitor reviews and create inspirational moodboards to visually communicate the aesthetic direction.  From here we develop design concepts which we present to the client, which always include logo design, colour palette & font selection.

The reviewing and refining process then begins based on our clients feedback. 

Basically, we work super closely with our clients every. step. of. the. way. to ensure they are in LOVE with everything we are presenting them with, and the walk away with the confidence to scream their branding from the rooftops!

 

Where do you get your design inspiration?

From absolutely everywhere! I think it’s important to look for other inspiration outside of the design and branding industry to ensure there is a new perspective introduced to a fresh new client. Interior mags, homewares stores, people, pinterest, movies, travels, inspo is everywhere!

 

What does good branding mean to you?

Great branding is the difference between recognising your brand out in the wild or not. If you keep your message clear and consistent, your dream clients will be able to feel your vibe and hear your voice through your website, right through to your product packaging.

 

Why is branding a good investment for business owners?

So many reasons. Your branding needs to look professional and polished, and you need to be able to keep using your designer to consistently implement the brand look and feel across all touch points of the business. Business owners should be spending their time growing and driving their business rather than fiddling around with all the design and branding nitty gritty – leave it to the trained professionals!

 

What is your favourite brand?

Woah – so, so many, and for different reasons!

I love brands that show the people behind the business. Their brands are seriously polished, yet they aren’t afraid to show us the human-ness of business. I love brands that are so passionate about their product and message, it’s contagious.

So I’d have to say that my favourite brands are: The Beach People, Sarah’s Day, Luxey Cup, Rachel Castle, Kip & Co, Nutra Organics, Love to Dream & Esmi.

 

 

How would you describe your design style?

If I had to sum it up I would say spirited yet sophisticated, thoughtful and refined.

 

 What makes your designs unique?

I really like to explore with different styles, fonts and techniques so ever brand I create is a little different, yet still infused with that “Zo” aesthetic. 

 

Who are your dream clients?

I love the variety of different business I work with, but I think my sweet spot is definitely working with other creative business. Especially cool humans doing good things in the world – these guys normally know what they want are super passionate and are looking for a partner to help make their dreams become a reality. 

 

When you’re creating branding for a business, what’s your process?

In a Nutshell the process is something like this: Strategy > Design > Revisions > Celebration

Step 1 – Workshop – In a workshop setting we have a massive chat and get down to the nitty gritty – what’s your business purpose, what are your business goals, why you are doing what you do, and who you are doing it for. 

Step 2 – Research and Design – After all my learnings about your business, where you want to grow and your target audience is I then go away and come up with some initial concepts for you. 

Step 3 – Refinement – After I present you with your concepts I allow for 2 rounds of changes to tweak and refine the designs so they are 100% on point.

Step 4 – Celebration Time – I then present you with your finalise brand and take you through all of your files so you know how to show and use your new brand!

 

Where do you get your design inspiration?

Mostly from living a creative life. I surround myself with creative ventures and past times to help spur thought and enquiry. I love all things craft, art, stories, magazines, reading, cooking and gardening which all in a way help that inspiration flooding in. I also like to spend a lot of time outdoors and exploring. I love a good adventure and always find that travels helps to bring forth new ideas.

 

What does good branding mean to you?

Your brand is the sum of experiences people have when they come into contact with your product or service. Good branding will nail that experience for your client so they love interacting with your business from the very beginning to the very end. 

Where people like me come in is to help you refine your visual brand so it will help you attract and entice the right type of people to your brand. 

 

Why is branding a good investment for business owners?

If your line of work is in the consumer space everything to do with your business begins with your brand. Without a defined brand in place your business will lack direction or personality. 

These days consumers really want to connect with businesses on an emotional level and be a part of something. Without a brand in place you will unwittingly be losing lots of interest and enquiry to door. 

 

What is your favourite brand?

Do I only get one to choose from? Haha. That’s like asking me what my favourite chocolate bar is. 

There are tonnes of businesses nailing their branding – Tiger Chocolate, Pana, Tiffany’s, Seed and Sprout, Apple just to name a few. 

But my personal favourite at the moment has to be Who Gives A Crap. I actually look forward to hearing from them and reading their emails. The funny thing is – they sell toilet paper for goodness sake 😊

 

 

How would you describe your design style?

I would describe my design style as feminine, sophisticated, polished, timeless, a little outside the box, strategy-led, purpose driven and unique. 

 

What makes your designs unique?

I really take the time to understand a brand and reflect their values and vision in the design. Everything has a story behind it, it’s not just decoration. Rather than following design trends, I draw on inspiration from vintage goods, nature, emotions and everyday life. 

I also like to use mixed mediums to create a unique look. I use watercolours, acrylic paints, fabrics, pressed flowers and even burnt matches in my digital designs. 

 

Who are your dream clients?

I love to work with women who are passionate about making a life for themselves. They love what they do. They want their business to flourish so they can live a life of purpose. They’re my kind of people. If I can help a woman’s business do really well because of her branding, and in turn she lives a really rewarding life, I’m a happy woman. 

 

When you’re creating branding for a business, what’s your process?

My client and I start off with a deep dive discovery session. During this session, we go really deep with their brand values, their ideal client, their direction and their purpose. I find that there’s usually one or two key ideas that present themselves during this session. The key idea is something that is unique to their business. It’s what they want to be known for and is what really sets them apart. We then start to brainstorm how we can communicate this key idea visually. For example, the key idea about their business might be that they are pushing boundaries. So then we can start to play with shapes pushing each other or breaking from a mould. 

We then have a look through Pinterest so I can get an idea of brands they do and don’t like. We talk about what colour palette and typography would best communicate their brand message. From there, I go away and come up with three concepts to present the client. I check back in with moodboards to ensure we are on the right path. Once I present the three concepts, the client chooses their favourite one and we then tweak it if needed before creating their brand style guide and then rolling out to their marketing collateral. 

I try to make the process a collaborative effort between myself and the client. They are often very creative themselves and they obviously understand their business the best. So in order to create something that truly represents the business, we work together throughout the process. 

 

Where do you get your design inspiration?

Vintage stores, op shops, museums, art galleries, nature, magazines, secondhand books, conversations, visualisations, sketching and word associations. 

 

What does good branding mean to you?

To me, good branding gives me an idea of exactly what the business is about. Their personality shines. It doesn’t follow trends, it stands out from the crowd. It speaks to their ideal client. 

It’s also consistent. There’s nothing worse than seeing a beautiful logo and brand identity but then a touchpoint such as a flyer or their Instagram posts are poorly designed and off brand. That just turns people off, even at a subconscious level. 

 

Why is branding a good investment for business owners?

Branding is the very first impression you have on a prospective client or customer. You want that impression to count. It’s the basis of everything. You could have a solid marketing strategy but if your branding is off, it’s not going to hit the mark. 

A good designer will take the time to thoroughly understand your business and help you build a visual brand identity. And that does come with a price tag. The important thing to remember is that it’s not a question of price, but a question of value. Yes you could find a designer who charges $300 for a logo. Hiring a designer who is schooled, uses powerful software and is invested in your success, will prove so much more beneficial in the long run. If you are in the position to invest, I encourage you to push through the fear. Because amazing things will be waiting on the other side. 

 

What is your favourite brand?

Oh my gosh, this is the hardest question. It’s like asking your favourite child! A lot of my clients reference Go To Skincare. I think they are a classic example of thinking outside the box, not following trends and keeping it simple yet effective. 

I also love Loco Love Chocolate, Bailey Nelson, Apple, Bonds, Canvast and Birkenstock. And of course I’ll reference some of my own brand designs – Dorothy Way, Blossom House Co Tutoring, Pole Angels and Social Sprinkle. 

 

How would you describe your design style?

As I work with many different clients from a variety of industries I try to adapt my style to suit the clients needs however, for my personal work I am drawn to designing patterns, botanical illustrations and a minimalist layout with lots of breathing room.

 

What makes your designs unique?

Aesthetically, I love to play with botanical illustrations and patterns. However, a main point of difference in my approach to design is the sustainability considerations I offer. I help clients make more sustainable choices in the design and output of their projects and even offer sustainability reports upon request which outlines the impact of their project’s choices.

 

Who are your dream clients?

My dream clients are ethically and sustainably minded Australian health, wellness and/or skincare companies.

 

When you’re creating branding for a business, what’s your process?

I have a 5 step process to branding projects which makes it super easy for clients to know where we are at every step of the way. It starts with a creative discovery call where I ask the client to talk about their business and brand. From this chat I get a good solid understanding of their business goals and vision and then lead them through the rest of the design process which includes market research, concept sketches and presentation, revision execution and finalized art plus a follow up a week or so later for comments and feedback.  

 

Where do you get your design inspiration?

During the creative discovery call client speaks about their brand and business goals (often with a lot of passion and excitement). During this call I take notes of key points and often finish the call with heaps of ideas and inspiration to move forward. I then look to Pinterest, design magazines and head to my sketch book for further inspiration and exploration where ideas and concepts start unfold.

 

What does good branding mean to you?

A good brand should differentiate you from your competitors. It should tell a visual story about what your business stands for and what customers can expect from the product or service you provide.

 

Why is branding a good investment for business owners?

Your branding is the ‘face of your business’ and in this digital age you have a very short window to make a good impression as customers scroll on by. Without strong and effective branding you risk getting lost in the oversaturated market. 

 

What is your favourite brand?

Brands with solid brand values are top of my list more so than just aesthetically pleasing logos.  I recently had the opportunity to listen to the founder of Outland Denim speak. I was moved by the passion Erica displayed for the brand’s values of sustainability and their mission to create social change by empowering the women and staff who make their garments.  Other top of my lists brands are; Perfect Potion, Wholesome Culture and Nourished Life all because of their strong brand values and mission. 

 

 

How would you describe your design style?

Bold, eye-catching and minimal. I like to add something unexpected if I have the chance.

 

What makes your designs unique?

Aside from the fact that I created them lol. My design style isn’t for everyone and it’s not meant to. I don’t design for everyone, I design for you. It’s your business so my designs will reflect that. I have a weird 6th sense, I know what you want just buy asking a few questions and having a chat, even if you have NFI. Creepy!

 

Who are your dream clients?

Fellow misfits of course! I love working with them because I can relate. My only rule is they must be passionate about their business. Branding is a journey not a quick stop at the 7/11. Bonus points for anyone in a critter industry. I have a love for all animals great and small. I myself live on a small farm.

 

When you’re creating branding for a business, what’s your process?

You get a branding brief. It covers everything. While you fill that out, I will stalk the shit out of you online. It’s not a quick google search either. I also check out your business socials and any localised activities your business is involved in. I also check out your competitors, because I want your brand to stand out. Then we have a chat. Either mobile or zoom. Then I get started on your concept design. Once approved your files will be delivered or actioned depending on your requirements.

 

Where do you get your design inspiration?

Everywhere! Magazines, online, social media, nature and signage. I’m a constant sponge of creativity. I’m always looking through designer’s eyes so the inspiration never ends!

 

What does good branding mean to you?

Satisfaction! I feel complete when your brand is everything you ever wanted across web and print.

 

Why is branding a good investment for business owners?

It’s an essential investment. You will only go so far on word of mouth and good fortune. When your company has an authentic and consistent brand they attract their people. Your company should also have a brand custodian. Someone that looks after your brand and continues to help it evolve.

 

What is your favourite brand?

Without a doubt, I’d have to say Apple. Not only do I use all of their products, but I also love their clear messaging and attention to detail.

 


 

As you can see, branding is very personal and each different designer will have their own style, aesthetic and creative flair! 

 

Finding the right designer for you depends on your personal taste and what is appropriate for your brand and target market. 

 

Branding truly has the potential to transform your business and define your success!

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