For Branding, should I create my logo first, or do the logo as part of the website design?


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I am about to start the branding process of one of our products. There is an interest among the stakeholders for this product to have a separate identity, and they will pay for it. My question, is, should I give a lot of thought to the process of the logo by itself, or should we ask the designer to create all in one while doing the web-site design?

Marketing Branding Design Product Launch

asked Jan 25 '11 at 11:44
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Geo
268 points
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4 Answers


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Neither.

If you are serious about creating a new brand, your first step is to develop that brand in written form. Then comes visual realisation - at which point your question of sequence in design comes up.

The reason for making this point is to help you with the question of selection. How do you choose between two visual representations of your brand? You are trying to optimise both fit and appeal - 'fit' in the sense of conveying aspects of your articulated brand, 'appeal' in the sense of being effective (which typically means being liked and being memorable).

Ideally you might have budget for this brand development activity, so that you can access specialist assistance. Otherwise, you should reach out for a practical methodology.

One framework that I like to use asks you three questions:

  1. What do propositions under this brand actually do? (This question ought to be straightforward; the answer needs to be highly distilled)
  2. What do you intend that satisfied brand users will say? (This is really about where your commitment is - the context is a situation where your users' verdict falls short of this, leading you to change your offering or how it's delivered.)
  3. How do you want people to experience the brand? (This isn't about what you do, but how you engage users. One of the questions that opens up this discussion is, "Imagine this brand as a person - who might it be, and why?")

Based on the answers, your job (in this framework) is to come up with a paragraph, reduce it to a sentence, shorten it to a phrase and ideally come up with two(!) words that together convey some sense of that whole. Whether you get to such a concentrated essence, what's important is that what you end up with integrates those three aspects.

So what?

Well, if you go through a process like this, you have the beginnings of a creative briefing. And you also have a means of evaluating candidate visuals.

Finally it's time to ask, logo or site first? If you are offering a web service, my suggestion is that you start with the web site as the point of reference. (Or if it's an app, start with that. And so on.) This makes the exercise far more practical, and helps people who don't think of themselves as creative to engage with the discussion.

This sounds controversial, but really it's just 'design unplugged'. The reason that we tend to use 'stylebook' approaches is a matter of compromise. If a visual identity is going to be used in a wide variety of contexts, it needs to be defined in terms of very generally applicable building blocks (typefaces, tones, visual elements). But if the visual identity is primarily for the web, there's no need for such a compromise.

That's not to say that branding design and web site design and the same thing. A good branding-oriented web design is very like a concept car - it sets a direction, and then engineering and customer engagement get involved in the specifics.

If all this sounds very personal, it is. It's not easily crowdsourced. And it wouldn't work on a shoestring budget. So it won't work for every startup.

If you do have the resources, though, it's not just theoretically 'right,' it's the most stimulating, rewarding and effective way to go.

answered Jan 25 '11 at 19:20
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Jeremy Parsons
5,197 points

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If you're going with a real designer, then the appropriate order of operations is to start with an identity package (logo, color schemes, etc). Reason being, this process should involve several rounds of back-and-forth to truly capture what you want/need to convey with your brand. It takes a knowledgable visual communication professional (designer)to effectively coordinate this process. Once you have that, then it's time for products (letterhead, website, whatever).

However, if you're doing something like 99designs or using your friend's cousin who's good with photoshop, then it won't matter. Just do it all at once, and pick somethign that you like.

answered Jan 25 '11 at 12:35
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Alex Papadimoulis
5,901 points
  • Thanks Alex. We still don't know how to proceed. Thanks for the advice. – Geo 9 years ago

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Just wanted to add that if you're working on your logo or brand strategy, you should make sure you don't inadvertently infringe somebody else's logo or trademark. Much better to do this before you start printing materials with your designs only to find out someone else already is using a similar name or image. In the US, you can check the United States Patent & Trademark Office's website: www.uspto.gov, and in the middle trademarks column, click on "Search Marks."

answered Jan 25 '11 at 19:18
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Nhu Vu
201 points

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Do the logo first... presumably its a word or phrase? If so... the word and its meaning were chosen for a reason. If its a practical reason, get a practical looking logo and then after a reasonably practical site design. If the word is a creative or inspiring one, get a creative logo and then develop a creative looking website around it.

If you don't have the word or phrase yet... well think about whether your product or even better the user is using it for fun, serious work or other.. and apply the above thinking.

answered Apr 6 '11 at 17:05
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Long Winter
271 points

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