Designing the brand identity for your own company has to be one of the most difficult projects you’ll have as a designer. For one, it feels like you are branding yourself and two, you have to play the roles of both client and designer. (And I am the pickiest client I’ve ever had!) On the bright side, separating myself into these roles gave me valuable insight into what it’s like in my clients’ shoes. 👞👞
Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at my brand design process and how I used it to build the brand for my design studio, Incandescent Creative. I’ll take you through my brand strategy, moodboard, and brand style board (logo, fonts, color palette, and graphic elements). Read on to see the method to my madness!
First, why did I choose the name ‘Incandescent Creative’? It must have come to me in a dream—I woke up one morning suddenly knowing what my business would be called. I loved the way it sounded, but I also loved the meaning behind it. ‘Incandescent’ is both a type of light bulb and an adjective meaning “radiant, passionate, luminous, brilliant.” Lit light bulbs represent bright ideas. Light symbolizes truth, enlightenment, optimism, hope, and the divine. (All good things!)
I also loved how the theme of light could be represented throughout my brand identity in many ways: through graphic elements, color palette, messaging (“bright, shine, spark”), and in printing methods, such as metallic foil and spot gloss. 💡
It All Started With a Logo
When I first started Incandescent Creative, I designed a logo and immediately got to work on client projects. I would create branded items as needed – a letterhead here, a business card there, until it started to feel piecemeal. I realized I needed to give my brand the same attention I give my clients’ brands.
Although I liked my original logo, I found that it wasn’t very functional. The treatment of the text made it so that it couldn’t be used outside of the oval shape it was in.
Starting with a clean slate, I took myself through the entire branding process—the same process I use for each and every one of my clients.
- Evaluation – I evaluated my brand by completing the questions in my Brand Planner, a worksheet I use to help clients gain clarity in their business, which in turn gives me the information I need to create their brand strategy.
- Research – From there, I researched what others in my industry were doing, making note of ideas and opportunities.
- Strategy – Then I built my brand strategy, digging deep to understand my purpose, target market, positioning, competition, and value proposition.
- Design – I began the design phase by developing a moodboard (a visual blueprint used to guide the design) and then designing the logo and visual brand identity system (colors, fonts, and graphics).
- Implementation – Finally, I translated the brand identity to a website and brand materials, including business cards, a letterhead, and thank you cards.
Brand Style Board
A moodboard provides the inspiration for the overall look and feel of a brand identity. The tone of this one is elegant and refined, but with a playful side. I was drawn to a soft blue and bright yellow color palette, with pops of metallic gold. Starburst shapes and linework were included as inspiration for graphic elements.
For those of you who are designers, what was it like when you had to design for yourself? Was it harder or easier than you thought? Did you follow a process or wing it? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Are you interested in rebranding your business? Here’s how I can help you.