Creative Sessions: Branding Brainstorm

by Dec 16, 2014Branding

Creative Sessions: Branding Brainstorm

by | Dec 16, 2014


Have you ever seen a movie and just thought, “Man, I wish I could’ve been in the room when they came up with this stuff!”  The creative process is so much fun to watch (and participate in).  Today, we thought we’d give you a “look behind our creative curtain.”

It all started with three staff members and a conference room…. Also, a more-than-ample supply of sticky notes.

Now, we had already met with our client, discovered their brand values and personality traits, and heard their design preferences.  Our next step was to develop a brand metaphor that would help us create the visual and verbal guidelines for their brand.

Metaphorically Speaking

We put their brand values and personality traits on sticky notes at the top of the whiteboard (as you can see in the picture above).  Then the fun began – an uninterrupted flow of creative thinking.  We spouted off multiple things that reminded us of each value or trait.  For instance, if the value was “Educational”, the first thing that comes to mind is probably “teacher”, “professor”, “academy”, “wizard”, etc.  The fun thing is that anything goes. This is where our concept of “Yes, and…” comes in. No idea is a bad idea at this stage.

After we had 10-15 ideas for each trait or value, we began consolidating concepts. We start noticing that some sticky notes fit into more than just one category, and some fit all of them.  That’s what we look for:  Something that embodies all of the same values and traits as our client.

In this particular session, it was a person.  Since we already knew the design era and culture that our client preferred, we simply put the character into that timeframe.  For instance, we might say that Louis Armstrong is the brand metaphor for a start-up coffee shop.  But let’s also say that the owners prefer Victorian-era design concepts.  Well, we would say that their brand metaphor is Louis Armstrong playing trumpet in the early 1900s.  Now all of our verbal and visual guidelines can be consistent within this vein.

And, remember, the brand metaphor is not obviously communicated with customers.  We wouldn’t put pictures of Louis Armstrong on the website, or say anything about the 1900s.  We would use colors, textures, and wording that will subtly give the customer the same “feel” as our metaphor would.

Now all we have to do is “digitize” our metaphor (go write it up in the client’s handbook), and mission accomplished!  Time to go play some Wii!

Need help with your own creative “brand metaphor-ing” process?  Shoot us an email.


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