Why on Earth do you Want a New Brand?
I sat down with Ryan Burke, the Creative Director and Founder of Slate Communications, to learn more about a designer’s approach to city branding. I’ve always wondered HOW do you truly capture all that makes up a city in a logo? The citizens, the departments, the schools, the recreation! How does it all come together into one unified image?
Designing well over 15 municipal brands, Ryan was quick to respond, as he’s clearly had some time to dial in a sound process.
How Do You Know You Need To Rebrand?
- Quite simply, if your logo looks dated
- If the logo is trying to tell too much of a story
- If it looks more like an illustration than a light representation
- When the name of the city or town is too small and overwhelmed by the mark or icon
- When the producers of your apparel has to use five different color threads and charge you twice the normal amount due to intricate detail of the logo
- Lastly, a seal is not a logo.
What’s The Process Of Designing A New Logo?
1. Give It To Me Straight
We reach out to stakeholders, members of the community and city staff to learn their perception of how they want their community to be represented visually. The key is involving these three groups to determine the direction of the design.
Important conversations can include questions like, “what are your needs in a logo” and “what’s not working with your current logo?”
2. Define & Design
Finding keywords that describe the community allows us to formulate a creative brief. This document directs the creative team to design and new logo and brand concepts.
3. Thumbs Up
The final brand needs approval in front of a committee that’s invested in seeing the brand come to life and will help drive the implementation process.
4. Are We There Yet?
What do you do after a logo is completed?
We provide brand guidelines and ensure that are resources are available during the implantation process. We recommend the implementation phase be budgeted over at least three years to spread out the cost of updates.
Pace yourself throughout the process. Not every logo is going to be replaced within the first year. There are going to be members of the community that aren’t fans of the new logo, but realistically, there will always be folks who are anti-brand or anti-change.
Overall, a solid brand speaks to your community that you are a serious organization that believes thoughtful visual representation is an investment worth making.
Crafting a solid, consistent brand reflects a community that is worth building upon.