Review: Creating a Brand Identity

2016 is turning out to be a most interesting year to say the least. Many great projects, creative opportunities, and terrific people to work with. Some brilliant design/typography conferences to satisfy the soul, along with continued personal growth and learning. I've shared much of that on Instagram over the summer months. However, the year is winding down with so much change in the air as well days of grey rainy clouds. All the more of an excuse to tuck into some reading, update work on my website (what little can be shared until public launch) and catch up on overdue writing! There's been so many great titles added to the design library worth sharing and recommending. I'll be adding more content here in the following days and work at some different kind for entries for 2017. In the meantime, please enjoy.....


CREATING A BRAND IDENTITY: A Guide for Designers by Catharine Slade-Brooking

This is essential reading for any brand design student, startup, marketing manager or design professional. It is a thorough, comprehensive introduction and resource from start to finish, but thankfully not a verbosely dense tome. This 160-page guide is primarily a portable, easily accessible textbook with real-world exercises for students or junior account brand managers alike.

Very enjoyable with plenty of international case studies and presentation examples to reinforce points and typical scenarios one would face in the sometimes long, drawn-out journey of crafting a brand identity. Not heavy on process from a design perspective, but brand-centric from throughout, with some encouraging yet realistic words of wisdom (“process is more of a marathon than a sprint, requiring long-term building of brand").

Author Catharine Slade-Brooking, who has plenty of industry experience in branding, packaging and illustration under her belt, outlines eight logical chapters: branding basics, brand anatomy, brand strategy, the design process, research, analysis, concept development and delivering the final design. Slate-Brooking includes many good details to consider (e.g. knowing cultural norms when branding for a country outside of your own), and strategic pointers on how to successfully launch a brand from a creative perspective. Exercises and examples highlight the key activities undertaken by designers to create a successful brand identity, including defining the audience, analysing competitors, creating moodboards, naming brands, designing logos, presenting to clients, rebranding and launching the new identity. Filled with many good visuals throughout (sometimes too small to effectively illustration certain points), there is also a vital smaller section exploring the creative side of developing creative concepts. This guide, filled with many words of experience, is like a trustworthy mentor in book form.

Overall this is an excellent, practical and most useful resource for anyone involved in any stage or area of branding. The up-to-date current content includes every step from client/account relations to creative process to brand management, audits, launches, etc. to successfully launching a brand identity from beginning to end. It doesn’t continue on with what happens after the launch (maintaining and nurturing the brand in the months or years following the launch) but nevertheless, this book is definitely a keeper and very recommended.