Diving Deeper: How Long Does Branding Take?

By Summer Teal Simpson Hitch

The process of creating something as important as a brand is nothing to be rushed.

Branding is a creative, collaborative process, and brand experiences are carefully and intelligently birthed and grown. Every designer or agency has a process that is unique. At Focus Lab, we adhere to the following project life cycle.

Strategy

Increasingly, this is completed in our Discovery phase. Strategy is a strategic process that defines a foundation and rationale for the brand. It's where your design team crawls inside your brain and digests all we can about you, your company, your product or service, your target audience, and your competitive landscape. It ensures that design isn't only awesome, but that it's also relevant and intentional, specific to the needs of the client and the end user. As part of the production process, this takes one week; as part of the discovery process, two.

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Concepting

This stage is the metaphorical bridge between strategy and design, where we apply what we've learned about you during Strategy and brainstorm different concepts that apply to the brand. Sometimes these grow from brand values, other times to address the challenges being faced. These concepts assist in two ways: they provide direction for forthcoming design decisions, and they provide a foundation for design that is rooted in the company and that richly offers storytelling and continuity. Depending on the client, concepting can be undertaken concurrently with Strategy, or in the week following Strategy.

Design

This is a 3+ week iterative process wherein the designer presents curated visual brand work each week, receives feedback from the client and design peers, and then proceeds to narrow in on a brand system for the client.

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Additional Assets

Collateral pieces or any necessary branding for child or sub-brands require additional weeks of design time. The Brand Guidelines, a comprehensive style guide, takes about a week itself to assemble and present.

But Wait, There's More

Why go through the effort of 6+ weeks of design work, with a talented creative team who now knows your company inside and out, without rounding out your brand with communications application? Nothing devalues or confuses even the strongest visual brand identity like misdirected voice or undefined messaging. A Communications Style Guide, even in its most basic form, can address longstanding copy questions that will arise as your brand grows via social media, marketing/advertising, and web presence. Depending on scope and editing rounds, this guide takes one to two weeks to finalize.

The Devil is in the Details

Photography is a vital visual and aesthetic consideration for your brand. Defining subject matter, visual foci, quality measures, aesthetic style, and even sourcing for your photography assets will ensure a coherent brand experience.

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What Does All This Mean?

It means that, no, we can't churn out a new brand experience for you in two weeks. And believe me, we are sorry that we can't honor that deadline. Because we love the work we do and the clients we do it for. But, as they say, Rome wasn't built in day. And your brand shouldn't be either. It's WAY more important than two weeks can justify.

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