GoBigname: Branding is all about finding a story
Entrepreneurs and startups are slowly discovering that branding is not just about creating a logo, and few know that the logo is not at all essential.
When talking to Rudolf Letko, Art Director & Partner at GoBigname®, we learned that one of the main essences of branding is the story. Rudolf revealed a number of useful tips on how to create a brand and uncovered the whole branding process using the HubHub coworking center as an example, with which his studio has been working right from the start.
“Brand wheel” or branding phases
1. Understanding the product
In the first phase of branding, we have to understand the basic idea of the product, what is its mission and what it has to express for the customer. Here it is essential that the product is well set. In that case, we can visualize the idea and get the most out of the product. It is about close communication with the client and mutual understanding in the first phase. The quality of the dialogue is not about how long we have been talking about the product, but whether we understand each other with the customer. We get to know the history of the product, trends and future direction, evaluate the competition and all this helps us in the natural selection of the material needed to build the communication idea.
2. Visual reflection
The second stage is the name and visual building blocks such as color, font, logo and the way of communication through these basic elements. First, if it is part of the assignment, we address the naming. It does not need to precisely reflect what will happen in the visual. For abstract names such as HubHub, we do not need to strictly visualize “hub” as an entity of offices that are combined into a single entity. Naming may well function separately from the rest of the branding but is part of it. Individual visual elements are addressed not only within the team, for testing the visual I use the method of first pressure, i. e. I reveal a part of the visual system to a random person to look at it without any context. From this interaction with the visual, I can also verify that it means what I was trying to say.
3. Application of elements
The third dimension is the application of the visual system; web, videos, graphics, etc., where the two previous levels are processed. In the final selection of the idea we do not follow the rule of 100 proposals for one final one, we just need one good one. If the best one was the first one and the client likes it, it is a plus.
“Story is the most important part of branding and we have the desire to constantly discover it.”
HB Reavis approached us with the HubHub project, which was at the beginning of branding. The basic requirement was – “We need to create a place that connects people, like a modern Indian tribe.” To make a person feel that when he or she finds himself or herself in HubHub, he or she will see the same visual principle, whether in Bratislava, Prague or Warsaw, and be part of this tribe. The person will know that he or she belongs to the innovators.
We had a totally abstract idea in front of us and had to find a vision that would interconnect it all. Something that will not depend on the location or the fact that we are young, and we currently enjoy yellow. We should have sowed a seed which, when watered well, will always grow upwards.
What is the main element of the HubHub brand?
A pattern, which was also a requirement from the client. They needed a strong visual element in the form of a pattern, something with inexhaustible combinatorics. I think that besides the very idea that HubHub connects great people and that it is a beautiful space, the most dominant visual idea is that pattern.
So how did you create the HubHub brand?
In symbiosis with the customer
With HubHub, there were very effective client meetings. They offered us surveys of what their target audience is following. Even then, coworking was a buzzword, and overall awareness of working in coworking spaces was not very positive. We decided to tackle it in a different way than to make a nice logo and give it some color. We tried to truly continually perceive the whole HubHub idea. We became their direct customer. We moved our office to HubHub, so we created a motivation for ourselves that this is the space in which we will exist as well.
We conducted surveys of other coworking spaces. We have selected what are the pluses and minuses in their communication. We observed the world’s top similar spaces. The point of our work is to be distinguishable primarily through the visual. We must always do research not only on trends and the present, but also on what was and what is theoretically planned and what is being worked on in this area.
Our goal for HubHub was to bring a unique and timeless essence. To prepare an idea so engaging that when one sees one detail of the brand, one must be motivated to explore it further. We needed to create a good story.
We have literally “cut” the HubHub logo into tiny pieces and have started to create various patterns from these details. We put them in a square with the possibility of rotation by 90 degrees, which resulted in the aforementioned pattern. This means an unused amount of possible applications. In this case, the pattern became the guide for everything. Now when you are in HubHub anywhere in the world, you will know right away that you are in the HubHub space, thanks to the pattern. Throughout the process we perceived the visual feelings of the architects and they in turn felt our language, color, etc. It was a collaboration in all directions.
Unique font HubHub sans
The last and probably the most important point was the font, which is based on the elements of the pattern. We poured the visual language in the form of HubHub pattern into textual argumentation, which is very important in this segment. Thus, all communication, visual and textual, is in the HubHub visual style.
When to start branding?
It pays to start building a brand after the transition from naive idealists to realists. When you realize that you are not making a naive product without real contours of its form. If you can say in one sentence what a product does and what you need to achieve, then the story-finding process can begin. I had a lot of meetings where we didn’t see any sense in the cooperation because of the above-mentioned facts.
When is redesign of the brand worthwhile?
It all depends on the current state of the product, whether it has any meaning and future. Model situation – someone who has completed a decade of product success and feels that rebranding will be the right business accelerator. That is the ideal state. However, when someone comes with a company before bankruptcy, it is questionable whether we can help.
Do you have tips for creating a good logo?
You don’t need a logo – that’s the best tip. Do not think that the logo will take into account all the attributes of a business and that it will say at least the basics about the business. I hate the term “good logo”. The logo cannot guarantee the quality of service or the comfort of the client’s communication with the product.
The only advice on how to make a good logo is to make a good visual system, where the logo plays the role of guarantor of its quality. The logo is just the tip of the iceberg.
How to choose the right business colors?
I think to a large extent that the rule that this color or this color combination is guaranteed cannot be applied. Especially at a time when search for a paradox just to separate ourselves from advertising smog. When choosing the color do not have eye blinders on, sometimes it is good to stick out of the crowd. What is more important is the nature of the product or company. If the company’s strategic goal is to express the character of a “Caregiver”, colors, reasoning and overall communication should respect this. But we can talk about the archetypes of brands some other time 😊.
4 common mistakes to avoid in the branding process?
- Don’t stick to the logo, create a story.
- Be self-critical.
- Try to see around the “corner” of any problem.
- Do not create a cliché.
Your final advice?
Remember that there is a physical world out there and that your work is for people.
The article was created in cooperation with Daily Upgrade.