This post was originally featured on the amazing blog Grain Edit. Be sure to check out their entire Design in Process Series - it's really great.
At the start of our branding projects, we often ask our clients to answer some business-related questions and to send us examples of work they’ve seen and liked. This helps us get inside their heads, and we feel it’s important to start this visual dialogue early. The inspiration pieces Linda sent us involved a lot of patterns and colors, a mixture of classic and modern styling. You can also see that she was speaking to us in her language — interior design.
Using that information, we move on to mood boards. We typically do three boards that span a range of styles, each with their own distinct identity. We’ll spend a couple of days researching and scanning our favorite inspiration sites, going over our personal inspiration folders, and you know, digging through the rest of the Internet. It’s as fun as it is exhausting. We then go through the inspiration that caught our attention, discuss, add, eliminate and ultimately sort it into our three proposed directions. We create the mood boards and send to the client. A good mood board is as much about each individual image as it is the whole overall look.
The mood-board portion of the process can be a bit abstract at times and often the more creative and visual the client is, the more they “get it.” But with all our clients and projects, the mood boards are an important phase. It’s where we listen and see and hear what they’re responding to — and sometimes even more importantly, what they hate.
During the concept round, we start playing with typography, patterns and logo design. Early on, we create a first-round brand board to share with the client. As you can see, our first round wasn’t quite there yet—it lacked some of the depth and dimension that was incorporated in the final work. The revised board is brighter and bolder, with a more constant equation. The client loved it.
All along, we knew that we wanted to create a brand for Engler Studio that highlighted and celebrated their interior design skills, as well as their individual design personality. The main element of the brand is a graphic combination of patterns that overlap each other; they represent the images and colors you might find on an interior designer’s inspiration board, and also nod to the play of patterns, colors, light and shadows in a beautifully designed room. The patterns can be assembled in various combinations, depending on mood, usage, and need.
From there, we moved onto the stationery system. During that executional part of the process, we’ll often sketch layout ideas in our sketchbooks.
And finally, the finished identity. This was a two-color job that included an embossed detail and duplexed business cards. As you can see, the “E” detail in the logomark was changed to a simpler, more representational “E,” like a Greek key, which ultimately holds up better against the bold patterns.