So now you have your primary element. What’s next? I’ll often find myself describing this phase as when the real fun begins.
While I love creating the initial brand mark, and it is the most satisfying effort once resolved, it is far more nerve racking than this next phase. Most of the pain of the initial brand mark comes from all the time spent going in different directions just to establish the organizer’s preferences. This primary element is like a precious jewel, so every single mark is deeply focused. This care and nurturing makes them all feel like they are my children, so only choosing one means the rest of my kids are just lost and forgotten. It’s an agonizing end for any creative endeavor. But all is not necessarily lost. In some cases these cast off concepts can also bare more fruit if parts or ideas uncovered in the process can be used to support the rest of the brand. After all those common elements or the pillars I described in the previous article do still relate as primary descriptors of the brand. So giving them purpose makes sense if they can be recast within the context of the final look and communication.
So now that you’ve been through that difficult first creative phase and know that you are mostly building on those preferences, it becomes far less stressful and more fun! You have a feel good moment of success under your belt and you may also notice that the organizers are becoming more visibly excited and engaged entering this part of the process. To top it off, typically you’ll be able build on that enthusiasm by moving more quickly and showing more results.
As an immediate aside, if time provides, there is a mini step that could be completed before diving feet first into this phase. You could almost call it a simple brand building primer. Brand elements you know you will need like choosing specific fonts, and establish a based color system. If you are far enough into the curve time wise, you may even develop a few addition support elements. This extra time spent actually speeds up this phase even more and can save cost by minimizing the need for variations within options. It also lessens the very occasional danger of the organizer losing focus on concept and choosing options because they like the color and font choices better. But most often, time is a concern, so this mini step is typically combined into this phase and you establish everything at once.
If it isn’t obvious yet, the main goal for you with this phase is to fill-in the rest of the visual elements and main content of the brand. The part of this phase that should please the organizers most is choosing which projects to “skin” first:
- Primarily focus on the critical projects that will be used to begin promoting the event.
- It is also super important to begin to develop projects with longer timetables.
- And lastly, projects that fill-in parts of the brand that may not be developed in the other choices. The organizers may less appreciate this effort put towards a more complete picture of the brand at first, but the logic becomes apparent, as you get further into the project.
Every event is different so choosing these projects should be suggested by you but with the final consent of the organizers. They may be pushing hard for greater needs at this point so be sure to explain yourself and assure them of the timeframe. Be ready to compromise, but also stand your ground on some options if you feel that their exclusion from the final choices for these initial projects are going to keep you from accurately fleshing out the complete look and communication of the brand. In the end, since you are still creating multiple directions (typically 2-3 complete sets), you must keep the smallest balance of projects possible to not stress budget and timeframe and make too much work for yourself. But proper development of the complete brand may be critical especially when providing examples to other resources that will be involved in creating projects using the brand.
Like the primary brand element, there is expected to be at least one round of refinements, so I try to create a range of compatible examples for specific elements throughout the directions that could be substituted into other concepts. Hopefully these creative compromises make sense for the aesthetics of the final concept, but don’t be surprised if you end up going back to your creative wellspring for something similar but works a bit better.
Depending on the depth of the revisions and the urgency for delivering certain projects, I could end up prioritizing the edits of individual projects. Staggering delivery of revisions may also be valuable by giving you a little more time to think through parts of the brand. Which in the end may give you better results and possibly costing you less time.