Researching For Longevity
I am a massive admirer of brands that started from the bottom and flourish into successful franchises. It takes immense courage to lay it all on the line, dig deep and have that "Rocky Balboa" moment where you have actually done what everyone has told you couldn't be done. That history should inspire all designers that want to successfully work on a branding project. When I hear clients tell me "Oh no, I'm not cool enough for that," (yes I've actually heard this before) it baffles me because little do they know that "putting it all on the line" story is what makes them so unique and amazing.
As I always say, what makes a brand unique is its story -- the DNA that sets them apart from others. When I start on ANY branding project, I research everything there is to do with that brand, its competitors, history and target audience etc. Contrary to many designers, this is probably my favourite phase of any project. Researching brings you so close to your clients unique history and what sets them apart. You also become super close with their audience, because these are the people who are going to give them love and trust -- and that's the main goal as a designer.
I studied under a few great designers in my early years and one of them was a guy called Drew Davies. My main reason for being so obsessed with researching came from him. If I'm being frank, Drew was a pain in the butt sometimes. However, if it weren't for him being that way, I would have never learned the importance of the topic we're discussing now -- the importance of finding out who you're helping tell their story visually, because to put it simply -- if I don't know them well enough, how am I supposed to tell their audience who they are?! That is why (in my opinion) Drew is such an awesome visual storyteller, so to say I'm grateful of his persistence for being hard on us is an understatement.
Building a visual identity with no research is like driving blindfolded and you end up creating something that has no longevity. So startups, if you have a story, a world view or a point of difference, please share it with your designer because your brand will last the test of time which is what every business should strive for.