This month we celebrate our birthday and we can’t quite believe – we’ve just turned 20! 20 glorious years of branding, design and creativity have led up to this moment and we can think of no better way than to mark our 20th anniversary as one of Manchester’s leading independent agencies, than to share some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way.
So, as a massive thank you from our team to you – we’ve created this two-part series to help fast-track your knowledge in all things branding and design. Budding Creative? Startup Founder? Marketing Manager? Whatever your reason for stumbling this way – we hope our secrets to success will see you on your journey to 20 years ahead, as glorious as the ones we’ve had.
First up, our Senior Designer Nick shares his design must-knows:
Brands can, and must, evolve
Here at Glorious, we recognise that nothing lasts forever in branding, and that goes for ourselves too. Our name changed from MAT:designers when Mark and Tom shifted from a pair of freelance designers working out of Tom’s spare room – everyone starts somewhere.
There is such a thing as beginners luck (but it’s not luck)
In junior designers, we trust – sometimes they have the best ideas. They bring a fresh approach and un-jaded enthusiasm to the creative process, and this should be nurtured and supported. I’m still hugely proud of my role within the project we did for Tate Liverpool when I first started at Glorious as a junior designer. I was glad to be given the responsibility of working on an important project and I’m pleased to report this mentality has continued with our newest recruits.
Everything is by design – even your time
There’s a danger that Instagram posts, blogging and case studies for the portfolio, whimper apologetically at the foot of your to-do list. It can be challenging, especially at busy times, but make sure these projects elbow themselves up the priority list. You are your own client after all.
Next, Director of Strategy Becky imparts her secrets to successful brand strategy:
When building a brand always start with ‘why’
Why does the business/product/service exist? Why do customers buy you?… Every brand project starts with the ‘why.’ It helps us get to the root of everything and it’s where the good emotional and juicy stuff lives – all excellent for brand building.
Multiple viewpoints, one decision maker
It’s great to get a range of internal perspectives on branding challenges; it’s no good just hearing from the boss. What are the people on the ground struggling with? What do they find that really sells this business to customers? Once you’ve got inputs, keep them involved, but one person for sign-off ensures it doesn’t end in ‘design by committee’.
If everyone likes you, no one LOVES you – the brand basics
It can be tempting for clients to want to target ‘everyone’ with their brand and business. However, bringing to life a specific consumer helps us build an identity that really speaks to that person. Get the bullseye, and you’ll get others too.
And Molly, our Junior Designer’s top tip:
Kill your comfort zone
You will learn a lot more when working outside of your comfort zone. Not just in terms of design skills, but also in knowledge surrounding the subject of the project – which is always fun and usually extremely rewarding.
Finally, Managing and Creative Director Mark’s top lessons in branding, spanning his 30 year career:
Focus on branding for the future, not for now
A strong brand should truly reflect the vision and ambition of an organisation. The long-term vision needs to be clearly defined from the off – so that the result mirrors the culture and personality of the organisation, whilst allowing room for growth (known as ‘stretch’). Creating a brand from scratch or rebranding an existing business can be a significant investment, so it’s important to hold your branding agency to account – they should be asking all the right questions and sometimes the hard ones that no one wants to face. The outcome must be a visual and verbal identity that is perfectly aligned to the long-term vision of the organisation.
Brands don’t come around everyday
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression – so make it count. At Glorious we take the business of branding extremely seriously, but that shouldn’t mean it can’t be fun! We learn a great deal about the organisations we work with, the markets they occupy, what differentiates them – often uncovering fascinating insights along the way. That’s why we love doing what we do and we hope it helps our clients to feel the same way.
Trust in the creative process
“Would you appoint a lawyer and then tell them how to build the case?”
We’ll let you answer that question… but the point here is that your branding agency should be as invested as the client at getting the right outcome. We work collaboratively and respectfully with all clients and generally enjoy the frank and honest exchanges. It’s a necessary part of the process. We always provide a strong and comprehensive rationale for all creative directions, so it is frustrating when, thankfully rarely, a potentially great brand is reduced to something ordinary due to deviation. Trust in the creative process – and trust us when we say that the best brands we’ve created always do.
Looking to kick start your next branding or rebrand project?
See how Glorious could help.
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