Filtering the Brand Experience - Phase 1

by Danny Wyse

You know that feeling you get when you purchase new Nike shoes? The one that makes you feel like you can run a Marathon, out work any person on the field or cycle across the country? That is the result of their brand. Whether you will do those things or not, it doesn’t matter. Nike has tapped into you emotionally and given you confidence. These are not random feelings or emotions. There was thought behind the development of their logo, brand and supporting brand elements which tap into your subconscious and draw these feelings out. This intentional development is the backbone to a strong brand.


If you’re not a part of a design or marketing team, you likely are unfamiliar with the depth of thought and intent that is considered when developing a new logo. The logo is the face of a brand, and it must be constructed with a strategic message in mind. This can take weeks and sometimes months to get just right. To simplify this process, I’ve broken the research and development into three main phases.


Phase 1: Understand the client’s visual likes and dislikes. Phase 2: Constructing a logo(s) that reflects research findings and the archetype/personality of the brand(s). Phase 3: Build out elements of the brand(s) to convey a consistent message across all marketing collateral. At Red Caffeine, our signature “FILTERED EXPERIENCE” accomplishes phase 1.


We invite the client’s head decision makers in for a creative discovery. The client is presented with  an assortment of photos with a wide range of typography, color palettes, shapes, icons, photos, etc. We instruct them to pick the cards they love (Yay!) and the ones they hate (Nay), nothing in between. Then we step through each card and ask questions to provoke a direction for logo construction. The main elements we are looking to uncover in this Experience include: - Typography - Hard lines vs. Soft lines - Human vs. Non-Human - Color Palette - Modern vs.Retro - Masculine vs.Feminine - Negative Space - High contrast vs. Monotone Every designer should be thinking about the elements listed above when constructing a logo. If you ask the average person if they prefer hard lines or soft or are favorable towards high contrast imagery or monotone, they wouldn’t have any clue how to respond. They will likely tell you that they want to be like Apple, Nike or Google. This does not help us when working with a company that sells, for example, coal slag.


The FILTERED EXPERIENCE allows us to extract these answers from clients using a subconscious approach. We want them to think about what they want for THEIR brand, so we don’t show them any branded visuals. Instead, using abstract imagery allows the client to think, more freely, about form, function and color. The FILTERED EXPERIENCE engages the client in the logo and branding development. This is a major plus in our branding process ... we don’t design a logo for the client, we design it with them.


A client who recently handed over their “Yays” and “Nays,”  which guided their brand development is U.S. Minerals. This brand was particularly fascinating and challenging because we needed to develop a product brand (Black Diamond), that could stand on it’s own, but still relate to the parent brand (U.S. Minerals). In my upcoming two blog posts, I will step through phases two and three of the development  of the U.S. Minerals and Black Diamond brands.