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How to start your Branding Project?

Here is a short video I released last year when questions came up regarding branding.



Do you feel a bit unfocussed and uncertain? Is your business mission or your brand design not so clear? Confused on what to do next? You’re not alone. Last year, everything changed. How do you brand in these turbulent times? Through the Corona-19 health crisis, my flow disrupted: biking to work, getting my coffee at my favorite shop and working out in the gym…looking back with nostalgia. This break, uncertainties and worries about health, gave me the chance to look at myself in more depth and honesty. I released a lot of my identifications with things that are no longer important.



It’s time to let go of the un-essential and clean-up!

We all know deep down on a personal level that it’s critical to know oneself — to connect with our personality, our passion, and our unique qualities.

It’s kind of funny how we all know this to be true, but we don’t apply this to our business.

In the design world this means simplicity, clean and minimal websites, simple logos. We see now lots of space on websites so that the one clear brand statement can stand out. I update my site right now and will toss out old designs to make room. It feels good to clean the house! More than ever in this crazy time, people want simplicity and clarity. How can you clarify your core brand statement?

One of my roles as a creative director and designer is to understand your brand and to translate it into inspired visuals. Before we start designing and diving into the “magic zone’, let’s have a crystal clear idea about your brand. Let’s focus on brand clarity! In the video “How to start a branding project” I describe the process that worked for many of my clients.


In the design world this means simplicity, clean and minimal websites, simple logos. We see now lots of space on websites so that the one clear brand statement can stand out. I update my site right now and will toss out old designs to make room. It feels good to clean the house! More than ever in this crazy time, people want simplicity and clarity. How can you clarify your core brand statement?

One of my roles as a creative director and designer is to understand your brand and to translate it into inspired visuals. Before we start designing and diving into the “magic zone’, let’s have a crystal clear idea about your brand. Let’s focus on brand clarity! In the video “How to start a branding project” I describe the process that worked for many of my clients.



How do you start your branding process?


In 2020 we have the opportunity to look deeply into what we really want … in life. We may have new interests. High on people’s list are pets, cooking, knitting, home and garden improvement. Calligraphy was something that sparked me and we made an explainer video for Rainn Wilson’s social media platform SoulPancake. So cool to see that many of my friends found new passions in art, craft and music.

Have you found something new that excites you? Now that work and home life have mixed quite a bit, how does your passion translate into your work? Is what you put out there, your marketing material, aligned with your new “you”? We all crave connection. Do you communicate with your clients on a deeper level? Do you feel a bond with your audience?

All these questions lead to more authenticity and truth. Is what you sayabout your business exactly what you do? Things might need an update and re- fresh. Now is the time to do it and make decisive changes.


Inclusion, anti-racism and equal opportunity play a much bigger role than ever. Companies examine their internal company culture to attract the right hires and keep their best people. It’s so important to create inclusive environments where all people regardless of race or social identity have the opportunity to achieve, excel and receive credit for their work. Shining on the outside but being neglectful on the inside no longer works! It’s important for your employees to embrace your brand! When you “get” your workplace, you do a better job. And it shows. When all people are on board with a singular mission, the brand shines and sparkles to the outside world. Customers, clients, audiences feel it. True beauty comes from within! So, take a closer look at your inner world! It’s critical to know who you are and convey what you stand for. There is a major shift in culture. After the George Floyd murder and the #BlackLivesMatter protests, we are more aware than ever that racial equality needs to reflect in the images we choose.

We want to see more blacks, indigenious and people of color (#BIPOC)… … in leadership positions and represented in all of our digital and print materials to provide role models and to be equal. The police have the job to rethink, reform and rebrand themselves. Earlier this year, I animated a traffic awareness video for the City. Now, I was asked to go back and replace a pictogram of a policeman with a female traffic cop, to make it look less threatening….it’s a very small thing and you might think, who cares… but we all have an increased sensitivity and small changes can make a big difference. Look at your visuals and up-date design elements that reflect the current cultural movements. Consider what changes caused by the pandemic and our new social justice questions have affected your brand identity! It all starts with 3 very important questions — the keys to unlocking “What is my brand message going to be?”

1. Write your statement: “What is it”? What is the goal of your business? Are you operating in a way that is coherent with your brand’’ values? Does your business have personality? What’s unique about it? Can you write about it in 500 words? Summarize it in a shorter paragraph, think elevator pitch. And … finally, shorten it to one sentence. We will need that sentence to create a tagline that supports your logo. Your logo is a short-cut, a compact visual of what your company or organization is about. To help answer “What is it” we did the homework for you. Our creative brief worksheet (for a free download click here) has questions like:

  • Does your business have personality?

  • Who would you be, if you were a celebrity?

  • What color would you be? What music?

The more you can share with the designer, the better it is… so that you get optimal visuals that reflect you, uplift, engage, inspire and improve your sales. 2. Show accountability: “What does it do”? What are the results of your work? What does your service do and how does it make the world a better place? Sounds a bit esoteric? Not only Gen Y is concerned about how sustainable, ethically produced and socially equal your company works. We all want to see accountability. How many people do you help? How much energy are you saving? What percentage of profit do you donate to charity? Is your objective tied to key results? Show me the numbers! Infographics can be beautiful and a cool way to show your numbers! Focus and communicate your message to reach your target audience. There is too much clutter out there. Keep your message brief. To the point. Are you prepared to say what you need to say without any extra words? Try the editing-to-clarity exercise with your co-worker, partner or creative agency. It’s much easier to bounce things off each other and get to an improved result quickly. Not only words need to be weeded out, also design elements. Current design trend-reports show the popularity of minimalism. Let’s not bombard the audience with too much. Information on websites is well organized with few links and clicks. Smart and friendly UI and UX. Images critically chosen, focussed, on point. Be picky. Are your colors on trend or could you reduce the palette? I would answer “What does it do?” in the form of a video. Millennials and younger prefer watching snappy, short videos then reading texts. Videos are the way to go! Explainer video for OurliThis is now true-er than ever. We created hundreds of videos, content that shows measurable success. Videos that work well are dense with information but fun and easy to watch. Colors, music, sounds and motion graphics reinforce your branding and add momentum. For your social media, create animated videos that are easy to digest…short and sweet. 3. Create an ideal customer avatar: “Who is your audience? Who needs you the most?” Do you have a conversation with your best friend with the same words as with your neighbor’s toddler? Does Entertainment TV have a different tone and voice than a chemical distribution company? I am bringing this up, because this is the crazy wide range of clients we have been designing for. It’s obvious. Visual languages are different with each audience. Knowing your target audience is crucial. We want to have a customer avatar in our heads as we design. Who are we talking with? What’s their language, passion, concern, challenge? What’s their idea of fun? Age, socio-economics and demographics may have less impact these days, but let’s not count it out. Now that we have our customer avatar, the actual design can start! We designers work hard to make sure that each project receives a unique spin that surprises and delights. Design Magic leads to incredible results. What would “Nike” be without their ad campaigns? There are so many creative outlets for your brand: social media campaigns, short explainer videos, testimonial videos, motion design, infographics, gifs for ads,… The possibilities are endless. Why not being more bold, quirky, minimal or fantastic? Design something outstanding! Address a niche target group. Combine at least two different domains, like science and fashion. Play, experiment, capture a new audience, toss old ideas that no longer fit the new normal. Create the world you want to see. We all may be a bit overwhelmed right now and need a good team. Reach out if you need a partner that can ease the load. Rest assured! You got this! Alone or with a team you can tackle all these issues and achieve a fresh, brand-new look for 2020/21! Ulrike Kerber Ulrike@vivadesign.com Ulrike Kerber is an award-winning designer and passionate content creator. Branding consultant, global traveller, design professor from Germany living in California. Her company www.vivadesign.com creates branding and motion design for TV, web, social media. Book a free 20 min zoom consultation: https://www.vivadesigntherapy.com/book-online Free Creative Brief : www.vivadesigntherapy.com/creativebrief

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