Visualising the branding process for small businesses, start-ups and SMEs. 

I’m constantly looking for processes to help my clients achieve meaningful, resilient and resonant identities at an affordable cost.

I’m currently exploring systems that will facilitate the collection of accurate and essential data which will directly influence the creation of identities that are not generic in any way. This graphic arose during that process. I’ll keep you posted about how I’m getting on with that process – I’m chipping away between projects!

I’m a real fanatic about throwaway branding – if a business has a generic identity I automatically assume that their service is generic too! Some folks may judge you by your shoes, I judge you by your branding (and so do lots of other potential clients and customers!)

Above I have created a graphic to help businesses see the importance of the foundations in designing a brand identity – all of the lower sections are vital to supporting the corresponding section above. The only visible area is ‘actualisation.’ These are the tangible elements of the brand: the logo, the colour scheme, the graphic style, the typography, the photographic style. These are all informed by the answers to questions raised in its foundations.

Starting from the ground up you will need to consider (the more exhaustively the better) the following:


What is your mission?


Why have you chosen this path?


The answers to the previous 2 questions will help inform the question about your character traits. I will be writing an article on brand archetypes which may help you answer this. Link coming soon!


What you are not can really help with defining who you are! Some clients um and ah about their personality but soon become focussed when discussing the attributes they do not like in their rivals and competitors.


OK, you don’t need to worry about this part – this is where the designer’s experience comes in. Through experience and education a good brand designer can interpret conceptual values gathered in the foundation stages and display them within graphics and typography, backed up by the guiding principles of a mission statement and brand value commitment contract.

There are many approaches to defining a brand’s values and I’m positive that the model I have illustrated here would not be suitable for multinationals! My focus is on SMEs and startups, small businesses throughout the UK. My clients range from plumbers to Yoga teachers to legal firms, educational establishments – and all points in-between!


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