Insight into our branding process

Insight into our branding process

Maybe you’re considering a re-brand, or maybe you want to develop a brand strategy for your company for the very first time. Either way, you might imagine the process to be daunting and scary. But let me assure you that at Noto Designs we strive to keep the process as smooth and pain-free as possible for our clients! Here’s a brief glimpse into what our process looks like if you decide to work with us on your company’s branding.


We know from experience that any successful project first requires an in-depth understanding of our client’s company, industry, target market, and company vision. We also strive to begin each project with having the same expectations as our client regarding the design direction and desired outcome. Because these things are so important, we carve out a chunk of time at the beginning of each project to dedicate to question-asking and research. We will begin by sending our client our detailed Brand Discovery Questionnaire, and then use the answers to direct our research.

If the project we’re working on is a re-brand, we will also use this time to analyze our client’s current brand and ask questions to figure out what about the current brand is working and what needs to change.


We will take what we’ve learned from our discovery sessions and use that information to influence our brand design decisions. Taking the answers from our discovery questions as well as what we’ve found during our industry research, we will create 3 unique visual brand strategy concepts to present to our client. These concepts will outline the visual specifics of the new brand, such as color palette, typography, illustration/graphic styles, photography styles, visual textures, and general layout design.

From these 3 concepts, our client will choose one that they think works best. We will then work through up to 3 rounds of revisions to finalize the design decisions and narrow in on each specific element.

The design decisions made during this step of the process will lay the foundation to every other design created for this client going forward.

It might seem counter-intuitive that, when designing a brand, we don’t begin with designing the logo. This decision is intentional: we want to ensure that the entire brand is consistent with our client’s goals and desired brand personality, and that it is relevant our client’s demographic. We have found that the best way to do this is to begin by designing the overall brand strategy before diving into each specific design element. This process ensures that all aspects of the new brand are as consistent as possible.


At this point in the process is where we narrow in on the specific design elements required for the new brand to launch. Typically the logo design comes next. Using the new brand design as a guide, we create 3 initial logo concepts and work through up to 3 revisions on the chosen design.

Because we’ve already dedicated time to determining the brand’s color palette and graphic styles, we have the groundwork laid for the logo design to build upon. This process gives us lots of good direction and streamlines the process a bit, ensuring that we don’t waste time on concepts that don’t even make sense for the brand.

After the final logo is created, we use the brand guidelines to create whatever other collateral our client needs, such as business cards, website design, promotional flyers, email templates, and more.

This gives you a brief idea of what it looks like to create a new brand with us. If you have any other questions or are interested in either a new brand or a re-brand for your company, please reach out to us!

How to know when it’s time for a re-brand

How to know when it's time to re-brand

Maybe you’ve played with the idea for a while, or maybe you never want to go near the branding process ever again, but it’s important to recognize the key signs that show your company needs a re-brand.

You should approach your brand as though it’s fluid and it’s a good idea to make a practice of reassessing your brand strategy annually. If you have these two mindsets in place it puts you in a better position to be able to give your brand what it needs to flourish and to appropriately assess when you might need to re-brand.


First off, I want to explain that there is a broad spectrum of what can be defined as a “re-brand”. Although sometimes necessary, performing a re-brand doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to do a complete re-haul. Sometimes it just means making slight changes to what’s currently working for you to better improve your impact. We see major companies do this all the time.

In 2018 Target launched a re-brand initiative. This re-brand involved remodeling some of their stores to better serve the needs of the local communities in which they were located. The focus was on making their stores more user-friendly and appear more upscale. At the same time, they launched a variation on their logo design. Instead of their name being in all caps, it now appears as all lowercase:

Target is still carrying out this rebrand initiative, and the Target near where I live just underwent this type of remodel.

You can see in this example that the Target brand still maintains all of its integrity and recognizability, but is slightly more improved to better connect with its target market.


It’s true that in the name of consistency, you shouldn’t be performing re-brands left and right. So how do you know you need one? The answer is different for every company. Here are some quick questions to ask yourself about your company that might determine if you need a re-brand.

1. Has your target market changed? Or do you understand your target market better than you did when you first branded your company?

Any time you notice your company servicing or advertising to a client base that’s different from the one you set out to serve, you need to reassess your brand strategy. If your initial brand was designed to reach one demographic and then you switch audiences, you must determine if the same strategy you were using will work for your new audience. You might find that parts of your old strategy still work, but that you need to reimagine other areas to become more effective. Or, you might need to go back to the drawing board and design a new strategy.

2. Do your visuals and methods appear outdated? Do your customers comment that your branding looks “old”?

What worked ten years ago is probably different than what will work today. True, some methods are timeless, but you also want your company to stay relevant to the people you’re trying to serve. The fact is that as technology progresses people are constantly given new expectations that they then project onto the brands they consume. Companies need to be thinking of ways they can constantly become more user-friendly, more easily accessible…more of what their audience wants and expects. This plays out in all areas of your company – from your logo design and typography to your in-person or online user experience.

3. Do you blend in with your competition?

If your branding is too generic, then you won’t stand out adequately among your competition. Your brand needs to be memorable, so that customers or potential leads won’t get you confused with your direct competition. You want people to remember you, so you need to make a unique impact to be able to stand out. If you notice that your branding looks and feels too similar to that of your competition, then it might be time for a re-brand.

4. Do you need to outgrow a poor reputation?

Does your company have a bad reputation? Do you want to change the way people perceive you? Lots of companies have successfully accomplished this through a strategic re-brand. A prime example is McDonald’s. In the past, they were always considered the cheap and unhealthy option. They decided to re-brand their stores to overcome this public opinion. They turned their focus on designing their restaurants to be more attractive, bringing in more natural, earthy colors and textures, and better-designed furniture. Together with this, they focused on offering lots of healthier options, including salads, grilled chicken sandwiches, and yogurt parfaits.


While we still might think of McDonald’s as the cheaper fast food, we also know that it’s an easy on-the-go place to find some healthy options.

Choosing to perform a re-brand for your company is a big decision, but it’s an important one, and one that you should never be too afraid to consider. Its impact could greatly increase the forward momentum and effectiveness of your company in ways you can’t now imagine!

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what to look for when considering a re-brand, and perhaps you’ve decided your company could use one! If that’s the case, please reach out to us for a free consultation, and we’ll help you figure that out.