How to brand your own studio

Are designers best placed to brand their own consultancy or are they too close to it? Consultant Adrian Wheeler argued here that outside help is the best option but these studios disagree…

Adam Giles
Adam Giles, founder, Interabang

“Our branding started with our name, which usually gets people talking. If people don’t know what an interabang is it’s a great icebreaker when we meet them – the more curious people will look it up beforehand. We like it because to us it represents questions and answers and a two-way conversation, which is how we approach our relationships with clients and our work.

Once we had the name, our identity was the first thing we designed. We really liked the confidence of not using the interabang symbol in our identity and just using the word as its so unusual. This first ‘job’ kept us busy for the initial few weeks while we waited for the phone to ring and for clients to start coming through the door.”


david simpson
David Simpson, founder, Music

“At the time it was unthinkable that anyone else might design our identity, it was too personal. It might be different now. We had a long list of potential names until the name Music came up. Instantly a discussion around a business card cut from vinyl started and we knew the identity had been conceived.

We spent weeks trying hundreds of different fonts before coming all the way back to the first one. And we’ve never thought about it again… until now, we’re rebranding before the end of the year. We’ve done it ourselves, again.”


Unknown
Simon Manchipp, founder, SomeOne

“We’ve got a very disruptive brand name. It’s caused no end of confusion, surprise and (hopefully) amusement amongst the hundreds of clients we’ve met and worked with over the past decade. The name SomeOne is of course deliberately designed to stand out amongst the reams of ‘names above the door’ approaches so commonly found in the sector. So with a little bit of creativity leading the way, our visual brand identity is based on the simple premise that the more radical the output, the more reassuring the behaviour needs to be.

In my first big design job fresh out of Saint Martins, Michael Peters told me that he wanted me to rebrand the place I’d just joined, his new venture, called Identica. A daunting prospect for a new grad with a million theories but very little practice. I went mad with options and approaches. But in the end he said ‘Make it look like a bank, love (he called everyone love) — to be in the business of creativity we need to first be in the business of reassurance’ — it’s good advice for anyone in a commercially creative practice.

Trust plays such a large part in the success of any creative relationship. So our visual brand identity is very modest and reassuring in the way it is used. A classic monochrome typographer’s palette with a highlight red. A single signature typeface (the masterfully cut Surveyor by Hoefler) made a little more bespoke by Lee Davies here at SomeOne. Supported by the rock-solid Gotham font family.

We developed a habit of ending headlines with a red full stop to help own statements without the need for logos. Add all that to a little light-hearted play with the name itself and there you have it. No logo, just a flexible and reassuring design approach that continues to serve us well on a daily basis.”

Discover more:

Cobblers! – Or why you shouldn’t try to brand your own design business

• Rebranding your design business – sometimes you can’t do it alone

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