February 17, 2018 Jonathan Keller

Successful Branding By Design

Love the brand

When it comes to creating a brand, most businesses think they have it covered. They’ve hired a designer to create a logo that represents their company and voila it’s posted to their website or outside their brick and mortar. But with just a logo, your audience — your customer base — is only getting a fraction of your story. Understanding the importance of branding and its facets is a vital step towards crafting a memorable, worthwhile product or service.

Distinguishing how a logo and a brand differ is simple. A logo identifies a business in its simplest form via the use of a mark or an icon. A logo may take a few months to develop, whereas a company’s brand is a little trickier. The brand is the perceived visual and emotional collective response to things like your logo, your advertising strategies, your printed and digital materials and your brand voice.


Brand guidelines and your business

Looking to understand why branding is so important? Here are a few ways in which good (or bad) branding can impact your business:

1: Branding supports recognition
Using a consistent logo and design elements in your visual materials creates a pattern audiences will come to expect and recognize as being unique to your business and products. It’s that consistency that leads consumers to trust your business.

2: A strong brand promotes from the inside out
Having an established brand strategy creates motivation and direction for your team or staff in order for them to be successful and meet your organization’s objectives.

3: Strong branding emotionally connects your audience 
Connecting on an emotional level with your audience is the fastest way to keep them coming back. People feel good when they are engaging with a company with a strong brand presence.

Our work

One of our most recent rebranding projects came to us from the Cambridge Innovation Center, a Boston-based entrepreneurial and networking organization. The objective was a rebranding project with the end goal of creating and establishing a set of visual guidelines for staff and designers alike to reference when creating promotional materials, a versatile logo, and a consistent brand voice for speaking to their internal and external audiences. In addition to the singular logo, Consensus was also responsible for showing expressions of the logos and their variations when paired with different host cities.


Our process began with an initial round of conceptual sketches that were informed by the creative brief. The creative brief contained insights about Venture Café, its purpose and also keywords for how the logo should feel to its audience. Some of the strongest ideas were taken from the sketch phase to the digital phase before being refined and presented to the Venture Café team. Dozens of iterations were explored, and, after several meetings with key stakeholders and the internal Consensus team, a final mark was chosen.

The final logo

The final mark is meant to be a right angle or pivot point and representative as the meeting point between creatives, professionals, entrepreneurs and anyone with a brilliant idea. It also represents a V for Venture and a hidden C is contained within the logo. Each Venture Café is segmented by city, and this is distinguished through color as each city has their own color which defines them and makes them unique. When not paired with a host city, the C takes on an overarching color gradient which embodies the myriad of ideas and people that come together for Venture Café events. The typeface for the logo is bold, clear, timeless and professional.


The new brand

Everything the logo encapsulates also shapes the overall brand. It’s also further reinforced through messaging, collateral materials and a consistent visual and written communication system. These items together comprise the brand guidelines that set the tone and the voice of the brand through color, typography and imagery. Pieces for the collateral were carefully chosen by the design team and are tailored toward the types of things we would be using most frequently. These included templates for a business card, a Powerpoint presentation and event flyers.


The digital style guide

With our visual system, brand guidelines and logo development complete, we pulled everything together into a single Digital Style Guide for Venture Café.  The interactive guide contains all aspects of Venture Café’s brand guidelines, organized into sections that cover branding, collateral and messaging. The entire global organization can access their brand guidelines in a single location at any time. And it’s all hosted on a CMS so as the organization continues to grow, they can add, subtract and edit this guide on the go.

Equipped with these tools, the Venture Café team is set to build on a strong foundation for their new brand. They’ll continue to create pieces that further amplify their brand voice and establish an organization that makes a lasting impression on the business and entrepreneurial community in Boston and ultimately around the globe.


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