5 Things Your Brand Needs (before you begin the design process)

Maybe you’ve already heard that your brand is more than your logo. Maybe you have a website or logo but you don’t feel it really represents the heart of your business. You see, before you begin your design process there are a few super important things that need to be in place. Your brand is the emotion that is invoked when your customers come in contact with your brand online, in person or in print. The list below serves as the building blocks of your brand’s foundation. These will help define the feeling you want your community to feel.

Many people skip this introspection process and down the road, they end up all over the place because the foundation of the brand was never set. So let’s grab a sheet of paper, your business binder or open up Evernote and read through the following list and really take the time to develop this part of your business.


Mission / Vision

First, define your mission statement. Your mission statement tells your ideal client, customers and community what your business’s goals and intentions are. Think about things like, what is your purpose? Who do you serve? Keep in mind that your mission statement can change over time.



  • InvisionApp: Question Assumptions. Think Deeply. Iterate as a Lifestyle. Details, Details. Design is Everywhere. Integrity.
  • IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
  • Cradles to Crayons: Provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play.


Business Value Proposition (BVP)

Your mission statement shared what your company is and/or does. Your BVP is another short statement that will express your why. For your BVP think about what products or services you produce, who wants them and why you over the competition.



MailChimp: Send Better Email

LYFT: Rides in Minutes

Vimeo: Make life worth watching


Brand Promise:

Your brand promise shares your core values and their benefits to the customer. Be real, authentic of course your brand promise must be kept.



FedEx — Your package will get there overnight. Guaranteed.

Apple — Own the coolest, easiest-to-use cutting-edge phones, computers and other consumer electronics

Planet fitness: The Judgement Free Zone


Brand Attributes/Voice

Your brand attributes and voice are the characteristics that make up the personality of your business. Without this, your brand can come off inconsistent and all over the place. Your brand voice is defined by what it is and what it is not. There are a ton of approaches to defining your brand attributes but here I’m just going to have you brainstorm some adjectives. Your brand is like a personality. So what are they like? Are they feminine, funny, reserved? Just like a person, everything is not perfect so don’t be afraid to list the quirks.



Straightforward, but not abrasive


Brand Essence

Your brand essence is 1-3 words that define the core characteristics of your brand. It’s also been called the heart and soul of your brand. Many companies and business also use their brand essence as the tagline or slogan.



Volvo – safety

Volkswagen – Das auto (i.e. people’s car)

Disney – Magical

There’s still a lot more that goes into your brand especially as far as marketing is concerned but for now, having these items in place will set you and your designer up for smooth sailing and a design that is not just beautiful but also strategic.


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