The Branding Process Series: Discovery

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Have you ever wondered what all goes into the branding process? You’ve probably heard that branding is much more than “just a logo” and might’ve wondered what that means exactly. I thought it might be fun to take a close look at my branding process and look closely at the different steps, talk about why they’re important and help guide you through each phase during your own branding journey.


Brand discovery is the beginning point for most all branding projects and arguably the most important part. It gets overlooked or isn’t always valued because it’s the nitty gritty that happens before any design work even starts. Some might argue that it’s the not-so-fun part but if you’re excited about your business and/or anything like me who loves to plan, you’ll find brand discovery fun! But what is it exactly? Short answer: a very close look at who/what you are, how and to whom you communicate that, and what others see.

Brand discovery is a very close look at who/what you are, how and to whom you communicate that, and what others see.

Defining who you are might seem like a straightforward task, but when you start thinking about your values, mission statement and the feelings you want to evoke in your target audience, you realize how much thought and consideration is involved.


Let’s look at the the mission statement. This is a short statement summarizing what you do, who you do it for and how it makes their lives better. Although it’s not complicated to come up with this, it does require some thought. To help you get started with your own mission statement, think about this sentence with your own information, “My business (does this special thing) for (this specific person) to help them (do/achieve something specific)”. Now fill in the blanks yourself:

My business _______________ for ________________ to help them ______________.


Here’s an example mission statement for what I would love this blog to become:

My business blog shares design projects, tips and tricks to help other creative entrepreneurs get inspired and reach their own creative business goals.


Your mission statement is just one element of this phase. It’s also important to think about your values and how you’ll communicate them. You have to consider tone of voice, type of copy you’ll use, which channels/media you’ll use and the overall “feel” you want your brand to have. For example, if you have more traditional values and want your customer to rely upon your brand, you might use more formal language and try to evoke a sense of trustworthiness through a structured blog. Or, if you’d rather your brand be more relatable and trendy, you might use Twitter and Instagram and go for colloquial copy and warm, friendly colors.


Once you’ve sorted out your values and communication strategy, you have to consider who you’re trying to reach. This means defining your target audience — those dream customers. Who are they? What do they value? What is their life like? How do they find out about your brand? It’s helpful to come up with two or three ideal customers and put yourself in their shoes. Think about your brand from their perspective and try to interact with it from their point of view.


As you can see, the discovery phase is much more than just jotting a few notes here and there, it’s an in-depth look at what your brand is all about.

The discovery phase is much more than just jotting a few notes here and there, it’s an in-depth look at what your brand is all about.

Once you’ve gone through brand discovery, you can take this information and use it to develop the creative direction for the project by thinking about color theory, typography, illustration, images and other visual cues. In my process, this is when I create the first mood boards and start making those first color/font/image choices.


Interested in learning how to create inspiration boards based on your own brand discovery? I shared my process plus three free templates here.


Now that you have a better idea of what all goes into the discovery phase of the branding process, it’s time to get started yourself! Thanks for reading, have and questions or thoughts you’d like to share? I’d love to see them in the comments below.