How Brand Strategy and Design Go Hand in Hand

Brand Identity

January 29, 2024

How Brand Strategy and Design Go Hand in Hand

Brand Identity
Building a brand is much like building a house. 

Every brand we build at Hardy starts with a strong foundation in strategy. Brand strategy consists of mixing a few elements, like brand pillars, positioning, and a value proposition, much like how sand, paste, and water make concrete. Whether you are building a brand or a house, design choices bring the plan to life. When a strategy and design work together, a meaningful, beautiful house is created.

A home does not appear out of thin air, it takes a lot of planning. Similarly, every aspect of crafting a brand's identity is carefully crafted through our strategic processes. When we work on a project, everything, and we mean everything (the logo, colors, patterns, tagline, photo direction, etc.) is informed by brand strategy. By doing this, every Hardy design not only looks nice but has a deeper meaning.

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January 29, 2024

How Brand Strategy and Design Go Hand in Hand

Brand Identity
Building a brand is much like building a house. 

Every brand we build at Hardy starts with a strong foundation in strategy. Brand strategy consists of mixing a few elements, like brand pillars, positioning, and a value proposition, much like how sand, paste, and water make concrete. Whether you are building a brand or a house, design choices bring the plan to life. When a strategy and design work together, a meaningful, beautiful house is created.

A home does not appear out of thin air, it takes a lot of planning. Similarly, every aspect of crafting a brand's identity is carefully crafted through our strategic processes. When we work on a project, everything, and we mean everything (the logo, colors, patterns, tagline, photo direction, etc.) is informed by brand strategy. By doing this, every Hardy design not only looks nice but has a deeper meaning.

Strategy informs design.

At the beginning stage of strategy, we include our creative director, brand strategist, account manager, and lead designer. Each individual brings a different perspective and expertise; by including a variety of industry experts, we meld brand strategy and design. Below, we explain how strategy informs design using a few steps of our brand identity process as examples.

Once the brand strategy is developed, designers draft moodboards that support the strategy. Moodboards are a snapshot of different visual interpretations of the brand strategy. For example, below are three moodboards that bring to life a specific strategy. Each board may look different, but each one communicates aspects of the brand like the pillars of “warm and fuzzy” and “community.”  

Moodboards are unique to a strategy, now compare the below moodboard to those above. It intentionally feels completely different because the board represents a strategy that focuses on values like “precision.”

Interpreting strategy does not stop at moodboards. A moodboard is only the jumping-off point for all other aspects of brand identity. At Hardy, every single touchpoint we design integrates with strategy. Here are a few examples of how a brand’s logo, color, texture, and photography connect to strategy.

Logo

A logo is not a brand. While logos are not the be-all and end-all to a brand’s identity, they are an opportunity to interpret the strategy. Take Genuine Ice Cream’s logo as an example.

We redesigned the Genuine cow to communicate their use of authentic, natural ingredients, like fresh milk from Montana dairy cows. The cow eagerly trots towards something as if there is a treat across the pasture. The logo speaks to Genuine Ice Cream's work-hard, play-hard values and belief that the best treats are the ones you earn. The love of a Montana summer is seen in the outline of the state within the cows’ spots.

Color

Color is the linchpin that connects all aspects of a brand’s visual language. Did you know color accounts for 80% of brand recognition? Don’t believe us? Take a moment and look at the below colors. What brands do you think of when you see turquoise, red, orange, and magenta?

If you thought of Tiffany & Co., Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and T-Mobile, you are correct. These colors are so important to these brands that they are trademarked.

Since color is crucial for brand recognition, it is necessary to connect it to strategy. When rebranding Armstrong Marketing Solutions to Hardy Brands, we needed to shift our turquoise to a color pallet that communicates our strategy. When exploring options, the goal was to show that our services are premium yet approachable.

Our primary color, merlot, embodies a premium feel, while tangerine is friendly, bright, and energetic. The harbor accent illustrates richness, like premium paper. Together, the palette feels fresh, thoughtful, and confident, all words we used during the strategy sessions to describe our culture.  

Texture

Integrating texture into a brand’s identity is another opportunity to connect a design component with strategy. If a brand is sleek, you would not want it to have rough, worn textures in designs. But, to communicate history, hard work, and down-to-earth quality, you could incorporate texture.

That is what we did with Merry Piglets. Since 1969, Merry Piglets has been whipping up delicious mountain tex-mex in Jackson, Wyoming. Their brand is light-hearted, jovial, and funky while staying true to its history and connection to the Blue Collar Restaurant Group. So we created a worn-in texture that nods to their blue-collar history.  

Photography

There is a reason why the cliché “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings true. Photography is a great way to bring the words on the page to life. We do this by providing photo direction within brand guidelines.  Photo direction can be passed to a photographer to enforce a brand’s vibe in everything that uses photos.  

Take Premier Systems as an example, their brand is tough but neighborly. Photography enforces this connection. Their photo direction is as balanced as their brand, with people in joyful interactions with the Premier team with a high-contrast black-and-white treatment.

Photo Credit: Brightside Photography

Just like building a house, there are countless ways to bring in design to a brand, above are just a few ways. Do you feel like your brand’s strategy and design are disconnected? Send us an email, we would love to set up a time to discuss how strategy and design work together to help you achieve your goals.

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About Us

Like our work, the Hardy Brands team is an embodiment of the perfect balance of strategy and creative. We’ve cultivated a team of certified brand specialists and strategists, designers, copywriters and marketing professionals who are ferocious about helping you succeed. We’re a Montana marketing agency that will constantly strive to improve your business.

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Our Work

As a branding, marketing and design agency, we partner with all types of businesses, from restaurants and breweries to building and real estate professionals, nonprofits to accountants and many others. Get a better idea of who we are and what we do by visiting our Work page.

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