A guide to our brand discovery workshop

Written by Paul Connor (Brand Lead at Studio Republic)

When embarking on a new brand project, one of the first, and most crucial, steps is a brand scoping workshop. As the Brand Lead, I facilitate these workshops to gain insights that will enable me to craft a brand identity that is visually rich, immersive and effective. This guide provides a glimpse into our brand scoping workshop, offering insights into our approach and highlighting its significance in the brand development journey.

Whether you are a prospective client about to join a workshop or someone considering collaborating with us in the future, I aim to provide a clear understanding of our process.

Image for A person gesturing with their hands, in front of a laptop showing a brand workshop

What is brand identity design?

If you’re new to the world of brand, I thought it might be useful to start with a short summary of what we mean by brand identity design.

Brand identity design is the process of creating a visual identity and overall brand experience for an organisation. It involves crafting elements such as logos, colours and typography to create an emotional connection, building trust and recognition whilst amplifying purpose and impact. Effective identity design enables organisations to effectively communicate their mission, connect with their audience, and drive positive change.

If you’d like to find out more about the power of brand, check out our article here.

Miro - the tool we use

Before diving into the workshop, we like to help you get up to speed with everything you need first. This includes signing up for a free Miro account. You may already be familiar with the online whiteboard tool Miro, but if you aren’t, it is an excellent platform that helps teams to easily collaborate remotely and provides the perfect functionality for our workshop.

On the day of the workshop, we’ll run a short ice-breaker activity that doubles up as a tutorial for Miro so you feel comfortable and confident before getting started. Even though we’ll take you through the basics, we still always recommend having a quick practice yourself before the workshop to do the following:

  1. Create a new blank board once you have set up an account.
  2. On your blank board select (N) on the keyboard to create a sticky note, choose a colour and then click anywhere on the board to add it to the page.
  3. Double click on a sticky note to begin typing inside it.
  4. To duplicate a note or object you can either use: Ctrl + D (Windows) Cmd + D (Mac), hold Alt + drag (Windows) Option + drag (Mac) or simply copy and paste.
  5. Zoom in Ctrl + + (Windows) Cmd + + (Mac) Zoom out Ctrl +(Windows) Cmd +(Mac)
  6. Move around the canvas by using your trackpad or mouse or hold space bar + drag

If you master these then you’ll be all set when we send out the link to our board for the workshop!

What we’ll cover

The workshop is split into five parts:

  • 1) Project purpose and hopes
  • 2) Brand perception and personality
  • 3) Brand identity review
  • 4) Competitor analysis
  • 5) Questions and next steps

1) Project purpose and hopes

The first section of the workshop sets the scene for the entire project. We will discuss the purpose of this project, from internal day-to-day challenges you are looking to solve, to much larger communication, storytelling and engagement issues. This step allows us to align on a shared goal for the project with clear measures of success.

We’ll also think about what this work could mean for the organisation and its users in the future – what might it enable you to do, how could it change how you are perceived and even how might it change the lives of your users.

Not only does this give us a framework for change, but it also promotes aspirational and inspirational thinking.

Image for An example of a brand workshop exercise, showing the client's comments regarding their hopes for the project

2) Brand perception and personality

In the next section, we focus on how an organisation is viewed internally and externally – thinking about how it looks, but also how it feels and how it might make users feel. We’ll also take this a step further and project into the future, discussing how those statements may change once we have completed the project. Pulling insight from briefing documents, we’ll also explore which personality traits align with the organisational values and purpose.

This step is essential when thinking about differentiation, consistency, emotional connection and target audience alignment and is a key point of reference when reviewing design decisions as we move through the project process.

Image for An example of a brand workshop exercise, showing the client's comments regarding their brand perception
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3) Brand identity review

This step of the workshop focuses on the visual elements of the brand and evaluates how well an organisation is presenting itself through its visual identity. This involves looking at individual components like the logo, colours, and typography and how these are being used to create marketing material. We’ll discuss the history of the identity, looking at what is working well and areas for improvement. To ensure that the new identity can be rolled out easily and consistently, we’ll also explore any internal limitations or considerations in terms of software, skills and resource.

The purpose of this step is to gain a really clear understanding of which, if any, of the brand elements hold equity and should be elevated, developed or reimagined. We can also pinpoint elements which don’t hold any value and are no longer appropriate or representative of the organisation’s purpose or ambition.

Image for An example of a brand workshop exercise, showing the client's comments regarding their current brand identity

4) Competitor analysis

Our fourth step is to review the competitive landscape. As you will have a good understanding of who your competitors are, we will request these before scoping so we have plenty of time to pull the necessary information together. In scoping, we’ll then break down their visual identities and discuss how effective they are, and if we feel they represent any of the personality traits, behaviours or values we’re hoping to convey through this project.

This step provides specific insight in terms of visual trends and category conventions which we may want to align with or deviate from, depending on the project goals and purpose. More broadly, it helps us to think about the devices used and the choices made by competitors and the emotional response they elicit.

Image for A person using a laptop to take part in a digital brand workshop

5) Additional questions and summary

In conclusion, our brand scoping workshop allows us to deep-dive into your organisation’s purpose, values, and aspirations. Through collaborative exploration and insightful discussions, we will unearth key insights, challenges and opportunities, whilst establishing a solid foundation for the development of your identity.

We’ll close the workshop with any final questions, before summarising the next steps of the process and deliverables.

I hope this has given you a clear understanding of what to expect in our brand discovery process and look forward to seeing you on a workshop soon! If there is anything you’d like to ask more specifically please feel free to email me on:  paul@studiorepublic.com

Our branding work

A selection of our previous brand identity work

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