Website design brand discovery

The Brand Discovery: Questions You Need to Think About

Hi there! We have a newer article about brand discovery steps. Check out How to Build a Brand Identity Playbook, or visit our process to see how we bring your brand to life. 

As a web design agency, Forge and Smith specializes in helping businesses with their branded storytelling and content delivery. That’s why we have a brand discovery meeting early on in each redesign project — to gather everything we need to know about your business’ visual representation.

Before we can create the look of a fresh website, we need to understand the brand identity and visual tone associated with your company. Some clients come to us with a strong corporate identity already in place; for others, it is a work-in-progress. But that’s okay! It’s our job to help you produce a web design that represents your brand and engages visitors.

Website design brand discovery

What is a brand discovery?

Every agency has their own unique process when it comes to the brand discovery process. At Forge and Smith, we get on a call or in-person meeting to discuss all the elements of your business.

From a design point of view we investigate the visual brand, not just logo design. These conversations touch upon colour selection, typography choices, surrounding graphics, look and feel, tone, and how photography is incorporated into your site’s overall visual aesthetic.

You are the subject matter expert here (or “SME” as it is abbreviated). You know your brand’s story, history, and audience — what has worked in the past and what hasn’t.

The idea of a brand discovery is for web designers to retrieve as much information as possible about your visual aesthetic. As the name suggests, we are exploring your brand in order to discover the best visual approach.

Questions that a brand discovery answers

  • How would you describe your brand’s visual history?
  • If someone was to describe your new website design, what words would you like them to use? (eg. clean, trendy, classic, simple, elegant, crafty…)
  • What direction would you like to see the site’s visuals take?
  • Are there any parts of your current brand that are untouchable?
  • Are there any elements you wish to replace, or completely leave behind?

Topics discussed about your brand

Colour

  • Does your brand have set colours?
  • Are you open to adding or refreshing the brand’s colour palette?
  • How are colours used with your brand?

Photography

  • What existing photography assets does your brand have?
  • Do you have existing photography, need fresh branded photos, or use stock photos?
  • If stock photography is used, how is it incorporated into the branding?
  • What should be the tone of the photography?

Typography

  • Do you have a set corporate typeface style guide that must be followed?
  • Does your brand lend itself to serif or sans serif fonts — or a combination of both?

Inspiration sites

Beyond explaining look and feel, we usually opt to visit a few inspiration websites in order to gauge what may or may not work. I wrote an article about finding sources of inspiration recently: Inspiration not Perspiration: 5 Sources of Inspiration to Kickoff the Design Process.

A brand discovery sets the tone for the progress that follows, and it’s an exciting time. If you’re interested in seeing how other brands are telling their story, check out the Forge and Smith case studies.