The Brand Discovery: Questions You Need to Think About

As a web design agency, Forge and Smith specializes in helping businesses with their branded storytelling and content delivery.

In order to assist our clients in creating the look of their site, we first need to understand the brand identity and visual tone associated with the company. Some clients come to us with a strong corporate identity already in place; for others, it is a work-in-progress.

Every agency has their own unique process when it comes to the brand discovery meeting. At Forge and Smith, we 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 Lanette and myself 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 might be covered

  • 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 that might be discussed

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?
  • Are you open to the possibility of using stock photography?
  • 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?

Sites of inspiration

More than explaining a look and feel, we usually opt to visit a few websites with the client 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. It is always an exciting time. If you are interested in seeing how other brands are telling their story, check out the Forge and Smith case studies.