Branding design case study for a digital product ⎯ part 1

Branding design case study for a digital product ⎯ part 1

Branding design case study for a digital product ⎯ part 1

Case study

Self study

Self study


Mar 18, 2024

Mar 17, 2024

Mar 17, 2024

In this article, I'm excited to share the ins and outs of a recent branding project I led for a digital product. It's the first of a four-part series where I'll be diving deep into valuable insights into different aspects of the branding process.Today, let's kick things off with a closer look at my brand strategy approach. I believe this series will be useful for designers who are working alone as the only designer on a team, those focusing solely on visual tasks rather than strategy, and those working without a brand style guide.

📣 This article was written for an educational purpose if you're looking for the outcome focused case study, read the released article here.

Project background

As I engaged in numerous product projects, I found myself drawn towards visual design and branding strategy. Although our team had an in-house design agency, our product manager, Shane, suggested that I lead this project. I felt nervous despite my past experience with branding projects, I embraced the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. I decided to take a course to refine my branding design skills, and I highly recommend it for its compact yet insightful content!

🔗 Check out the brand strategy course

Brand strategy

Tailored design process

In the course, I learned various frameworks and methods and tailored the design process to suit our team's environment. In the design process video I shared, I explained how you can customize the design process as you work on different projects. For example, we skipped user research due to sufficient existing data, thanks to Shane's engagement with potential customers. The diverge-converge thinking process occurred as I organized information from the course and revisited the course resources to determine what was necessary.The steps I've taken:

  • Mission, vision and goals

  • Brand personality & persona

  • Target audience & Positioning

  • Stylescapes for design direction

Collaborative workshops

Through the established process, we conducted workshops with the teams. Here's how the outcomes look like:

Mission, vision and goals: Our team already had defined fundamental aspects like mission and vision, so we quickly discussed these with the product manager and moved on. However, if these elements aren't defined in your projects, you may need to facilitate discussions with the team or clients.

Brand Personality: The team gathered to brainstorm to define the brand's personality. We came up with our values and traits as based on the brand pyramid. As a result of these activities, we concluded with three adjectives that reflect our product's mission and vision; Helpful, Trustworthy and Personal.

Brand persona: I crafted how we envision our brand as a person based on the results of our previous workshop activities. This helped visualize how our brand appears to people.

💡Practical Tip: I often use AI for writing. When using AI, it's essential to always base it on our thinking and ideas, and AI assists in making sentences smoother and more pleasant to read. If you ask AI to write everything from scratch, it will not produce what you want.

Target Audience & Positioning: We defined the target customers and audience, and agreed on how our brand experience should be distinctive from other competitors.

Design direction & Stylescape

When determining branding design direction, I always start with Stylescape. Simply put, Stylescape is a powerful design tool that is like an advanced moodboard, helping your team or clients understand how the brand will look without committing excessive time and resources to one visual direction. You can also think of these as quick prototypes in UI/UX design. I highly recommend learning how to make Stylescapes and pitch your design solutions in a more structured way. 🔗 Check out Stylescape course

With an abundance of visuals to explore, platforms like Behance and Pinterest are very useful especially with the suggestions of similar images. One unique challenge in my project was that we didn't have the product name yet, so I created three different Stylescapes tailored to different product name candidates.

Now that we've gathered a vast amount of data, it's time to converge. I crafted a compelling narrative based on the brand (or product) name, our mission, our brand persona, and persuasive storytelling for our target audience, aligning with some of highlighted keywords. Given our team's remote working culture, I created video stories for each style scape to share with the team. 💡 If you're working in an office, scheduling a meeting and presenting the designs in person is preferable.

Examples of Stylescape

After careful consideration, we've settled on the option "longwave" for several compelling reasons:

  1. The gentle and soft color palette resonated with us, offering a calming and inviting aesthetic.

  2. When envisioning our brand as a person, the visual direction of "longwave" felt like the perfect fit, reflecting qualities of warmth, approachability, and sincerity.

  3. Above all, "longwave" effectively communicates the core values we want our brand to embody, evoking sentiments of trustworthiness, personal connection, and helpfulness.

That's all for today! Stay tuned for the upcoming articles in this series, where I'll dive into the details of how I worked the design deliverables.