Discovery: how does it work?

We start every branding and website design project with a discovery phase. This is a collaborative session that sets the foundations for the rest of the project.

Building a good brand identity or online experience requires research and lots of information. We need to define what you do, who your users are, why you do it and how you’re different. This information acts like a compass that guides in the right direction for the rest of the project. We can constantly refer back to our findings to validate and test our design decisions.

Our clients often find the discovery phase just as useful as we do. It gives them clarity about their brands core values and a clear sense of direction.

We can facilitate discovery meetings in person or we can send you over our Core Workbook to complete in-house and send back to us. We will provide an example workbook, completed from a branding agency perspective, to show you the kind of answers that we’re looking for.

We start with a quick introduction to our core process and an explanation of the difference between branding and a brand identity. Although the brand identity is one of our deliverables, we want to ensure the brand is strong at every touchpoint. The next stage is about getting the background information. We try and understand the problem that you solve for your customers/ future customers and what makes you stand out from your competitors. We then move onto the brand attributes exercise, this is a quick-fire brainstorming session in which we ask you to shout out words that you think answer 6 key questions best. We use these words to build a positioning statement for you.

Next up are user profiles. This is the most important part of discovery. We create imaginary user profiles for three of your ideal customers. We talk about their problems and decide how to solve them.We approach each design decision from the perspective of these users to ensure we’re designing for the right people and solving the right problems.

The session is concluded with a brand archetype exercise in which we decide which personality best suits your brand.Once finished, we take the workbook away with us and use all of our findings to formulate a strategy summary, a positioning statement and a set of stylescapes.Stylescapes are boards, similar to mood boards, that arrange a series of images, colours, typography that we think could represent your brand. Each one explores a different style. The chosen direction will become a roadmap for the style of the rest of the project.We’ll be uploading articles next week to explain the benefits of going through the discovery phase with a branding agency for both startups and established brands.