When you're starting your own company or studio, branding is key! If it were possible, we'd all enlist the help of a talented design studio like Each + Every. Since not all of us can, we're bringing their expertise to you! Alex Catanese and Ryan Hammond, Principals with Each + Every, are the masterminds behind Ticco's brand identity and name. With a little help from their team, they tackled a few questions to offer up some insights and pro-tips.
Ticco: We enlisted the help of Each + Every when Ticco was still just an idea. How do you think that’s impacted our brand identity and the way we're perceived now?
Each + Every: One of our favorite aspects of design is working collaboratively with our clients from the very beginning of a project. There have been many times where we’re asked to bring in an “aesthetic treatment” once the project has been developed, and found that these projects are never quiet as invigorating (or successful). It’s often overlooked that design can play a key role in the formation of a project or an idea.
Working with Ticco from the very beginning allowed us to not only provide a visual brand that spoke to the people you hoped to reach, but also to understand why connecting with other professionals is so difficult in this industry, and to help shape a product (the Ticco Platform) to network in new ways. At the end of the day though, we are making an informed hypothesis about how the branding needs to work based on our research and relationship—so being able to launch and then continue learn from members what they want Ticco to be is really important to us.
T: When you develop a brand, how do you ensure that it represents and aligns with the client’s values?
E+E: Being able to collaborate at an early stage will help any designer to more deeply understand the goals and values of their clients, and will ensure that the designer and the client have a meaningful and productive relationship. Imagine if in the realm of architecture a client attempted to “design” the whole building themselves, and asked the architect to simple apply aesthetic treatments to the exterior at the end. First off, I wouldn’t trust the structural integrity of the building—and second, it would undermine the collaborative relationship between client and designer, minimizing the greater potential of the building.
T: How can a company’s branding translate into developing a client base?
E+E: It’s easy to conflate quality branding with successful marketing and promotion. While a good brand and steady growth can go together, brand design shares the same fundamental goals as any other form of design: to clarify ideas. A good brand should enable prospective clients to understand you. It should make clear what defines you and why you’re different than your peers or competitors.
If you are in a season of professional growth and want to grow your client base, aim to maintain harmony between the strength of your brand and the ways in which you promote yourself. That balance is key - don’t focus too much on just one or the other. An effective brand identity can do a lot for you, but it can’t do everything.
Most of all, if you want to build a loyal and steadfast client base, be honest. Avoid leveraging a contrived brand identity to make you or your company seem like something you’re not. It’s alright to be aspirational, but don’t be deceitful.
T: What advice would you give to someone who is starting a new studio and wants to create the impression of legitimacy, but doesn’t have the financial resources to bring on a professional just yet to help with branding?
Do what you can on your own.
Create your business plan, research who you might want to work with in the future, get to know your industry, talk to other entrepreneurs about their experiences, and seek legal advice if needed. Anything you can do to lay a solid foundation will always pay off!
Don’t use competition websites.
One thing we would advise against is participating in any logo/brand design websites which are based on competition. For our industry, this undervalues designers and only pays the ones who “win”, rather than paying people for the work and labor they put in. Even if you’re limited financially, seek out and research ways to pay people fairly.
Many times (not always though), pricing depends upon the scope of the project, and can be scaled back. Work with an artist or designer to create a quote, and be willing to scale back the work you're requesting to make the project more affordable. Create a budget for yourself, and consider what you really need to get started, or use your small budget to get a quick consultation from a professional. Lastly—don’t promise “exposure” or a great portfolio piece. If you need to save more money to launch your project or find different revenue source, it is completely worth it so that the people you hire to collaborate with you can do their jobs and support themselves or their families.
Look to your friends.
Utilize the close relationships you have. Perhaps you have a friend who’s an artist that you can pay for an illustration, or a friend who does freelance design to create a typographic system for you to use on social media. All that said, we love Jessica Hische’s model, and there are a few ways to go about this. Either way, if you're working with friends, remember:
- Work with a real budget and to have them treat you just like any other client.
- A designer or artist may be willing to work for less or for free because they’re your friend. If so, repay the favor by giving them complete creative control and flexibility (and a coffee or dinner now and then!)
- It’s possible to mix a client/friend relationship, and to limit rounds of work, give them creative control, and get them a nice bottle of whiskey. Either way, it’s important that a contract is written and these terms are agreed upon.
Interested in keeping track of what the E+E team is up to? Follow Alex and Ryan here on Ticco, and their company IG account if you want to feel super left out of all the cool happenings in Kent, OH. Thanks to the team over at Each + Every for their help with this piece!