Creating Brand Boards That Make Your Clients Say WOW! | Faye Brown | Skillshare

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Creating Brand Boards That Make Your Clients Say WOW!

teacher avatar Faye Brown, Faye Brown Designs

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction to the Class


    • 2.

      What We Will Cover


    • 3.

      Why Create a Brand Board?


    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.

      Color Palettes


    • 7.



    • 8.

      Submarks and Stamps


    • 9.

      Graphical Elements


    • 10.

      Patterns and Textures


    • 11.



    • 12.

      Other Elements


    • 13.



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About This Class

A brand board is an at-a-glance document that your clients can refer to showing them all their visual brand elements in one place - this can help with brand recognition and consistency across all platforms and printed material. Detailing your client's colour palette and typefaces along with other brand elements can be an invaluable addition to your design packages. 

Since introducing brand boards into my logo design packages I've had potential clients contact me asking about my brand boards (not just - can you design me a logo?). And when I send on the finished brand boards I've often got the desired response of WOW! 

I'd like to share with you my process and the elements you could consider adding on to your brand boards for your clients. If you are ready to up your design game please join me in this class...

Meet Your Teacher

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Faye Brown

Faye Brown Designs

Top Teacher


Hey Everyone! Thank you for checking out my classes here on Skillshare. I’m a designer and animator living in the English countryside with my young family. After completing a Graphic Design degree in Bournemouth, I started my career working in London in motion graphics designing and art directing title sequences for TV and film. 10 years later I decided it was time to go freelance, shortly before we started our family. 

These days I work on a variety of projects focusing on my passions of typography and branding. Following the success of my first Skillshare class - The Art of Typography I’ve created a range of classes all aimed to help you guys in different areas of design, typography, branding, creativity, photography and freelancin... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction to the Class: Brand boards act as a mini form of brand guidelines for your clients to follow, helping them to achieve visual brand consistency across all their printed material, social platforms, photography, and even potentially, their personal style. As branding designers, adding a brand board to your packages will help you stand out from the crowd and give your clients that extra while factor. I'm Faith Brown and I'm a Branding Specialist based in the UK. You may have taken some of my other classes on Skillshare, I've got a lot of classes on design and branding. In some of those classes we've spoken before about brand boards, but this class goes a lot deeper into all the elements that you could and should include for your clients, and how to really create an impact that will have your clients recommending you to their friends and colleagues. This class includes a free template that you can download as a basis for your brand boards. Since introducing brand boards into my package, I've had people contact me literally saying, I've seen a brand board you did for my friend, can you create one for me? They aren't starting the conversation by asking for a logo, they want the full package, the logo, the color palette, the typography suggestions, the sub-marks and more. If you're looking for ways to up your design game, then please join me in this class where I will share with you my process for creating a brand board that makes your clients say, wow. 2. What We Will Cover: What we will cover. First, we will talk a little bit about why and when you should create a brand board, and then we will look at the various elements to include that you might want to consider for your clients. This will probably change based on your client, so you might find that you pick and mix what you offer depending on the project. The standard elements you will no doubt include are the logo, along with any logo variations, color palette, and typography. Then, depending on your packages or clients, other elements you might want to consider would include submarks and stamps, graphical elements that include favicons and page breaks, patterns and textures and photography suggestions. I'll show you lots of examples and case studies of brand boards that I've created for my clients along the way. Your project brief is to create your own brand board for either your own business or a client of yours. Then, please share them in the project gallery. If your clients allow, you might need to ask them. Ask any questions that you need to. Also, if you would like to enter a competition to win a year's membership to Skillshare, then please share parts of your brand board on Instagram with the hashtag creating brand boards and tag me at, fayebrowndesigns. If you like, you don't have to tag me, but I'll get notified if you do, so I can check it out. You might have to split up the elements into multiple pics like this one or maybe do a little video scrolling through the brand board instead, that could be pretty cool. If you would like to join my dedicated Skillshare Facebook group, please do on the link below in the notes section, and feel free to ask any questions in that group or post your progress. Let's dive in. 3. Why Create a Brand Board?: Why and when should you create a brand board? Big companies will have a brand style guide developed alongside any new branding project. There are some great examples in the link that I'm going to put in the notes below if you'd like to see some more, but I'm just going to flip through this one for Dell to give you an idea of how detailed some of these can be. These style guides can be many pages detailing when and how to use a logo, what space to give it, how not to use it, color, typography, how to use the look on various materials, so the list goes on. These guides can be very in-depth with the big brands. They need this as there will be designers working globally on all elements of the brand, and keeping that visual look consistent is key to how that brand is portrayed on a visual level. Smaller companies don't need such a detailed guide as they might only work with a few designers or they might create their own material using programs like Canva. This is where a brand board can be priceless. It's not a big daunting book that they might not fully understand as non-designers, but an easy-to-follow guide. Not too long ago, I would design a logo for a client and send them all their files and send them on their merry way. Then, I'd see these logos all popping up online and elsewhere and just thinking, "It shouldn't be used like that," or "Your colors are all over the place," or "What is that typeface?" I started offering brand boards where I would start by just giving them small, easy-to-follow hints to help them to take their visual brand and ensure there was some consistency across all the platforms and formats where they might visually need to represent their brand. This started with very simple advice on color palettes with the color values and topography suggestions, which typefaces to use and where. I might then also add a few little extra pointers on how they could develop that visual look. This proved really useful for them. They could send their brand board onto a web designer, for example, who would have a good starting point on what colors and typefaces to use. The best bit was their visual brand started to look more consistent and recognizable. Let's think about colors. Let's say, a company's main brand color is yellow. In fact, yellow is seen in 10 different tones. This is not helping with the brand recognition. Some brands can literally own a color. Post-it sued Microsoft when they use the trademark canary yellow for their digital version of stickies. Tiffany and Co. trademarked their famous robin egg blue. If Tiffany and Co. use lots of different shades of that blue, that brand recognition wouldn't be so strong and recognizable. The same can be said for typefaces. If brands have a family of typefaces that they constantly use, people will start relating that to their brand. Think about how you might scroll through Facebook. Quite often, I might stop if I recognize that colors of typefaces from a certain brand that I like and follow. Also, giving your clients a brand board is really useful. They might take it on and use it in Canva. It's just having those guidelines in place that they can then go off and make some of their own graphics that complement everything else in their brand. The other great thing about brand boards is passing onto other designers, so maybe a web designer or a packaging designer, and it can really help tie everything together and keep everything on brand. I now include brand board for all my design packages. Depending on what your clients need, they might not all need patterns, for example, but a basic level, it should include a logo, color palettes, and typography. That's where we're going to start, but just before we do that, I want to talk a little briefly about layouts. 4. Layouts: Layout. When I first started doing brand boards, I'd keep to an A4 or US letter size board so the client could easily print them out. I've now started doing the long, thin brown board styles that you often see on Pinterest. There's no right or wrong approach. If you know your client is the type who would like to print out their board and stick it on a pin board so they can always refer to it, then keeping it within printing scales is really useful. A lot of my clients are in the online space and a lot more and quite happy with the long, thin designs that allows to fit more elements. The template I have attached, they use a simple US letter layout and a more detailed long, thin layout. I've saved these as PDFs, and ideally you would open them in a vector-based program like Illustrator or InDesign. The layouts themselves are pretty easy to create, and there's so many great examples on Pinterest, so take a little time to be inspired by their examples. I always say, don't blatantly copy someone else's approach completely, but be inspired by others and find what works for you and your clients. 5. Logos: Logos. Starting with the logo is obviously the most logical way to begin a brand board. It introduces the visual brand at the [inaudible] go. By the way, if anyone would like to check out my class about how I approach a logo design project, then please do check out this one, I'll put the link in the notes below. What do you include logo wise on a brand board? For the purposes of this class, we will assume you've got your logo all designed and potentially a secondary logo version, maybe it's a different layout, a text-only version, or a round old design. You might not have a second version and that's okay, it all depends on the initial logo design as to whether a variation will be useful for the client. Usually, I at least provide my client with a logo version that works on white and possibly one on a darker color too. This example for a company called Neon Digital Clicks is a good example of using the same logo layout, but different versions for light and dark backgrounds. Think about the most appropriate way to name the secondary logo version if you have one. This example for Laura Porter Interior Design uses a central design and a horizontal layout for different applications, but essentially it's just the same logo and type, so naming it secondary logo or logo variation would be totally appropriate. Other options are a text-only version, and you might supply the brand icon as a separate file too. For this particular project for True Horizons, I ended up supplying a submark version which we will come onto later. That's a few options for you to think about logo-wise. Consider use on light and dark backgrounds, useful alternative layouts and text only and brand icon versions. Your project might also need an option with a tagline or strap line underneath too, depending on the projects needs. One little word of advice, don't bombard your client with every logo version possible, it'll end up being confusing for them, just think about their needs and where are they likely to use their logo and figure out the best option for them, so don't go overboard. You might also want to give your client the logo in different colors. I would advise not to, if you've got a color palette of like six colors, maybe just choose those main two colors that you would provide your logo with, don't do like six color versions for all of the logos, because that can weaken the brand recognition a little bit as well. 6. Color Palettes: Color palettes. Color palettes is so important to get right as part of the visual brand and can really help with brand consistency as mentioned earlier. I won't go too much into the importance of color here, but do check out my other classes if you're interested, as I do have one all about color. How is it best to present your color palette with a brand board? Previously, I've sectioned off the color palette into a primary palette and secondary palette and given all the color values in RGB, CMYK and hex codes, sometimes Pantone colors too. For this project for Neon Digital Clicks, my client wanted to use all the Pantone neons, for example. I also give my clients a little recommended usage visual to show them which colors should be the main brand colors and use the other colors as accents or minimally. For some projects, I've broken this down further, like this example for, it's important to figure out what will work best for each project and client. You'll see loads of inspiration on Pinterest. But often I do find that people don't break down the usage enough. They may have a color palette of five or more colors, but no idea which ones to focus on to create that instant brand recognition. I've now streamlined the written info I include on my brand boards and tend to keep the color values to hex codes only as its quite easy to then find out the RGB and CMYK values from that. If a client has specifically asked for Pantone colors, I would prioritize those. I've also started naming the colors, some quite imaginative names. There's a site called clueless, which is helpful for this, but sometimes I just make up my own. This also makes it easy when you save off the other elements to name them by their color. For example, the circular submark here for Natasha Pickup I supplied in a variety of colorway, so it was easy to name them. I'm going to come back to Natasha's brand board when we talk about photography as her brand photographer used this board and the color palette to carry through into her photo shoot, and her results were really great to see. I wanted to show you one more example whilst talking about color. This is a brand board for Acanthus PA services. My client very much loved the idea of a purely gray palette. Finding the right tones of gray that work together without looking too cold was important here. But I just want to show you that not every project requires a very colorful palette. 7. Typography: Let's move on to the third essential element which is topography. I'm going to show you a couple of examples here starting with the brand board for Kelly Rogers who was a copywriter. The logo is a very clean and simple type approach. I let my clients know what their logo typefaces most of the time if it's not customized. As in that, I haven't designed it from scratch. Here I've used the Saturday typeface for signature name and Gotham Black for the word copywriting. There's a lot of debate about not using that typeface in other parts of your brand as people then think it can weaken the logo. I'm not totally against it myself. I think if people can find a good balance, it can be okay. But if you want to play on the safe side, then don't share those details with your client and just give them options to complement the logotype. Again, think about their needs. Are they on Instagram a lot? What would work best on their posts? Do they need packaging? What will work best on the packaging? I've given Kelly some suggestions of using Din Condensed Bold for large text on her Instagram post and Sugarstyle Millennial for a more personalized feeling. Then at the bottom of the brand board, I show how that could work in social posts. I wanted to share with you a much more detailed topography guide. I showed you elements of true horizon previously. I worked on this project with Katzi from Brands and Brave, who is a brand strategist and also runs courses that helps her clients craft a brand perfect for them. Nazi runs True Horizon, which is a company that advises businesses on sustainability strategies and ways to be more environmentally aware. When I was briefed that there might so much info and background to go on including first draft colors, I was in a really good place to just start with the design aspect of that brand. Once the brand board was finished, they were sending it straight onto the web designers to create the website. Although I went into a little bit more detail on the brand board where I've shown an example of a paragraph and how the hierarchy of type could work, I also ended up creating a much more detailed topography guidelines document. I've gone into details about point size, relating to leading. That's the line spacing, for example. This won't always be necessary. If your client is a bigger business and many of designers will be working on their visual output, you might want to consider creating something like this to send on or if they are likely to produce a lot of printed material, this could be useful too. But on the whole, most of my clients just need a few pointers and suggestions for a family of typefaces to use and when. The main takeaway here is to find out what your client needs to help them in the best way possible. At this point, we've covered the three main elements to include on your brand boards. This would be a good starting point to start populating your own brand boards and uploading them into their project gallery. Now we will move on to the other elements you may wish to include in your brand packages. These will be dependent on individual client needs. Let's start with submarks and stamps. 8. Submarks and Stamps: Submarks and stamps, submark is interesting an interesting one as they could sometimes be seen as another logo version. But a submark is something that would probably be used once the logo was already seen, let's say on a flyer, the logo might be on the front, but then you could use a little submark on the back. Or maybe they are used on social posts where the logo is already prominent in a Facebook header or Instagram bio image, etc. It's a way of reinforcing the branding without repeating the logo over and over again. These are two good examples for Natasha again, where I used her initials to create these submarks. Then I provided the circular ones in a few different colors. Again, I used a similar concept for Kelly Rogers copywriting. Submarks could also be made into a watermark design for overlaying on images. Stamps are also useful for this watermarking idea, especially with photographers or using over photography. I created this stamp for True Horizon. You can see how I've taken the concept of the logo, which is actually all about horizon lines and the earth. This line itself really worked with circular stamp design. I've included the name and tagline within the stamp, but in the examples I'll show in the imagery section, you can see how I suggest to crop the stamp. The text doesn't need to be read. It's just another visual device to tie all your branding together. 9. Graphical Elements: Graphical elements. The addition of graphical elements will really come down to the client. I designed this logo for a security company called LMS, and then designed five additional icons that they could then use within their website or printed materials to help them section of the areas of their business. Sometimes you might lift out elements from the logo to create icons like this example for The Stables Fitness Studio. These could be useful to use on a website where you would want to talk about a specific area of the studio like yoga classes. Your client might also ask for a favicon that appears in the search field on the website. Hopefully you can just about see this one here for True Horizon. Another useful device is page breaks or paragraph breaks that clients often find useful. As a rule of thumb, I usually supply these types of files as PNGs or JPEGs so they are easy to use online as opposed to a vector-based file like an EPS. It's easy to supply your clients with every file type going but it can get overwhelming for them. You might be starting to think, how do I organize all the artwork for my clients? So I thought it would be useful if I just show you my file structure. Here's Natasha's files. As you can see, I've got separate folders for main logo, secondary logo, colors, icon, submarks, stamp, imagery, photo, and Facebook headers which are little bit separate to the brand board. If we look in main logo, I've supplied it with the goldtext and tealtext, and I've given it as an EPS file and a PNG file and then I've given the logo on teal in a square format and also in a rectangular format. That's the same that I've done with the tealtext here. So I quite often give my clients their logo in a square full max. That's quite useful for social media. Then in the secondary logo. This is just a more horizontal layout that's quite useful for the top of the website or something like that and again supplied it as a EPS, JPEG, and PNG. In the colors I've given her the gold texture, but if she was going to print, then you'd speak to your printer about how she's printing that out proper gold. I've also given her a extra color palette file, which went a little bit more into detail with the CMYK and RGB values. That's not always necessary. It's just a little something we could add on. The icon, I've given her the brand icon as a JPEG and a PNG. The submarks, these are just PNGs and could be useful for overlaying on images or in a website. The stamp, that's just a white stamp here that you can overlay on imagery. I've given her textures, which I got from Unsplash. I've kept the name of the artist on there, so she can easily find that as well and a little bit of an info, readme doc there. At the time she didn't have her new photos done, so I just tweaked to an old one of hers to bring in some of the brand colors and I changed her necklace to pink and things like that. You wouldn't normally have to do that. I did a couple of Facebook header images for her as well, just as a little bit of an extra. I supply her with the brand board. So that's how I would lay out the files and send them on just so they're not completely overwhelmed with all these different file names and file types. This just gives it a little bit of structure. 10. Patterns and Textures: Patterns and textures. Patterns can be a great visual addition to a branding package. They can be used as backgrounds on websites, as part of packaging, or textiles, or on stationary. Not every client will have a need for patterns, but if you think it would be a useful addition to that kit, then I'd really try to convince your clients to have a pattern or two to play with. The pattern can be a stand-alone design or one that take elements of the logo. This pattern for Wet Banana, who's a company that make funky, eco-friendly clothes and projects, very tongue-in-cheek. I've simply used the banana logo to create a repeat pattern design. My client went on to use this on the back of her labels. This project for a company called Hygge Me, I've taken elements from the logo to create a large pattern that could be printed on tissue paper for wrapping up the products. The patterns I created for True Horizon are quite different from the logo, I'm using the idea of contour lines on a map, it emphasizes her brand values of being kind to the Earth and eco-friendly. It's a great subtle pattern that can be used as a background image, and depending on which color choice, can be quite subtle. Think about what your clients would use their patterns on, and then think about what might work best for them. Whether that's a loud bright pattern or something that might work well as a faded background with text on top. For some clients, textures might be useful for them, especially to use as backgrounds on social posts or printed material. You can create your own textures or find some suitable photography to point your clients in that direction or supply direct to them. I often use the site, Unsplash for royalty-free, decent imagery. As you can see, just typing in the search term textures, brings up quite a lot of cool imagery. Bear in mind how these textures will work as part of the family of visual brand elements. Don't just stick in a few textures for the sake of it. Think about how they will fit in with the rest of the brand and the brand values. The image we have suggested for Natasha uses a mix of subtle light textures and more celebratory ones, such as the light refractions and pinky clouds. The colors work with our brown palette. Now the great thing about a brand board is, if something doesn't fit with the overall aesthetic, it will stand out like a sore thumb on a brand board, and you can easily change it before sending on to your clients. One more little quick tip when it comes to pattern design, pattern design is a whole job in itself. It's not always something that can be done very quickly. Make sure that you've allowed for this in your quote when you initially quote for your client and that project. 11. Photography: Photography suggestions. The final element I might include is photography. I usually find a few examples of photography and how that could work for my client's brand. These examples could include a headshot, an abstract photo, a style of photo they might post on Instagram or a photo captivating that ethos and values. This is an area where you could go into a lot more depth and create a more detailed photo style guide, but for the purposes of brand board, I tend to keep it fairly simple. On the subject of photography, I wanted to point out how useful a brand photographer can find a brand board. Natasha passed on her brand board to her photographer, Blanca Gal, who said, "For personal branding photo shoots, we have to work around the branding colors and the overall message of the brand, this is why it's so important to get a clear and strong design from a graphic designer, it makes our job much easier. We take a look at the main elements of the brand and the main colors and incorporate them into the session, designing around the overall brand style, from outfits to backgrounds, props, and locations. The overall feel and impression has to be aligned to create strong visuals. It does not mean that the client has to wear their brand colors, but we have to include the colors in every single image, many times in the background or using props. I was pleased to receive not just the color pallet, but the logo design, in this case, but also recommendations for the style of the photos that my client needed. This is how we create everything on brand. The color harmony will be solid and consistent everywhere, not just on the website, but on every social media platform as well." I hope that helps thinking about how a brand board can be pushed onto other people like photographers and website designers and how it can just help tie everything together. 12. Other Elements: Other elements, these are pretty much the elements I tend to include in my branding packages. Other elements you might want to consider would be social media icons, packaging mock ups, depending on the client. Additional illustrations. Just to show you a quick example, I created this logo for Skills4Sports. It had a version with and without the characters. I then also separated the characters and supplied them on their own as well. Other elements. Although I would encourage you to create this slightly separate from brand board is social media templates. Showing you some examples here for pixie digital coms. Some of these are really simple, allowing for a lot of text to be added. Your client might need presentation templates. Again, depending on your client, perhaps an animated version of the logo and how to use it. Your client might have vehicles they want branded, so bear that in mind as well. These are obviously a lot of elements to consider for each individual client. Just think about the items that are most important and useful for them to have on their brand boards. Now's the time to start finalizing your brand boards and what elements you will include. Prioritize those that are most relevant, and remember to not go overboard as it's often not necessary. I'm really looking forward to checking out your boards and please do reach out if you need any guidance and join my Facebook group. Don't forget, if you like to enter the competition to win a year's membership to Skillshare, upload your boards to Instagram using #creatingbrandboards and tag me @fayebrowndesigns if you like. The closing day for entry is the 18th of December 2020 and the winner will be announced just after Christmas. 13. Conclusion: Like I've mentioned since introducing brand boards into my packages, I've had such good feedback and recommendations and got a lot of new clients from it. It's a real good way to ensure that your clients are well-equipped to take their visual branding out into the world and trying to keep everything look like it's part of the same family as well. Please do use this class as a guide and think about ways that you might be able to add your own unique twist into your brand boards. I've often find this really difficult because you're working with clients that have got their own aesthetics and colors and brand values. Then to put your own brand values on to those brand boards can be quite a tricky one to balance, but let me know if you can do that with any of your brand boards because I'd really love to see them. Please do post them up in the Project Gallery and I will give feedback to as many as I can. Let me know if there were any elements that you found difficult. Maybe you found the submark difficult, for example. Let me know if these changes the way that you work. I'd love to hear your feedback. Please do keep in touch and happy branding, everyone, and hopefully see you in another class soon.