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A Holistic, Mindful Approach to Design

Design
When it comes to branding and design, most business owners want a solution that is fast and long-lasting. But design is about so much more than concept and execution. In my work with our clients at Marbury, I’ve found that a holistic approach to designing and planning a brand that lasts takes time.
Author Jessica Comingore

When it comes to branding and design, most business owners want a solution that is fast and long-lasting. But design is about so much more than concept and execution. In my work with our clients at Marbury, I’ve found that a holistic approach to designing and planning a brand that lasts takes time.

As designers, we ask our clients to really dive deep and take the time to get to know the “why” of their business. In doing so, I find that we’re able to create a brand that is longer-lasting, designed with the audience in mind, and true to the business’s objectives.

But to do this, we have to be mindful… and we have to make the time.

Taking time to develop your brand

As a business owner myself, I know that time is a precious resource. But as a designer, I also know that great design doesn’t happen overnight. When you start the branding and design process, I can’t stress enough the importance of making the time to slow down, be present, and stop to consider:

What is the end goal for this brand? What is the story I’m trying to tell?

At Marbury, we use an extensive branding questionnaire that covers everything from why you got started to what distinguishing characteristics set you apart from your competitors. All of this is aimed at helping you get to the root of your “why,” and we’ve found that it’s invaluable in the process. Of course, you can also ask similar questions of yourself—or with your team—to make sure you’re really understanding your “why” and where you want your brand identity to take you.

Questions like these can be difficult to answer, and they do take a lot of time. But without those questions answered, it’s impossible to build a strong foundation for your business (branding or no branding).

The problem with uninformed design

I know that easy and fast design is available to virtually anyone who wants to start a business. A quick logo and a color palette and you’re good to go, right? Not exactly. Business owners who are looking to create a lasting brand intuitively know that these fast solutions are a pointless exercise—and generally a wasted investment.

Why? Because there’s little to no research behind it, and it doesn’t actually serve the owner, their business, or their audience. Holistic and informed design, on the other hand, gets to the “why” of the brand and the business to ensure that every decision is being made through that lens. In our work with clients, we’ve found that the mindfulness behind why you start your brand is just as important as the execution, if not moreso.

For this reason, it’s incredibly important to get focused, be mindful, and really get to the root of your business and what you want your design and branding to say about it.

Before you want to launch a business or brand, you have to put in the hours to get the answers you need. The more time you’re willing to give yourself in this process (and your design team, if you have one), the better.

Thoughtful questions that influence design

When you take the time to get to the root of your story—your “why”—everything about the branding process becomes much easier. Once you’ve worked through identifying the end goal for your brand, as well as the story you’re hoping to tell, the decision fatigue can significantly lessen.

That being said, it’s still work.

Once you have a better idea of the “why” of your brand, you can begin to branch out into stronger design questions. When designing your brand, you’ll begin to ask yourself:

• Is this design evoking the feeling I connect to my brand?
• Is our story being told through the design?
• Does this design successfully speaking to our target audience?

Once you get to this point in the design process, you’ll know it’s about more than just aesthetics. It’s about what story you’re telling, and what you want your audience to feel when they think about your business.

Meditating on design

Many of us meditate, do yoga, try to not eat meals in front of a screen, go for walks, listen to podcasts, and do any number of things to get inspired and focused. We give ourselves the time and space we need to focus on our creativity and inner lives. In my opinion, design should be no different. You should give yourself time to get inspired, to meditate on what you really want, and to filter everything through the lens of our businesses’ “why.”

At Marbury, we’ve found that longer timelines help us work with our clients on an in-depth level to make sure we’re getting to the root of the brand, and honoring that through our design. We know that great things take time, and I hope you do, too.

If you want to build a brand that lasts, you need to take the time. It’s worth it, I promise.

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