Your logo is not your brand. Your company name isn’t your brand, either. Neither are your website, business card or magazine ad. Your brand is: the voice with which your company speaks to the world, the sum of all of the aforementioned parts. And if that voice is inconsistent in its message or substandard in its presentation, well… it’s hurting your business. It’s dragging you down.

Sure, you can make up for a poor brand. You can work that much harder to engender trust in prospective clients with better customer service, higher quality products, etc.. But why would you want to have to? A strong brand can give you a tremendous head-start in the process of creating trust – it says, without you even being there to back it up, “This company has got it covered. You’re safe in choosing us.”

Okay, so we’ll save the full branding spiel for another article, this is supposed to be giving you a run-down of your options (and here’s a little secret for those of you who aren’t newsletter subscribers yet: the October edition contains a killer “Branding Startup Kit” deal designed for new companies). So here’s the list, complete with a rating of importance for each deliverable, using a color scale to indicate the importance of each…

Company logo   { critical }

This is a no-brainer. Your logo is the cornerstone of your brand, from which everything else in this list emanates. If your logo is solid, it will forever stand as a beacon of how strongly and in what direction your other branding elements radiate. But if it’s poor, then it will forever condemn your brand to mediocrity; even the pieces which are otherwise well-designed will suffer from its presence. If any one marketing element is worth a significant investment for your company, this is it. Don’t skimp on the logo.


Okay, so what’s
the process?

Have a startup company, or just need to create a new brand for your existing company? Step into our office, we’ll get you fixed right up.

Budget and timeframe permitting, the logo is always the first place we want to start. After a meeting (in person or on the phone) discussing your mission, goals and target audience in depth, we’ll get started creating the first comprehensive designs for your logo. Once you’ve considered that and given us feedback, we’ll make the requested changes and send over a revision. A few refinements later, and voilà! Your company now has a visual cornerstone that you can be proud of. We’ll email you a batch of logo files in various formats and color modes for your future use.

Next up: the website and business card, which we can design in parallel (we’ll be working on the latter while you’re considering the former). Another discussion will be needed to establish the plan of action for each, and the process is similar to the one above; comprehensive designs, changes, refinements and output. You’ll need to provide the relevant content for your site, of course (text, photos, video, etc.), and we can help you with the selection and editing of those elements. The site will go live on completion (and can immediately be submitted to major search engines) while the card printing and shipping will take around a week.

And then… well, then you show all of your friends and colleagues! That’s really all there is to it. A branding project like this can take as little as three weeks from start to finish (though the time frame is usually closer to twice that). So if you’ve been dragging your feet, assuming that it’s a lengthy, difficult process, consider yourself disavowed of that notion. Brand ho!


Website   { critical }

Mobile computing may be the next big thing, but folks, you still have to have a website. And if you have to have one, it really ought to look great and tell your story with aplomb. Again, this site is representing the competence of your business. Is your site awkward and mumbling, or is it a sharp and confident?

Business card   { critical }

Here again, the future-elite may scoff at the necessity of an eye-catching business card, but cards serve a very handy purpose in a very socially-accepted manner: they give people a pocketable reminder that you exist and how to find out more. And in this day and age, beautiful cards are inexpensive both to design and to print, making it all the more absurd for you to not be carrying a good one around.

Style guide   
{ highly recommended }

A great logo may be the beacon for your branding direction, but a style guide is the actual road map for it. Style guides dictate, among other things: acceptable logo usage, colors, fonts, other visual elements, and sometimes tone of voice in body/ad copy. For large multi-conglomerates they can be very large and incredibly detailed, but a minimal style guide is a wise and fairly inexpensive investment in the consistency and strength of your branding future.

Social media presence, blog, email newsletter   
{ recommended for most }

No need to point out how large the shadow of social media has been cast these days, you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone’s Twitter feed or (ahem) company blog. For many businesses, this area really can’t be ignored; anyone trying to gather eyeballs in an industry that allows for celebrities and fans, for example, would be foolish to do so without making use of these hugely popular outlets. Granted, there are industries for whom these spaces aren’t really worth the effort (a morgue isn’t likely to drive business with their Facebook fan page), but those represent an increasingly shrinking minority. One or more of the above outlets is recommended for nearly every company.

Company brochure   { recommended for some }

The question of creating a printed brochure is less clear-cut than the items above. A well-designed brochure can say a lot about how well-founded your company is, and to what degree you value style and presentation. But what do you actually do with it? Sure, it can be effective when mailed to prospects and is a very easy piece to hand over in person when you don’t have time to deliver your full sales pitch (or just serve as reinforcement after the fact), but those opportunities are becoming less frequent as business moves more online. Angled End has a brochure that we’re very proud of (check it out »), but it has proven to be of limited use in generating leads or securing clients. Still, we are glad we have it waiting for us when the need arises.

Stationery   { recommended for some }

In most design/business conversations, this would be grouped with “business card,” but for the purposes of modern branding options, it’s simply not going to be as necessary. Having well-designed, press-printed stationery is a great way to further convey the strength of your company, but in the age of electronic communication, it’s simply of limited use. Angled End has beautiful stationery. Ask us how often we get to use it.


“I can’t say enough about the exceptional & affordable work that Whit Gurley & Angled End Identities have performed for my business. In a field that is notoriously stuffy, working with Angled End is like opening the french doors.”


~ Nathan Friedkin,
Owner, Friedkin Digital

That’s the end of our short list for branding options, but far from the full list of branding opportunities. Direct mail, giveaways, advertising, apparel, event booths, kiosks, promotional videos… there are countless opportunities for you to solidify your brand in the minds of potential customers. The most important thing is that the brand itself is strong and consistent. And in case it wasn’t obvious, we can give you a hand with that. 😉


Whit Gurley
Whit Gurley is the owner and
chief design geek at AEI.