Welcome back, brand-curious folks! Today we will get into the exciting phase of styleboards, essential to an efficient logo design process. This step can also help inform a much larger brand look and feel than just the logo, so it's definitely worth the investment of your time.
By the time we've arrived at this point, several decisions have been made by the client that have already begun to shape their brand.
1. They've recognized the need for a branding exercise (new brand or rebrand). Yay!
2. They've selected a designer based on the designer's previous portfolio of outstanding work. They may have made this decision based on exactly the type of project they're looking for OR based on a style or process they can see from the designer's portfolio.
3. They've gone through a rigorous competitive analysis process that has helped them see where the other entities in their space are pegged on several key metrics and answered some questions that help the designer understand what they want to convey about themselves.
Now, it's time for the designer and the client to break through one last barrier: most likely, the client is not a designer! Shock and awe! Duh, this is why they're here.
Styleboards provide a way for non-visual thinkers (clients) and visual thinkers (designers) to arrive at a common language for talking about visual things and the emotions they evoke. Due to the process above, we can assume that the client at this point trusts the designer they've chosen to provide a curated set of visuals for them to discuss together, and that's where the rubber meets the road.
Conscious of the list of words we ended up with at the end of the competitive analysis, I start haunting some places on the web that I know house some great design: Pinterest, Behance, theDieLine, and the now-defunct For Print Only showcase (which, hallelujah, is still searchable). I collect things that may not seem terribly relevant—for one, they usually have one or fewer things in common with the project at hand. In the church example, I found some Christian iconography and stained glass windows and things like that—on topic, but not the same type of project. I also found some things that were branding, but not church. I don't really limit this process much, and the farther afield the source images can be, the better. Building styleboards of only other church logos would have been unhelpful and unoriginal.
With a stockpile of at least 30-40 images saved on my desktop (or you could do this on Pinterest if you're like that), I start sorting them into folders based on the personality words. For Well of Hope, the first board is called Intelligent, Questioning, and Gospel-focused. The second is Caring, Outward-focused, and Accepting. The third is Growing, Modern, and Hopeful. You can see the three styleboards below. Note the different feeling each ends up with, based on color, use of line and photography, texture, typography, and more.