Branding by design

PWN Barcelona continues to host a fantastic series of workshops focussed on sharing experience and expertise to support members and non-members with growing their business, whatever their professional circumstances may be. The impressive line up of speakers have a knack for closing the gap between professional and personal, too, so there really is something to be gained for everyone who attends. And, of course, it’s not really limited to a female audience.

Clean desk with pink and gold accents

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

Fabric or fate?

For me, branding and brand strategy is absolutely inclusive of design. Design is an all-encompassing word that can be used in many different contexts. We’re all familiar with the term ‘by design’. And while we might treat design as something creative that we can own and control, design also has strong connotations with the concept of fate. Perhaps everything really has already been mapped out, or, designed, for us.

So, we can actually use the term quite broadly to describe everything that sits under the brand strategy and content marketing umbrella. Your branding and your content inform, or design, your sales funnel, and ultimately, your commercial success. Branding really does have that great an impact.

Business principles from a design point of view

This month’s PWN workshop, ‘Business principles from a design point of view’, was facilitated by Donna Kelley, one of the founding members of PWN Barcelona and owner of Kelley Interior Design. The session gave me an exciting new perspective on how I approach brand strategy with my clients. I came away with ideas and a set of tools to adapt Kelley’s approach to interiors to my approach to client projects as well as my own business, not to mention plenty of inspiration to introduce a splash of contrasting colour into my own home.

Form + function

Kelley explained the importance of defining what works, and what doesn’t, as well as identifying the conditions in which you’re working. What can and can’t you change? I particularly love the analogy between Kelley’s insights about form + function and the stark relevance to branding and content. In essence, something that looks beautiful might not function. Equally, something very functional can (often) not be beautiful in the slightest. Too many of us become so blinkered by our ‘day-to-day’, that we rarely take a moment to look at our product or service from anyone else’s perspective. Despite claims we know our audience. We sit down in front of our laptops and all of a sudden we lose the ability to think like consumers. Then we give ourselves a little well-earned break to browse Zara’s AW17 collection. I mean, what can I say?

Try thinking about your brand assets, including your content, in the same way you’d look around your home and think about each individual item you’ve chosen to decorate it with. Is each piece lovingly and thoughtfully handpicked? Or are you a serial hoarder? What’s purely form, what’s purely functional, and what is actually beautiful? Suddenly, compiling a content inventory just became a whole lot more engaging.

“a problem that is well explained is close to a solution”
Looks + feels right

I’m not going to give everything away right here. But to close, Kelley demonstrated with a selection of beautiful interiors the importance of flow. Everything needs to fit together, otherwise it just looks and feels wrong. And flow can be achieved quite easily with the right amount of repetition. For us branding bods, we’re talking about my top priority: consistency. Clean lines don’t stifle comfort or creativity. Clean lines always feel better than clutter. A little contrast can definitely work and help differentiate your design from something otherwise quite muted that blends in with what everyone else is doing. But consistency ties it all together, and just makes it feel ‘right’.

Clean and modern staircase

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Some of you will know this isn’t the first time I’ve written about design. Thank you Donna for creating a rather aesthetically-pleasing space in my schedule this week – it was truly refreshing. And well done to the PWN Barcelona volunteer committee for making this series of workshops happen. I can’t wait to be a part of the plans for 2018.

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