Branding: the what and why
Well hello there, so nice to finally meet you all. You could say I am just a bit excited about posting here for the first time. It’s been a real journey the last year or so and my branding has played a big part in that. So, surprise surprise, today we are on the very topic of branding. I will be sharing with you my branding journey and also talking about what branding means for your wedding day and why it is so important.
So when you think of the word ‘brand’, the first thing that comes into your mind is probably a logo. But a brand is so much more than just a logo. A brand is made up of numerous elements, including colours, textures and fonts, that work together to create a cohesive and consistent look, feeling, or personality – if you like. And so establishing a brand for your wedding is just as important as establishing a brand for a new business.
If you have already started planning your wedding, then chances are you have already started branding. Just like professional graphic designers get called in to help develop brands for businesses, more and more couples are calling on wedding designers to help define the brand for their own big day. But there’s no reason why you can’t do it yourself.
One of the first and most important things I tell all my couples to remember throughout the entire planning process is that your wedding day is all about you and your partner, no one else. Deciding what it is that you want to do will ensure that your day feels personal and truly authentic. I believe that your wedding day should be an extension of you as people, your home, your loves, and what truly makes you, you. It is the one opportunity you have to tell you story, both visually and emotionally.
When I talk about branding a wedding, I am not talking about coming up with a theme (alas!) but about identifying signature elements (often visual) that reflect the couple and work with their chosen venue. Then it’s just about weaving in these small details throughout the celebration. I hear it all the time. It is hardly ever the big, big budget weddings that are the most memorable, it’s almost always the ones that simply have the personal touches and that make you good. The magic is always in the details!
The branding journey: What does it look like?
I am sharing with you a brand board that I put together. This is a little bit of where it all started and the inspiration behind the brand, and also a little bit of where we ended up.
The process that took me from beginning to end is remarkably similar to the process I would go through with one of my couples in designing (and effectively branding) their wedding. This is how it goes:
1) Inspire me
This is where it all starts and a Pinterest board is a great way to collect your thoughts and ideas. Think colours, textures, styles, or anything that resonates with you. For me it was important to look to the world beyond graphic design, and for you it is important to look to the world beyond weddings. Inspiration can come from anywhere, or anything. An outfit, the smell of your favourite perfume, a pattern on a cushion… see where I am going with this? But because your wedding is about the two of you, it’s also important to identify shared interests – favourite songs, perhaps places you have travelled. Almost anything can be translated into a concept or ‘brand’, so think outside the box.
2) Get personal
After compiling visual inspiration I also answered a lengthy questionnaire that dug deep into my business values and goals. This would translate into my first consultation with a couple, which I always do face-to-face. It is important for me to get a really good understanding of what they are like as people, what they love, and what makes them tick. That way, when it comes to it, I can design a wedding that is the perfect reflection of them as a couple.
3) Make a mood board
The first piece of material that I received from my designer was a mood board and colour palette. Taking into consideration everything that she had seen and read, this was meant to illustrate, you guessed it, the ‘mood’ of the brand, from which all elements would then follow. Getting this part right is so important as it is the identity that everything feeds from.
For my couples, I similarly come up with a unique design concept in the form of a mood board which includes a wedding colour palette. This won’t include just images of previous weddings you like the look of – there is no originality in that. Sure there may be ideas when it comes to the decor, flowers and styling but it is really meant to encapsulate a feeling, and you’ll know it when it feels right.
4) Style it out
The next step was using the mood board to design all the brand elements. That included the logo and all it’s variations, typography and patterns and what I got at the end was a brand style guide. Something that I can now refer back to when I create anything for the business, be it social media imagery, stationery, or even blog posts 🙂
At this point in the wedding design/branding process I would then put together a similar mood board for each and every element of the day, so you can start to visualise what things are actually going to look and feel like.
5) Apply and achieve
Now the fun begins. It’s time to use that branding kit and get busy designing a website, mapping out those all important stationery pieces and finding a voice. There are bound to be some hurdles along the way but it is always reassuring to know that you have that guide to come back to.
In the wedding world, now it is really time to get stuck into the planning. So with my couple we have defined the brand and come up with a signature look, even figured out those all important personal touches. Now we just need to decide how exactly they are going to be incorporated. This is the clever part. And seeing as I am all about achieving ‘The Understated Wow’ you can probably guess what I am going to say – don’t overdo it. You don’t need to go crazy, plastering your custom motif onto everything and anything that you can find, or displaying every form of pineapple you can find to elude to your summer tropical vibe.
Branding is all about choosing one overarching concept and sticking with it, so it runs smoothly through all the defining elements. But to be effective you also need to incorporate things in an organic and authentic way so that everything fits together and moments flow nicely from one to the next.
Get in touch to find out more about my kick off inspiration sessions to delve deep into your wedding brand.