Design Process Work

Find out how I conceptualized and created a business to business brand identity and then executed across multiple design projects.

The finished BtoB marketing brochure is pictured here:

Design Brief

Design a business-to-business marketing piece that will be mailed to local banks, encouraging them to service their mortgage loans through our company. (Our company being a family-owned mortgage lender) 

  • Describe financial & customer service benefits for the potential client

  • include strong branding that ties in with traditional company logo

  • include a strong element of history, highlighting the number of years the company has been in business

  • communicate the fact that the company is well known in Kansas City

 

Here's how I approached this project. I'm going to list my reasoning for each part of the project, from logo variation, colors, shapes, type, pattern, message, and iteration.

 

1. Logo Transformation

Original company logo in use since 1951.

Original company logo in use since 1951.

The company had used red & black as its brand colors since 1951. The logo had been in use since 1951, as well. It was very important to keep the same logo. However, it didn't seem to fit with the business to business feel. I used a muted red (new B to B brand color) & when referencing the company on the front of the brochure, I went with the logo font stripped of the actual logo. I then created a single color logo to be used in conjunction with the company address and contact info. 

 

2. Color Transformation

It was important to change the traditional red color the company had used in the past. The reasoning for this being, the red was extremely vibrant and bright, and couldn't be used in large quantities. The half toned red (pictured left below) was a pinkish color, that couldn't be used in large applications either. 

On the left, colors used for business to consumer pieces. On the right, colors used for business to business pieces. Pure black and different builds of black were used in both.

On the left, colors used for business to consumer pieces. On the right, colors used for business to business pieces. Pure black and different builds of black were used in both.

Quote from Henri Matisse, notice how the large application of bright red comes out as slightly orange.

Quote from Henri Matisse, notice how the large application of bright red comes out as slightly orange.

3. Layout

My first bit of inspiration for this project was to use strong diagonals and triangles. I wanted these elements to frame the information on the page, as well as add visual interest. In my very first draft, I spent a long time just laying out the triangular shapes to span across the folds in the brochure. These were also going to act as navigational elements, and eventually, be developed into a pattern. As you can see in the example below, I was really only concerned with the color, shape, and opacity of the triangular shapes on the brochure. The layout of these shapes changed only minimally from concept to completion.

Outside of brochure, First draft of layout with diagonal shapes.

Outside of brochure, First draft of layout with diagonal shapes.

Inside of brochure, first draft of layout with diagonal shapes.

Inside of brochure, first draft of layout with diagonal shapes.

When determining a layout, you have to take the information into consideration. Here is my final layout, as well as where I planned on putting the information:

Final layout, outside of brochure

Final layout, outside of brochure

Final layout, inside of brochure

Final layout, inside of brochure

 

4. Type

I'm really not sure what I was thinking when I picked out the first fonts for this project, but I experimented with some hideous options. Primarily, I thought I could achieve the historical look of the brand with a serif font- it ended up looking incredibly dated. When I switched to sans-serif Futura, it looked modern and clean. I was still able to pay homage to the history of the brand with the muted, grayscale cityscapes overlaid in the triangular patterns

Fonts used in the first draft looked very dated. secondary font didn't flow with primary font and was far too condensed.

Fonts used in the first draft looked very dated. secondary font didn't flow with primary font and was far too condensed.

Futura Heavy and Book really cleaned up the look of the piece and started to pull it together. The historical element of the brand was still achieved with muted KC cityscapes.

Futura Heavy and Book really cleaned up the look of the piece and started to pull it together. The historical element of the brand was still achieved with muted KC cityscapes.

 

5. Copy Text

I really dove into the copy in this project because I believed it was important to communicate the message more clearly and succinctly. In the copy paragraph I developed a cadence by pulling the most important phrases from the beginning, middle or end and highlighting those.

(L) finished copy text. Organized the main selling points of the service.  (R) Things got a little messy when working on the copy. I have several versions completely marked up by different people in the company. We were able to revise to reach the finished copy on the left.

(L) finished copy text. Organized the main selling points of the service.

(R) Things got a little messy when working on the copy. I have several versions completely marked up by different people in the company. We were able to revise to reach the finished copy on the left.

 

6. Iteration

We were able to reach a final finished product that I was very pleased with (pictured above). Since the piece was successful and the look & feel seemed to really resonate with the brand, the next step was to iterate and create MORE B to B pieces! I'm going to share my thought process as I began to create more similar pieces.

Here's one of the pieces of the B to B project: a business card. As I pulled from the brochure, I grabbed the irregular triangular pieces and put them on the business card. I then realized that the irregular triangular overlays worked better in large applications, as a background or general layout. That's where I first got the idea to turn these triangles into a small pattern, pictured on the right hand side of business card below.

Equilateral triangles positioned in rows looked neat and organized on the card. They worked great as a border or accent.

Equilateral triangles positioned in rows looked neat and organized on the card. They worked great as a border or accent.

The triangular pieces did NOT work on the very small card. It looked cluttered.

The triangular pieces did NOT work on the very small card. It looked cluttered.

To recap, my final brochure turned out like this.

Stay tuned next week to check out my process in iterating this piece into several Business to Business deliverables, pictured below!