The branding process

Graphic design & branding

What are you having?

The brief was a branding and design dream.

King’s Cliffe Brewery was a new business that needed branding plus individual product designs, packaging and marketing material.

We have a designer who appreciates the differences between porter and IPA, knows his Fuggles from his Citra and has experience of the complexities of food and drink labelling, so was the obvious choice for leading this design and branding job.

Start with a clear brief

After detailed conversations with the brewer, the brief was established.

Getting the brief spot-on is crucial to the success of the end design. People often say design is subjective – but we disagree. Design is the process of bringing a clear message, a feeling, a personality, a statement of “this is what I am and what I stand for” to life. A clear brief prevents subjectivity and ensures the end results meet the objective.

To get the perfect brief, we delve as deep as we can into the product, the brand, the target audience and the objective of the design. Questions, questions, questions.

Know your audience

Here, the target audience was beer drinkers who wanted an alternative to the mainstream ales, were interested in craft beers and the different styles and tastes that could be achieved with various hops and they supported (good) locally-produced products. They were keen to try new beers but wanted a quality, rather than a quirky, drink. The sales territory was relatively local but the brand needed to be scaleable.

We needed a design that gave stand-out at the bar and on the shop shelf while promoting a clear brand identity across the range and – most definitely – avoided the ‘humorous’ style of craft-beer branding and labelling that was so prevalent.

Process over preference

With the brief firmly nailed down and the knowledge that the branding was to be applied to bottles, pump clips, clothing and vehicles, as well as the usual stationery and social media, the design process began.

A number of designs were worked up, each one showing how it would look in each placement – because it’s not as simple as taking a logo and putting it in different situations. Packaging, websites and clothing are all very different applications – but all have to be accommodated with one design.

Once we were sure that the designs fitted the brief and would work in very aspect, we presented the concepts to the client. Supported by the rationale, process and thoughts behind each design, there ensued lengthy discussions and debates. An important part of our role here is to keep everyone thinking like the target audience – personal preferences can steer things away from the original brief.

Showing the design in-situ is vital. Does it stand out? Do the brand values come across? Is key information legible?

And then we reach the final design.

This is the KCB branding which has become firmly established and well recognised on pump clips and shop shelves around Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Rutland. Customers and awards have been won through the initial appeal of the branding, which is followed up by the excellent product.

And, like all our design work, it started with a blank sheet of paper, a clear brief and a talented designer.

Clear product name, description & visual clues to the beer inside
The P51 branding references the WW2 fighter planes based at the local airfield