Building a Brand Identity for Startups

Building a Brand Identity for Startups

Hey ya,

As passionate design and branding people (yes we are more than just developers!), we thought we would share how we came about developing the PPLCONNECT branding identity and user interface. For all those just starting up, this might provide some insights on how to go about building your own visual identity.

Since launching our new brand and user interface, we have received a lot of emails and coverage on our unique and fun design (thank you for all the love!). Here is the PPLCONNECT Design process we followed under the guidance of renowned Branding and Design Guru, Pierre Nolin – founder and former President at Nolin BBDO, to build a beautiful user experience and identity. First things first, we started by clearly articulating our brand vision and values, namely:  To drive change with new technological solutions centred on customer needs that have a positive impact on people, and built upon the following values: Creativity, Positive Impact, Change, Growth, Diversity.

With this common vision, we then identified our target user groups, which we identified as: Young Professionals / Social Youth / Digital Omnivores

From there, we completed a comprehensive user analysis to fully understand our users and their needs. We built boards that spoke to each of their psychological drivers and behaviour, while highlighting relevant and inspirational design for each. Our goal was to immerse ourselves into the psyche of each of our target groups to better design our user experience accordingly. We then, identified commonality between our target users (through powerful themes that spoke to each of them) and built a set of success metrics and requirements for our brand identity.

For example, we knew our logo and visual identity would need to answer the following:

1- Be a living & breathing brand that brings to life our values
2- Be adaptable to its environment
3- Create long-term relationships with users
4-Be innovative in the way our branding is implemented

This was the foundation for our first iteration of logos. Check out the presentation for some early concepts that we tested with users and then finetuned and evolved, all the way into what eventually came out as the final PPLCONNECT identity (what we here at PPLCONNECT like to call the PPLCONNECT Pin).

logo gif for presentation

Going back to our original success metrics and requirements, we knew we would need to have a logo that could adapt and be customizable by users. This is where our Visual Genius, Sebcat, came up with “the grid” concept. The grid consisted of building the PPLCONNECT logo on a predetermined symmetrical grid, on which the logo would be built. This gave us the flexibility to build our logo in 3D and be able to fully adapt the logo to any size, pattern, colour, etc. Too conceptual? Have a look at what we mean in the presentation where we not only draw out the grid but also showcase examples of how it can be used to customize the logo. You can also notice how the logo can be visualized in 3D from 2 different perspectives, in which the PPLCONNECT letters are actually floating inside the Pin shape. This is one of my favourite parts of the logo design.

With the shape of the logo now fully defined, we started playing with colours, mixing them together to create our own custom blends of popsicle colour themes. We launched the brand with 5 custom shades to start, with the idea that we could continue evolving the brand identity with new colour themes as we grow. This colour pallet also made its way into our user interface design in the app and web client – more on our UI & UX in the next article of this design series.

Kimberley Castlemain

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