So you have a logo. Great. Maybe you got it from 99 Designs or maybe you hired Wolff Olins to do it. The big question is – now what? Design firms often view the moment you are handed the logo as the end of the project/engagement until the next big piece of work is needed but that’s a wrong way to look at it.
If done right, the hand-off of the actual brand is the beginning of the relationship. The sad fact is that a logo by itself will do nothing. The tool without any further action provides no value. A hammer needs nails and someone to swing it in order to build things. You have to do something with it in order for the piece you paid for to generate value. So, you can pay $5,000 or $50,000 for a “brand” but without a team or a strategy that creates action you might as well forget it.
As designers, I think we should focus more on what happens with the tools we create as opposed to spending all our effort on the creation of the tool. It’s not as sexy, it is measurable (which is scary) and it’s much easier to fail but this is where things are really won or lost. By checking out after the initial design we miss the real-life data as to what works, what does not and we fail to see where things need to adapt.
It’s much cleaner to create a mark, design a standards guide and establish this as gospel. The thing is, standards and examples are of little benefit when you run into the complexities of real world implementation. These situations present themselves over months or even years. If all a client has is a standards guide that does not answer a specific question they are the ones who then shape the evolution of the brand. I think it’s much better for the designer / group that created the piece to stay engaged and shepherd it over the long run.
It’s messier and the methods of working like this are still evolving but it is without question more effective. If we are going to survive and grow we need to follow what is effective and design around that.