Over nearly two decades of building brands at LimeRed, we’ve seen everything from getting it right on the first try to crashing and burning and losing the whole job. We’ve tried just about every approach to nailing down what gets us to the first scenario faster and better so we can make clients happy, and well, crash less often.
We’ve done intakes, surveys, and interviews to try to get the truest information upfront. We’ve set expectations for how we’re going to work together as a team and with clients. And we’ve had to make a LOT of creative decisions, sometimes tough ones. You might have seen that we’re launching RediSets, our first product. This has been a long time in the making (nearly 20 years), but we wanted to get it right, and we’ve learned that good things take time.RediSets is LimeRed’s branding process — in card form. It comes with videos, worksheets, and a series of exercises designed to get to what is true to a brand quicker, more intentionally, and have fun doing it.
Someone once told me that our process is the thing that sets us apart, and it should be hidden away to protect both it and us.
I’m not into that.
I want as many people as possible to have access to a better way to build brands, without having to pay huge agency fees to get it.
I want designers to spend more time developing ideas and less time doing revisions.
I want clients—people—to feel seen and heard.
I want agencies to develop brands that are for their clients, not for their own portfolios.
I want businesses and organizations to build their brands with purpose and intention.
There are two major obstacles to great branding (we know these all too well) and how to get past them:
1. Too much ideation, alone.
When you begin, the options are endless; that’s an intimidating place to start. Every color, every style, every idea is on the table. And it’s fun to spend time sifting through what you do and don’t like. It’s fun to explore, and we’ve seen countless times clients and designers getting stuck in exploration.
Why? Because it’s fun to try on looks, but after too long you start to lose sight of where you were headed in the first place. Or maybe it wasn’t ever truly clear. The dangerous part of exploring too long is that it becomes a singular activity, devoid of input from peers, clients, people who will actually use the thing you’re making.
Listen, I used to be a big control freak, and I could see the solution even before the contract was signed. I’d get hung up on a concept that was mine alone. Or, if I couldn’t see it right away, I, too, would get lost in the exploration. We get it — we’ve been there countless times in countless ways. Either too many ideas or not enough. It’s tough to do your best in either of those situations.
I know it’s hard, but you have to work collaboratively with an open, non-judgemental mindset to uncover the best ideas. RediSets is structured to help teams draw lines around what is possible for a brand. It starts with RediSets Brand Foundations — the core elements that make up a brand — from the very reasons it exists to the personality traits that make it unique.
RediSets Creative Direction then helps to narrow in on the visual look and feel of the brand in the real world, and encourages everyone to tell stories and give personal context about what different images and colors represent. The most accurate direction arises from the perspectives of everyone involved; creatives can then focus on developing these key ideas into creative concepts that the client is already on board with.
2. One perspective dog and pony shows
Did you watch Mad Men? Wasn’t it the worst and the best at the same time? I’m sure most people’s perceptions about agencies come from that show, not for better but for worse.
The most irritating thing about that show to me (besides the racism and patriarchy), were the creative team presentations — told by a man, completely from his perspective, sometimes wildly off-base and inconsiderate of the people who would be using the thing they were advertising. It was infuriating to see how the creative team would only think about themselves and their experiences, no one else’s.
RediSets offers a different way of working — a highly collaborative one. As the designer or brander, your job is to guide the discussion throughout the process, not to have all the ideas. The ideas can come later, after the groundwork has been laid to get to the brand’s true purpose and vision. Remember, it’s their baby, not yours. You’re there to make it the best it can be for what they want and what their audiences want, not impose your personal views onto it.
Including diverse voices influences the work in gender, race, age, experience, and language to make the end product better.
Not a designer? This process is designed to work for you too. It’s made for people who want to collaboratively and efficiently create meaningful, purpose-driven brands. Branding should be for everyone, not hidden behind agency walls. The more voices and perspectives, the better the work.
Let us know what you discover.
Check out and order RediSets here: redisets.io