How do we identify anything in this world? By its logo or other branding characteristics, of course. Think about it. Even if at first glance you can’t see the word “Burberry” on a particular purse, you’ll know it’s a Burberry bag if it’s comprised of the traditional Burberry plaid-like print. If it deviates from that particular print and goes with some random print or just a simple, solid color, then you probably won’t know who made the bag. The same goes for Chanel. Without those two interconnected letter C’s, it would be difficult to tell Chanel from a lesser-known brand.
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And, if the same goes for Burberry and Chanel, the rules certainly apply to you too. So, what’s the next course of action? Find a tried-and-proven, top-of-the-line graphic designer or bust. After that, get your logo out there in people’s faces and market, market, market.
Still, it can be confusing and a pain to know where to start. But, here are a few pointers that can help you define your fashion brand identity.
Seek Professional Help
Yes, seek professional help…really.
As aforesaid, unless you are a certified graphic designer, it is advisable for you to do your research and get with a logo designer who knows what he or she is doing. You can even hold contests pitting the best illustrators and designers against one another for a reasonable cash prize; may the best person win; you’ll likely walk away with a phenomenal emblem; that’s for sure.
If you prefer to go the easiest route, it would be best to connect with a fully staffed collective of designers who have years of combined experience that offer the whole nine yards. You’d want a group who understands today’s technological climate, and if they happen to have some comprehension of fashion branding, that’s just the icing on the cake. Check their reviews from past clients, and if they pass the smell test, go for it. Make something special together. Without an exceptional and suitable logo, you pretty much have no authentication as a merchandiser or service provider.
Some would argue that this isn’t step one. Customarily, it would be a great place to start because we are visual creatures. Having that big, beautiful logo done will push you to get your brand out there in the open for all to see.
Who Are You Fitting?
Now, ask yourself. Who are you speaking to? Who’s your target audience?
Are your clothes designed for straight sizes? Plus sizes?
Perhaps you’d like to aim for the entire world, but that’s not feasible. If you could get everyone on the universe on board, you’d undoubtedly be richer than Jeff Bezos, easily. Unfortunately, aiming for everyone is always a horrific mistake because it’s too ambiguous. Even Mr. Bezos’ universal and beloved Amazon caters to one group at a time, thus all of the many shopping categories available.
Once you know your target audience, you can start targeting them with promotions, products, services, ideas and the like. But, without a target audience, you’re like a ship without a sail, a loose canon with no direction. In other words, a disaster that’s going nowhere—fast.
Additionally, as you obtain reviews from your satisfied customers, they consequently become little ambassadors for you, recruiting others in their corner of life to partake in your products, as well.
What’s Your Narrative?
Once you’ve determined your select audience and made it very clear who you’re committed to, you should figure out exactly what it is you’re trying to say, and say it.
What narrative do you want your apparel to tell? That’s the question.
Do you create contemporary dresses perfect for springtime shopping sprees with longtime friends in the always-fashionable city of Aix-en-Provence or perhaps breathtaking wintry wear for a hot date in the freezing cold and majestic Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France?
Although fashion’s aesthetic interpretation is up to the wearer, it is a must you choose the narrative. Plainly put, are you selling romanticism? Minimalism? Utilitarianism? Feminism? Art?
Now, live by it and die by it; and on the other hand, leave wiggle room for minor adjustments and evolution as the times and society changes.
The point is, follow the motto: This is my story, and I’m sticking to it.
The Honorable Mentions
Consider these final questions, and incorporate them along your identity branding journey.
What’s your tagline? Think catchy and correlated, maybe even ask a question.
Take Capital One, for example. They are a financial institution. Financial institutions deal with money. So, their current tagline is, “What’s in your wallet?” Makes sense, asks a question and is memorable. That’s a superb tagline.
Brainstorm without overthinking it, and you’ll have something killer in no time.
As discussed, you should’ve discovered your narrative; the story you’re telling through your clothes. But, lastly, what is your narrative voice or tone? Happy, silly, edgy, dry humor, health-conscious?
Whatever it is and whatever you do, be genuine and true to yourself. Embrace it—and sell the heck out of it while you’re at it.
Images by Isabella Sanfilippo for Design SCENE