The basis of any brand is its identity. It’s the clothes that it wears. How you dress your company depends on who your audience is, what your goals are, and how you want to be perceived. With so much choice available to customers now, getting this right is integral — it’s the first impression any customer will get, and it must be dead on. Get it right, and you’ve got yourself an instantly recognisable brand that will stand head and shoulders above your competition.
Not yet ready to dive into a full-scale branding exercise, but you still want some advice on how to improve your brand? We can consult on your brand, and pull together a comprehensive plan for how you could approach making changes. Remember, company perception alters with every brand change that you make — our consultation gives you piece of mind that any changes you do make, are the correct ones.
Much like a garden, your brand needs constant attention, whether it’s adding new elements, making some changes, or pruning the dead wood. A brand audit can be the perfect way to assess what you have currently, and evaluate your position in the market, establish its strengths and weaknesses, and begin to understand places where improvements can be made.
Sinking an investment in your brand is one thing, but over time, without constant vigilance, there is the potential that it is diluted. Not deliberately usually, but particularly as you grow, you add more voices to the team, and things can start to stretch and warp from the conception of the brand. This can lead to it becoming something it was never intended, and all its value suddenly whittles away. We can provide guidance on how to protect your brand so that this doesn’t happen, and suggest best practices for ensuring its longevity.
Branding is a complex web of visuals and experiences, tone and personality, all combined to create the look and feel of your company. Brand guidelines are a documented set of rules and standards that communicate how your brand should be presented to your audience. They ensure consistency, and act as a fantastic tool for demonstrating what the brand stands for to internal stakeholders and customers alike. They can even be used as an onboarding tool for new employees. We can create succinct and easy to follow brand guidelines that will encapsulate your entire brand identity and ethos more manageably.
Before a brand can be established, it’s important to consider the unique selling point of your company, your customers needs, your place in the market, and your competition. Our comprehensive discovery process starts with evidence gathering, research, and analysis, and concludes in a written report and presentation of our findings and recommendations for how your brand should be conceived. Think of this as the secret sauce to creating brands that last.
Gone are the days when rebranding signified the death knoll for a company. These days, it’s smart business practice to reassess your brand at regular intervals and make changes to ensure you continue to serve your audience. It could be as simple as rejigging some minor components of your brand, or as big as renaming the company and starting over. Our process takes the pain out of rebranding, ensuring that you base any changes on sound evidence and branding expertise.
No one size fits all, but consider brand onboarding to be an opportunity to go on a tour of your brand with the goal of bringing people — be that team members, stakeholders, investors, or customers — up-to-speed on your brand. Often used when new brands launch, or during rebranding, our onboarding process ensures nobody is in the dark about your brand.
So, you have a brand — now what? Well, it could be the best brand ever conceived, but if nobody knows about it, it won’t make a jot of difference. Our communications strategy framework provides understanding of the messages you should be communicating, the target markets you should be identifying, and the mediums most appropriate through which to reach your audience.
Launching a new brand can be a daunting prospect. How do you make the most of this key moment in your company’s lifecycle? Our brand launch process is two-fold: first, we plan the launch, ensuring no stone is unturned. Then we support you to implement the launch at the precise moment that it will generate maximum exposure.
Your company should have a personality and a perspective. Without it, how can your audience affiliate with you? Branding is visuals and aesthetics, but behind these are a set of principles that guide your company’s voice, the words it uses, its style, and its tone. Our brand voice workshops are perfect for establishing all the communicative aspect of your brand.
The best brands have a plan, goals, aspirations, and an understanding of how to reach them. This starts with a mission statement and a set of values — the guiding principles of the company, if you will. Mission and vision have such a monumental impact on a brand because they are what sets the tone for everything that comes after. They’re also notoriously hard to get right. Take the heavy-lifting out of establishing your mission and vision by allowing us to do it for you.
Any materials that support the sales process are marketing collateral. Think brochures, displays, magazines, coffee table books, direct mail, websites, social media content, blog posts, and white papers. Our designers are experts at creating materials that tell a supporting narrative for your sales ambitions.
Explaining your new website, CMS, or app is difficult to do in words. Creating them without first exploring all the possibilities is expensive. Prototyping is a happy medium — a halfway house between that initial idea and the fully completed product. Our designers can create interactive prototypes that will act just like the real thing, but without the requirement to build the whole experience. It lets you visually understand a product, bring a developer up-to-speed on exactly what you need, or act as a proof of concept before going the whole hog.
User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design are the backbone of digital design. Together, they are used throughout all aspects of a digital product’s development, usability, and function. Without these clearly defined, a digital product may end up being too complicated to use, or miss out on key features that the user expects. They also ensure that digital norms, such as navigation, are implemented in a way that a user would expect. Our UI and UX design process ensures you miss nothing out.
Need something designing for the screen? Social media content? Interactive documents? Entire website? Fully interactive app for iOS or Android? Our digital designers can create pixel perfect experiences and materials that will wow your audience, clearly communicate your marketing goals, or reach new audiences.
Print is not dead. In fact, as more and more of our lives move into the digital realm, there is a certain serendipity to receiving something in traditional print. Our designers are well-versed in what works best when it comes to print, from the materials that should be used to the way a piece should be presented.
Part art, part science, animation and motion make any design sing. Our animation designers have a keen sense of the physics of movement, and an eye for beautiful design, and can lift any piece to the next level.
Need something polishing up? Have an old piece of marketing that could do with a revamp? Have a collection of assets that require some love and attention? Artworking is the bedrock of sound design, and we just love taking elements and creating something exceptional from them. From typography to colour to photography to entire documents, we’ve got you covered.
A website without a way to update it is a pretty sad state of affairs; forever it will look and say the same things. That isn’t any way to treat a website! Our website development comes with a fully integrated content management system built using Craft CMS. Craft is a fully customisable system that provides designers and developers the maximum flexibility to build a website that is bespoke to you, but also with an ease-of-use that is unparalleled by any of the other options available. You won’t need to know any code, you’ll just be able to get on with maintaining your website the way you want to do it. Magic.
If you’re getting a new website, not only do you want to know that it’s going to look great, but also that it works efficiently too. Rather than use multiple different services to build your website, work with us, as we can design, build, develop, and launch your website all under one roof. Our developers and designers work in lockstep to create digital experiences that won’t look like just another identikit, off-the-shelf template.
So, you’ve got your website designed and built, but now what? Do you now need an understanding of hosting to get it up and running? Not at all! Our deployment process will get your digital experience online in a flash. It continuously monitors and updates to ensure it never goes down, it can be scaled in the future if required, and it hunts down any bugs or other nasty surprises before they become a problem. We work closely with Digital Ocean to ensure your website, app, intranet, or digital experience is in tip-top condition 24⁄7.
Not sure if your current website or app is working as well as it should? Allow us to run A/B testing on your digital experience, to eke out those areas where conversions could be improved, drop-offs could be prevented, or engagement could be improved.
Firstly, we gather as much information and evidence as we possibly can. This is the most important step in the process as it gives us the information we need to start making decisions about what is best for your brand.
Once our research is complete, we then prove whether our ideas will work or not by sharing them with your employees, your customers, and your stakeholders and asking them to provide feedback. Based on what they say, we either press on, or we go back and refine. Nothing gets past this point until we know it’s going to work.
Next up, we take all the evidence we’ve gathered and start to form concepts for how your brand could be built. You choose the one that works best for you.
Then, and only then, do we start to build your brand. The process is the same for new and refreshed brands alike, for new companies or existing companies. One process, all based on evidence, delivered by designers and developers with decades of experience. Let’s get cracking.
Marketing is asking somebody on a date. Branding is the reason they say yes.Ryan Taylor — Umlaut
So you’re not sure if you need a brand building? Well ask no more, the answer is undoubtedly yes.
Once upon a time, all you had to do was slap a logo on a business card and you could call it done, but these days your brand is everything: it’s what sets you apart, it’s what gets you noticed, it’s what determines how your company looks and how it acts, it’s how you interact with your customers, it’s how you answer the phones or write email, it’s what you put on a uniform, your website, or the side of your vans, and it’s how you’re perceived by your customers, your competition and your industry.
Not much then.
So yes, it’s absolutely about superb design, about beautiful logos and compelling marketing materials, but it’s also the backbone of your business and the logic behind why your company exists. Equal parts art and science. And these days, it’s pretty much non-negotiable.
If you’re going to put your precious company and its brand in the hands of a designer, then you’re going to want to be certain that they actually know what they’re doing.
You see, plenty of designers like to think they have a doctor-patient relationship with their clients, whereby they diagnose a problem and provide a solution, without any input from the client, customers, or competition. They know best, you see, so why would they need input from anybody else?
We think that’s bollocks.
If you’re going to build a brand like that, then you may as well put all your profits on black or let a tarot reader define your five year plan.
Instead, we base all our design decisions on evidence. It means that you’re paying for our expertise, not our assumptions. Every decision we take, every move we make (there’s a song in there somewhere), can always be traced back to a piece of evidence, analysis, or market research, because we believe that the best designs, indeed the best brands, are built on the back of sound decisions, not ones made up on the back of a fag packet. Couple that with beautiful looking design aesthetics and a sound strategy, and you’re onto a winner.
Umlaut is a team of designers, developers, and creatives that has a passion for businesses and the people that run them. We appreciate that your company is a precious thing, so it’s always an honour when business owners place their faith in us, and give us the opportunity to create and build brands that have the potential to change lives, increase prosperity, and add to the fabric of society.
We use an evidence-based approach to design, bringing brand strategy and graphic design together to create beautiful, well-oiled brands that will stand the test of time, increase brand awareness, and support all your business goals and aspirations.
Most importantly though, we’re an uncomplicated team, originally hailing from the foothills of the Pennines — if there’s one thing Yorkshire folk are known for more than anything, it’s their honesty, integrity, and direct approach. There’s no jargon or bullshitting with us — just good honest design that gets results. We can’t wait to meet you.