One of the most common questions we get about the branding is, “How long will this take?”
When you’re evaluating the branding process it’s a fair question, especially if you’re a start-up endeavor. Without a brand, it’s impossible to make marketing and business decisions.
Anything from, what material should our store front use, to what message are we going to use to bring this product to market is affected by branding.
Recap of the Branding Design Process
Before we dive into timeframe expectations, it’s important to overview the process from start to finish.
For us here at Top Hat, this is our magic formula for bringing brands from ideas to masterpieces:
- Kickoff & Vision Casting
- Naming (if needed)
- Visual Identity Creation
- Visual Asset Creation
- Website Design & Development
- Go to Market/Communications Strategy
An Estimate of How Long It Will Take from Our Experience
I took an average of all of the full brand development projects we’ve worked on since 2013. The average amount of time it’s taken from Step 1 until completion is 3.76 months.
Obviously there’s a lot of leeway there from various projects. Some projects have taken two months, while others have taken eight months. The factors influencing each of those timeframes are entirely unique to the organizations and circumstances.
There are a lot of elements at work that influence the range of time.
Here are a few factors to consider:
It Depends on You and Your Team
First and foremost, how long it takes depends on you and your core team. Every step and item of the branding process—from naming to logo design to website mockups—requires your team’s consensus and feedback on. From our perspective, branding is and should be a collaborative process between the branding design team and the client. Without that collaboration, we’re going to miss the mark.
Step 1 of the process is the Kickoff & Vision Casting. This requires either an in-person brainstorm meeting—with follow-up conversations—or a conference call. It’s important for all of your key team members to be there to contribute their perspective and ideas.
If your core team is constantly unavailable for some reason, or hard to wrangle around the table to make decisions, then this will delay the branding process.
It Depends on the Branding Design Team You’re Working With
The team you’re working with will undoubtedly influence how long things will take.
Let’s say you’re working with an agency whose sole goal is to bring on as many clients as possible. By the time you get around to that project with them, guess what? You’re one of countless others—just another number amongst the pile.
It’s important that the branding agency you’re dealing with has bandwidth for you. Remember how I mentioned your team needs to be readily available for the process? It goes both ways. The branding agency needs to be readily available for every step as well.
The branding process is truly make or break, so you want to make sure it’s done perfectly the first time around. Every detail—from the name to the visual identity to the website—will have a real influence on your bottom line.
It Depends on the Deliverables
I’m referencing marketing tools, assets and brand ambassadors here. Common deliverables include:
- Corporate identity materials
- Social media platform graphic design
- Creative pieces (posters, t-shirts, mugs, etc.)
- Signage (window decals, storefront signage)
- Website design and development
The type and number of marketing tools, assets and brand ambassadors will have a big impact on the total time frame.
For example, if you’re building a brand from the ground up, it’s important for a website to come from that process. Considering that, the kind of website you’re evaluating can influence the time range of the total process. If it’s a simple, one or three pager then it would take less time than a complicated, functionality rich website.
My Advice on Time Allowance
Your brand is everything. It’s important to get it done right the first time. It can take time to do so, especially depending on the above factors.
My advice is to not procrastinate—give yourself plenty of time to go through the process. Cultivating your brand should be at the top of your list—not at the bottom.