Lindsay Mariko, founder of Lindsay Mariko Design, emphasizes the importance of brand identity and design for a company’s success. She started her career in Fashion Communications, working on a thesis project for a coffee table book. After graduating, she worked as a marketing manager for a Toronto-based business, handling graphic design, social strategy, and influencer connections. She transitioned to full-time freelancing in March 2020. Mariko’s passion for branding and brand identity design stems from her passion for achieving people’s dreams and fostering creativity. The goal of branding is to create something original, with no restrictions on its creation.
Your brand’s reputation is crucial to the success of your company. But what precisely constitutes a brand identity? Why is it so important, and how?
Lindsay Mariko, the founder of Lindsay Mariko Design, will enlighten us on the importance of brand identification in addition to providing a wealth of other helpful advice for designers and creative business owners.
To discover more about brand identity and design from a real monarch, keep reading.
How did you get started in the graphic design industry?
Fashion Communications, which covers all artistic facets of the fashion industry, is what I studied in college. Many individuals selected PR, business, or event planning as their professional routes, but I was much more interested in graphic design.
I finished a thesis project during my final year of college, which confirmed my love of design and typography. We created the fonts, layouts, and art direction for a coffee table book with over 100 pages ourselves. Working on that project was fun, and I appreciated the creative freedom it gave me.
After graduating, did you immediately start freelancing, or did you first get a job?
I worked as the marketing manager for a Toronto-based business after graduating. As the firm was still in its early stages, the marketing team only had two members, therefore I was responsible for almost all aspects of creative work, including graphic design, social strategy, influencer connections, etc. I took on freelance jobs on the side to get a taste of being an entrepreneur, and after working at a company for a year, I made the switch to full-time freelancing one month before the pandemic quarantine in March 2020.
Why, among all the components of graphic design, did you select branding and brand identity design?
Examining the “why” behind someone’s endeavor, which they are so fervent about, has a distinct quality. The most fulfilling component of my profession is achieving people’s dreams because I like getting to know them. I really like your creativity since, because the goal of branding is to build something wholly original, there are no restrictions on it.
How would you define “brand identity” for a person who has never heard the term?
A system of parts that work together to produce an experience is what brand identity is, rather than a single thing. A primary and secondary logo, a color scheme, a typographic style, an image direction, a photographic direction, copywriting, and message make up a brand identity. For the benefit of your target audience, these components are merged to create a coherent whole.
Why should a business invest in a full brand identity rather than simply a logo?
When I first started working as a freelancer, I only provided logo design. Making something out of nothing with only one ingredient was quite challenging. All components of a brand identity must cooperate to provide the desired appearance and feel if you want to have a truly integrated brand that people will recognize.
There is no meaning or importance to a logo if you simply have one.
Your brand is not generating an experience if the colors, pictures, and other components do not interact. It is crucial to build the brand holistically in order to provide the context and deeper meaning that your potential clients or consumers would associate with.
How many times have you reached for an eye-catching item in the Target aisles? How frequently have you walked inside a business because the sign caught your eye? How frequently have you made a coffee shop choice based on how their cups look on Instagram? That is how important brand identity is.
What would you like others to understand better about branding?
Without a doubt, how important it is. A potential customer will create an opinion about you, what you do, and whether or not they want to make a purchase from you within seconds of seeing your website, web color schemes and your visual identity plays a big part in that. When consumers are deciding whether or not to purchase your goods or services, brand cohesiveness is essential. You won’t win their trust if your branding is unreasonable and inconsistent.
How would you describe your company’s brand?
My brand is clearly influenced by the laid-back yet slightly upscale environment of the West Coast of Canada, where I was raised. I aim to draw in a more wealthy consumer since my brand appeals to them. It is crucial to think carefully about who you want to cooperate with when creating your brand since you want to make sure that the right people identify with your visual identity.
Finding a balance and developing an engaging brand experience are the two main components of branding. Because I love to deal with people with whom I get along and feel aligned, I describe my brand as a relaxed version of high-end. This is because while I expect to attract a particular sort of company owner (high-end), I also hope to attract a relaxed version of high-end. My brand also represents my sense of style in terms of design, which helps me draw customers who have that sense of style.
What component of the branding process do you prefer?
It varies from client to client, but I truly like launching an inquiry and digging into the brand’s meaning. I’ve recently became passionate in creating concepts. Now that we’ve established the general creative approach, we can start creating. The initial design is now my finest element because I’ve been in a strong creative groove lately, but it’s hard to pick favorites when you like what you do.
What steps does your process involve?
My method entails three stages: discovery, definition and improvement, and launch.
Discover: We start with a one-on-one conversation to get to know the customer and their business. The customer fills out a strategy questionnaire addressing their business goals, rivals, and aesthetic preferences after signing the contract and making the payment. Then I show them how to make a Pinterest board to collect images of inspiration. Prior to our start date, the customer completes these “homework” assignments.
Define & Refine: On the day of our start, we planned a quick chat to go over the client’s homework before I came up with a notion for some creative directions. Once we agree on the general direction, we go on to the design phase. I then give them a choice between two brand concepts in an organized PDF document with applications to help them see each concept coming to life. I ask the customer for comments after having them choose their favorite concept for future development.
Launch: After everything has been completed and authorized, brand guidelines are included with the final deliverables to ensure that the client understands exactly how to apply the branding.
And that’s everything for now! The customer is set to launch their new brand after finishing all three phases.
What design software do you use?
I mostly use Adobe Illustrator. The majority of my work, including logos, color schemes, and branding ideas, are designed with it. For layouts, long texts with graphics (think magazine style), client presentations, and brand guidelines, I use InDesign. Throughout my time at fashion school, I used InDesign a lot.
I occasionally utilize Premier Pro for producing video material or motion, Adobe XD for wireframing, and Photoshop for picture retouching and animation.
There are many different points of view on this subject… What are your thoughts on using Canva as a design tool?
I think Canva is great! I don’t use Canva to create identities, but it’s perfect for producing graphics for customers. Every branding bundle comes with 10 Canva Instagram templates, as I am aware that my clients are unlikely to have Adobe software (or prior graphic design skills). Even if they’ve never used Canva before, they won’t have any problem using it because of how user-friendly it is. And everyone may access it thanks to the free membership.
What web design platform do you prefer?
Given the e-commerce sector’s rapid expansion, I would want to learn more about Shopify. Currently, I solely design on Showit.
What is your most ambitious project that you are now engaged in?
This is a secret, I see. When the effort launches, I can’t wait to share more… For the time being, all I can tell is that it is a brand of cleanliness and cosmetics. I always have so much pleasure working on packaging design projects and engaging with businesses who make physical products.
What is your long-term goal?
I don’t, in all honesty. But while the cosmetics business is my dream line of work, the one I’m working on now is comparable. Additionally, I’m developing a perfect project for a new cidery that will open next month. Working on branding and label design for a comparable craft brewery or cidery has long been a goal of mine.
The fun of working with branding is that I don’t have a specific client or brand in mind because they probably don’t yet exist.
How do you attract new clients?
I’ve found that promoting my work on Instagram is the easiest and fastest way for me to get new clients. But when I first started working as a freelancer, sharing my work seemed really scary. Although showing off your hard work might occasionally make you feel exposed, it becomes easier with practice.
What would you suggest as a good place to start when teaching graphic design?
It’s crucial to understand the foundational skills of Adobe Illustrator, such as how to utilize all the tools and keyboard shortcuts, and to practice until you become an expert user of the program.
I studied design for four years in college and for one year after I graduated before taking on design clients. Enhancing your skills will be very beneficial.
What advice do you give for budding brand designers?
The best advise I can provide is to publish your work, regardless of how good it is. One of the things I’ve had to learn as a recovering perfectionist is that you’ll never feel ready, so you just have to go in. Regardless of how flawed you think it is, taking action is better than doing nothing. I’ve been creating for years, and I’m still honing my art, so trust the process and do it!
We carefully examine our own branding and online presence, examining every potential flaw, but an outside viewpoint is rarely as critical. These specifics are of no concern to anyone else and are not worth thinking about.
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