Brand Self-Care: Pattern + Application Design
So far, we’ve worked through strategy, sketching, logo and type + color design in our Brand Self-Care series.
Today we’re putting up some finishing touches on our brand identity through the brand application.
Let’s hop to it!
Love a good pattern. Though I don’t believe every brand needs pattern design — compared to the logo, submarks, and type/color guides — patterns allow more uniqueness to the brand.
Here are a few places where our team likes to sneak patterns into brand identities:
End sheets for books/planners/journals
Website section backgrounds
Social media images
… really any collateral!
When creating patterns, a good place to start is through pulling elements from within the brand identity. For our Dwell Hotel example (patterns above), I pulled the simple star motif I’ve envisioned on the floor tile into the submark design, and then again into brand patterns. I also created a pattern repeat using the vintage CorningWare plate (mod-inspired floral graphic).
These touches not only create a unique brand but also allow for more connection throughout the identity leading to a cohesive design.
There are a few types of patterns to consider creating for your brand. Remember, you can create each pattern in various colorways, showing varying levels of contrast to have versatility in your brand application. You also don’t need all three types for each brand you create!
Subtle repeat — you’ll get the most use out of these! Incorporate one or a few of your brand elements into a standard pattern repeat.
Statement — a truly unique and distinctive brand pattern. It doesn’t need to be “bold” but something that isn’t subtle, and will set your brand apart from others.
Complementary pattern — Similar to the subtle repeat, a complementary pattern isn’t as much of a statement piece, but it isn’t a straightforward repeat necessarily.
Here are a few other examples from our client patterns where you can see the subtle, statement, and complementary patterns.
As with each phase of design, remember to EDIT. It’s easy to over-work a pattern, and sometimes simplicity is best! Consider the brand application as well — where will your patterns be used most? Answering this question will help inform what type of pattern is best suited for your brand.
Though as you design you’re keeping the brand application in mind, it’s sometimes tough (for you or your clients) to envision the brand in action. Using mockups really shows off the brand and is exciting to see everything come together. Examples of mockups could be signage, packaging, stationery, products, etc. Try to find mockups or photos you could easily overlay your brand assets to that relate to the brand itself.
For our Dwell Hotel example, I am using a matchbook mockup. Along with the retro hotel vibe, I’m imagining their restaurant or hotel lobby would have small matchbooks available. I’ve created these mockups myself from photos I had professionally taken. You can do the same with your own props, or purchase mockups online!
PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER
If you didn’t already incorporate pattern, color, type, and/or logo marks into your mockups, you can create alternate applications to show the brand in context. I like to include both photo mockups as well as type mockups next to each other to see everything working together.
Once you see everything together, you can tweak various design elements like the patterns, type, color, etc. as needed. This is where I do a lot of editing! Those complex statement patterns I mentioned earlier? They usually appear overworked once I get to this stage and I end up scaling them back.
Create 1–3 patterns, apply your logo or submarks to mockups, and pull it together through application.
Tag @spruceroad on Instagram and use the #brandselfcare hashtag so we can follow along together! I’d love to see your process!
Next time, I’m revealing the entire presentation together in a quick video. Stay tuned!