October 5, 2020

Fundamental research to develop a brand design project

By Anthony

The research stage is essential for the brand design project, because from it, you will have valuable information that will help you build the brand concept you are designing.

In order you know how to structure a brand concept, I will describe some types of primary research that will help you in this task.

1- Research about the company/professional

The research about the company/professional must be started in the briefing. However, here you should go a little deeper. Questions like: “What is the meaning of the company for the owner and for the employees?”, “How do they see the company?”, “What is the meaning of the profession for the professional?”, “Why did he choose this area?”, among others, are questions to be asked at this stage.

Here you should get more specific information about the company/professional such as name, appearance, area of operation, time of operation, market niche, among others. From this, you will have relevant information to add to the brand concept.

Investigate with the company/professional what the expectations of your target audience in relation to its products and services.

2- Semantic research

Semantic research is related to the meaning of words. In this research, you should resort to your notes of keywords from the briefing you made with the client and analyze each one of them researching their meanings.

Besides, to extend your research, look for the synonyms of these key words and also their meanings. If in the briefing with your client you identified the words “bond”, “union” and “eternal”, look for synonyms of these words to broaden your semantic repertoire.

For example, you would find the synonyms “bond”, “connection” and “infinite” respectively. Having these words and their meanings, you can relate them to images, shapes and symbols that will bring you more repertoire and coherence for creation.

3- Search for similars

In the research of similar you should research brands in the same area you are developing.

Search in internet search engines like Google and Bing and in sites like Behance and Dribbble in order to increase your visual repertoire about what is produced in the market in that area of your client’s performance.

This way, you can differentiate yourself and be original in your creations, as well as follow a line of visual style that is already consolidated in certain areas of the market.

For example, if several brands of a certain area of expertise use warm colors, you should check if the brand you are developing will follow that same line or if you will differentiate yourself in relation to it.

However, this attitude should be analyzed carefully in order not to distool completely to the point that when visualizing the brand people make relation with another actuation area than the one of your client.

4- Competitors research

In the competitor’s research, as the name says, you will research the competitors of the brand you are developing. It also works as a similar search, however, closer to your client’s reality.

Search who are your customer’s direct competitors. For example: if your client’s hamburger is located in the city of Natal, a hamburger in the city of São Paulo serves as a similar search, however, not of competitors. Thus, the research of similar has a more comprehensive character, while that of competitors, more specific.

You should research some characteristics of the competition such as: graphic brands, visual identities, communication actions, colors, typographic style, etc.

See the common and divergent points between these brands. After that, you will have more visual repertoire to help you create your client’s brand.

5- Visual search

Here you should generate a visual panel with several images that are related to the previous searches. According to the history of the company and the professional, try to find images that represent this history. For example, if the origin of the company is related to the oriental culture, look for image references that are related to this culture.

Returning to the example of semantic research, you would look for images related to the key words “links”, “union” and “eternal”, as well as images related to their synonyms “links”, “connection” and “infinite”.

In relation to searches of similar and concurrent, check if there is something in common between them and look for images related to these common points. For example, if certain hamburger brands generally bring a hamburger as a symbol, look for different images of hamburgers to increase your repertoire about that segment.

But beware! This does not necessarily mean that you will build a brand using a hamburger as a symbol. You can create a brand for a hamburger that does not have a hamburger as a symbol and yet it may be able to differentiate itself in the market.

All this will depend on the analysis of all the research data and the formation of the brand concept. On conceptual stage, you will afuniate the information of the briefing and of the researches realized to generate brand concept, being this, the point that you will take the decisions for its creation.


These surveys provide important data for the creative process and the generation of brand concepts. Thus, the designer can follow a coherent line of design, with grounded bases that serve to justify their creations, generating more chances of approval by the client.

Do you already work with some of these researches on your brand projects? Tell us here about your experience. If you have any questions, please let us know and we will be happy to answer them.