Creative Brand Expression

This consultancy is one component of the Total Brand Review

Building the Brand’s expression is best done once you’ve established clear foundations. Far too much design budget is wasted by constantly reinventing the wheel in terms of ‘creative’, because it’s not tethered to the foundational elements that underpin a brand. So, let’s assume you have some sound brand foundations (whether we created them or not) and imagine you’re looking for help to develop an ownable creative expression that sets the brand up for the long term.

Our approach to developing effective creative solutions is designed to find the best platform for ownable brand expression, rather than simply focusing on the design aesthetic. It’s pragmatic and responsible to make sure we’re always making best use of budget.

Here's how it works:

01 / Brand Creative Audit

This phase is about gathering examples of historical and current creative expression. These might be old brand guidelines, logos, advertising campaigns…anything that been used in the comms space. The rule about babies and bathwater means there are always some useful elements that may have resonance and equity and should be considered for reuse.

02 / Language is Always First

It’s the most humanising aspect of any brand, so we always seek a suitable tone of voice and ‘language platform’ that echoes the vision, mission and values.

03 / Creative and Graphic Elements

Each of these elements is isolated and considered individually. Then they’re merged and refined to deliver the purest creative expression of the brand.

— Brand Marque: If it’s in scope for change; then we’ll evolve it sensibly and responsibly, so it feels natural and comfortable. There should always be a connective tissue between the old and the new. We’re sceptical about shock logo changes – it suggests a naïve approach to the design process.

— Colour: These can be very contentious. In our experience this is the one area of creative that can trip everyone up, because they’re so subjective. Our approach tries to remove the subjectivity by linking back to either previous palettes and/or the foundational elements, so it’s as calculated and ownable as possible.

— Typography: Is very similar to colour, so we go about finding solutions in the same way. Let’s look back to see where we’ve been and what can be evolved and reused.

— Photography / Imagery: What’s our approach to photography and imagery? How do we bring the behavioural values through in our approach? The solution is not always a commissioned shoot. Existing client photography and/or stock imagery can often be used with graphic assets and treatments to make it feel more ownable. Often, it’s a combination of both.

— Animation / Illustration / Iconography: When it comes to other graphic assets, the goal is flexibility. These become part of a brand toolkit and complement the other elements.

— Usage: As part of the creative development process, we’ll road-test the various elements outlined above, to show how they’d come together in the real world. We’ll consider multiple formats and touchpoints – large and small, on and offline.


On-screen use is disproportionately important, given this is where brands are primarily experienced. Movement and animation mean a different set of considerations – so we blend technical and development know-how with creative flair to ensure the brand is fit for purpose when it shows up digitally.


This provides peace of mind and directional control before handing over guidelines and assets to internal teams and other agency partners.

04 / Operational Details


Allow between 4 and 8 weeks depending on how many feedback loops are built into refining the creative.


We’ll deliver a set of digital guidelines that walks you through each of the phased stages of creative development and builds to showcase the full brand expression in campaign format.

Participation Requirements

A senior marketeer or brand executive can lead the project with some others supporting to supply material and manage diaries. At presentation stage, it can be useful to include other senior team members, so they get the value of the objective point of view.


The early input and audit stages can be done remotely; but the presentation of the creative development is best done face-to-face. All sorts of factors can affect this: screen size and calibration, the nuanced nature of ‘creative’ presentations and the likelihood of multiple presenters. (It can be done remotely; but it becomes a different presentation).


Typical Creative Expression projects start at £30K ($40K)

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