By Jeff Breazeale


Don’t Start with a Logo

It happens way too often; a new client hires us for a property branding project – maybe even their “most visible project to date” – and somewhere during the first conversation they say those magic words: “We already have a logo”


Where did you get it? Which one of your friends designed it? And maybe most importantly, WHY?

There are really two big reasons why this may be the most flawed way to begin a branding project:

This logo isn’t based on any relevant strategy.

More often than not a logo like this was whipped up because it was needed for something – a press release, an investor pitch, a presentation to stakeholders – so overnight someone was hired (or worse, a $99 online solution was found) and boom, 48 hours later two dozen snazzy logo options appeared. Sometimes these logos look great – reasonably well crafted and attention getting – they have their place. But a project the scale of a multi-million dollar luxury multi-family development is not one of them.

A well executed brand is based on research and strategy. Understanding markets, target residents, competitors, and the nuances of a place is baked into the overall vision for a successful project. Development of a property's identity takes a deep dive into what makes the property unique. Sometimes, in fact, the identity IS what makes a property unique. Getting that right deserves a real process.

You’re not building a logo; you’re building a brand.

Brands are never experienced in the vacuum of a logo design – they’re big, broad, tactile things with a tone of voice, a vibe, and a unique style all their own. The logo is one important piece of that ecosystem, but it will rarely if ever be encountered alone or without any context.

At MBX, we don’t present logos. We present full brands. Not entirely flushed out, tweaked, and perfected brands, but fifty thousand foot views of what a brand looks and feels and sounds like. These presentations include logos, sure, but they’re seen in their natural environment – surrounded by other brand elements; images, colors, typography, headlines, and messaging – all carefully placed together into layouts. The complete picture is so much more vivid, and more accurate of what the brand will really be.

Your new brand deserves this process, and you’re only shortcutting your own success when you embrace an early and incomplete solution because “it’s already out there.” If you need a quick logo to satisfy an early need – go ahead and make one – but keep it simple and don’t let it steer the rest of the process. Be willing to throw it away when a full brand – one built on strategy – is developed. Every choice you make in the long road of planning, building, and leasing up a new property is geared toward success. Step back and see the brand identity as part of that master plan, and be willing to give it the same level of attention and investment as you’d give every other aspect of the project.