Behind-the-Brand | M-PATH
Updated: Jul 9, 2020
One of the things we love most about designing a new or rebranded identity is the power it has to help our clients reach their full potential. Branding is transformative and empowering when built on strategy.
Introducing M-PATH, an incredibly gifted and empathic personal and professional life coach who challenges clients to Journey With Purpose, by looking at the whole person and coaching the five domains of wellness equally to achieve holistic well-being.
We thrive on collaboration, so it helps when we work with inspiring people who are passionate about what they do, just like us!
We were delighted with the results of M-PATH's new identity. To give you the full story, here’s a behind-the-brand look at the complete process of how the identity was created.
ONE (1) | DISCOVERY
Since clients know their business best, they have a valuable role to play in the design process. The initial step includes the completion of a discovery consultation questionnaire, so we can get to know the business inside and out, before beginning the strategy and design development.
M-PATH owner, Maria Brigantino reached out to us, recognizing the need for a professional image before launching her business. She wanted to step out with a tailored brand identity to secure her dream customers and make a profound mark in her industry.
TWO (2) | STRATEGY
Our branding approach is built by combining strategy + creativity. We listen first and then learn what makes our clients idiomatic, diving deeply into their industry, studying the challenges and nuances of how companies in their sector grow. We learn about their competition, research what makes them ambitious and how we can build a strategy that stands out. In the end, we use all this information to curate and carefully blend together our client's strengths and what makes their business unique.
Next, we create a written brand strategy to define how we communicate the proposed vision. This forms the creative brief and guidelines to refer to when the concept design begins.
Within Maria’s discovery questionnaire, we asked for a selection of adjectives that she felt best described her brand. She answered with the following:
Together with our industry and competition research, these words informed the brand strategy for the new M-PATH identity.
Next, the mood board and colour palette (shown below) was curated to visually convey the feeling described in the brand strategy. The mood board sets the tone of the proposed brand identity and very importantly, ensures our thoughts run parallel with our client. We must be in agreement on visual direction before proceeding to the concept stage.
The mood board focused on the ‘Journey With Purpose’ strategy centring around the ideal clients -- multifaceted adults who are ready to commit time and energy, with the ultimate goal of personal and professional fulfilment. It is an ideology that ensures alignment between values, beliefs and actions, by looking at the whole person and coaching the five domains of wellness equally to achieve holistic well-being.
The approach challenged the traditional life coaching industry norms of specialization and demands change through empathy and lived experiences, but not at the expense of the goal -- for everyone to live more authentically, find inner peace, achieve a sense of purpose and eventual transformation.
The overall brand direction has a nature-inspired, supportive and transformative purpose. Similar to the fundamentals of coaching, we looked at how nature soothes, heals, restores and connects with the mind, body and soul. Drawing inspiration from the steadfast existence of river rocks to the metamorphosis of the butterfly, we introduced these symbols as insightful representations of the M-PATH mission.
Colour is a powerful branding tool. It is used to transform a brand into an emotional experience by instantly stimulating desire, instilling trust and connecting M-PATH mission with the client’s purpose.
The proposed palette is a harmonious complementary blend of blue, teal, coral with hints of grey and white. The colours denote a nature-driven vibe with an underlying boost of promise and creativity, encouraging strength and happiness, all central to the brand’s motivations. The predominantly cool tones are meant to complement the warmth of
M-PATH’s nurturing and empathic essence.
Blue (Navy) is calming and credible with an air of dependability and stability. Blue represents loyalty, tranquillity, reliability and openness, all the characteristics of the brand’s ethos. It is the shade of the sea and the sky and is thought to induce and convey serenity and peace. As blue is a widely liked colour, the client will cater to the preferences of both genders with this hue. Navy, instils confidence and inspires feelings of integrity and responsibility; both integral attributes of the brand.
Coral, as an accent is designed to create an excitable pop, specifically when paired with cool blues. Coral, similar to orange, combines the energy of red and the joyful positivity of yellow. It is associated with innovation, freedom, success and new ideas. Coral is the ‘action’ colour, it delivers enthusiasm and promise. It has the ability to keep up motivation, helps us to look at the brighter side of life and build something beautiful and bigger than ourselves. Coral grabs attention and stimulates the mind, showing that M-PATH is a bold, optimistic and confident brand.
Coral is also intuitive and insightful, showing tenderness and kindness with its compassion and sensitivity. Coral is a sign of hope. It is a positive colour inspiring warm and comforting feelings, directly linking back to Maria’s empathic nature. It encourages and stimulates great communication. Coral dispels any ugliness or weakness that may be felt so that the inner self will transform anew. Coral supports change, showing M-PATH as a brand that values past experiences as learnings to embrace future growth.
Teal (Amazonite) is a blend of blue and green in both actuality and colour psychology. It represents a fresh and calming brand, one that is compassionate and promotes healing and leads to growth. Essentially, teal is harmony based on authenticity. Teal is also the colour of restfulness and mental and spiritual balance. The understated elegance of teal, shows M-PATH is a brand that encourages a reflective mood by communicating compassion with aside of feminine sophistication.
White is generally considered as a neutral backdrop that lets other colours have a larger voice. However, onto itself, it is synonymous with cleanliness, simplicity, purity and virtue. White also evokes feelings of renewal. The hue has the properties of bringing calmness, comfort, and hope. It gives life a sense of order and meaning, helping to de-clutter from the negative aspects. White offers inner cleansing, for the brand’s thoughts and soul, being the ultimate source of pure energy.
Rounding out the colour story was Grey -- a modern neutral, it is timeliness and has an air of sophistication. It's popular as it pairs well and complements other more bold colours - balancing the brand palette.
Shapes also play an important role in the development of an identity. It's often the most innovative approaches that happen in the background that gives a brand, its layered and deeper meaning.
The squares and rectangles are synonymous with logic, certain, trustworthiness and order. Since reliability and support are central to the brand’s adjectives, this makes this shape a perfect fit.
A circle was included to portray a feminine essence, projecting positive, comforting and united energy.
By contrast, the triangles suggest excitement and growth, inspiring improvement, focus and representing action. The use of this shape speaks to Maria’s holistic approach of understanding the whole person with the five domains of spiritual; physical; mental; social and professional well-being. Triangles have energy and they do wonders for showing the innovative lifecycle transformations behind the brand’s motivations. The use round edges, represent the brand's dedication to betterment, rather than perfection and the unity with mindfulness that have spearheaded the M-PATH ethos.
Similarly to how colour and shape theory impact the development of an identity, so does the use of typography. The mix of sans serif fonts connect to the modern aesthetic and imparts notions of openness, professionalism and foresight with the light lines and straight edges.
THREE (3) | CONCEPTS
After defining the visual brand direction, it was time to begin developing the logo concepts – our favourite part of the process! Our strengths lie in creating brand identities that translate our clients' vision and bring their message to life in a visual way.
The greatest challenge of creating a brand identity is incorporating several aspects into the design while still keeping it simple.
We had several considerations in mind during this stage, including:
Showing Maria’s unique expertise in coaching the five domains that make up the whole person
Keeping the design versatile and functional
Providing Maria with the appeal to align her resources with other professionals
Connecting Maria with her ideal clients, adults of all ages, who are ready to align their values, beliefs and actions.
As always we start by using pencil and paper to brainstorm visual ideas. From there the ideas with the most potential are refined.
Since design is subjective, we provide clients with a choice, by presenting two (2) different concepts that we confidently believe answer the directive.
However, a brand identity is more than just a logo; it’s a complete visual system, that should add depth and personality to the brand. This structure gives our clients the confidence to implement and grow.
As part of the concept presentation, we also deliver a brand storyboard that includes the other design elements needed to complete the visual identity— secondary logo, submark, colour palette, typography, patterns and social signatures. In addition, digital in use renderings are developed to showcase how each concept could appear in real-life applications.
For both concepts, the subjective elements were extracted to showcase the systematic approach used to create the monogram and abstract icons.
CONCEPT 1 - The ‘M’ PATHway Abstract Monogram
This design focuses on the direction of M-PATH’s supportive nature through the symbolic representation of river rocks. The rounded triangular shapes signify a positive emotional message, promoting a sense of community, love and unity while evoking growth, improvement and action. The vertical lines communicate commitment and strength, reflecting goals and progress. The tranquil blues dominate to represent a fresh and calming brand, one that is compassionate and promotes healing and leads to growth. The typography was chosen for its likeness to slate and stone, strategically placed to connect the ‘M’ with ‘PATH’ creating strength and balance. The abstract mark is made of five individual stones each representing one of the domains of wellbeing; linking to the brand ideology that ensures alignment between values, beliefs and actions, by looking at the whole person. Brought together, the stones form a letter ‘M’ (in the negative space) creating a PATHway that reaffirms the mission to journey with purpose.
CONCEPT 2 - The Butterfly Effect Logomark
This design focuses on change as a powerful force for growth and transformation. The round shapes and loops portray a feminine essence, projecting a positive, comforting and united strength. The four stones converge to form a butterfly silhouette, mirroring the brand’s journeys of regeneration, renewal, expansion and rebirth, linking to the mission to journey with purpose. The continuous line that flows between each stone (creating ripples) signify the concept that small events can have large, widespread consequences that propel self-transformation. The complementary colour palette combines integrity and responsibility with that of warmth and comfort, connecting Maria’s empathic nature. The dominant use of coral, delivers enthusiasm and promise, keeping up motivation, and helping to dispel weakness, so that the inner self can transform anew.
Both concepts were meaningful branding options. However, Maria had no hesitation choosing her preference, she was immediately taken by the strategy of the abstract monogram; making the first option the stand-out choice.
FOUR (4) | REFINE AND BUILD
No revisions were necessary. Due to our considered design approach, we usually have minimal design refinements, if any at all.
Next, we built out the print, digital and promotional collateral. To put it simply, this is the process of designing all the other items that will be needed to communicate and launch the new brand identity.
For this new brand we created the following collateral:
Business Cards and Stationery
FIVE (5) | LAUNCH
Altogether, this process took 6-weeks. The client launch package always includes a plethora of logo files for both print and web use; including all the brand elements, colour palette, patterns and typography (font files).
Thanks to the brand storyboard, Maria understands how to use her new brand identity going forward.
We also provide a step-by-step web tutorial to enable clients to make simple updates whenever needed.
For all our brand identity clients, we offer an ongoing design services to ensure that future projects align with the new branding.
M-PATH’s consistently styled visuals match the premium service.
This project was a real success, not only does it look the part, the tailored visual identity already enhances Maria’s professional image and helps align her resources with other professionals, making it successful for future growth and expansion.
Maria is now creating a rock solid impression – her branding and website have taken her down the right path and effectively communicates the value of what she does.
Don’t just take our word for it. See what Maria had to say:
"The strategy is bang on! You’ve articulated and created a vision into a brand that could not represent me any better. Your work is impeccable." -- MARIA BRIGANTINO, M-PATH
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