Branding From a Creative Design Agency

Mandy Thomas

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

5 minutes

"Design is a silent ambassador of your brand" stated the iconic Paul Rand, an American graphic designer that designed brands and logos for Yale University and IBM.‍

A brand might just be a logo to most, but it's more than a logo if one really understands a brand. A well-considered brand should always consist of various creative elements. Before starting with branding, let's look at what design can offer you and why a creative brand agency is an excellent place to start for your company.

The importance of design in a creative design agency

When one engages with a corporate identity that looks both clean and professional, a clear message is sent about the company and the way they run their business. A professional image will indicate that the product or service is equally professional. This is because good design has the power to communicate directly with your target market and competitors. ⁽¹⁾

Why does design matter?

Design matters as it helps us feel confident. Design changes us, changes our mood, and how we see the world around us. In the context of brand identities, beauty is a promise of goodness, and that's why beautiful design matters. ⁽³⁾ When it comes to keeping branding and design application consistent, it would be best to approach an experienced creative design agency to walk you through the process of building and maintaining a brand.

A creative design agency can offer many assets needed for a successful brand, such as conceptual corporate identity design, customised presentation templates, powerful brand visuals, professional stationery and technical brand manuals. Agencies may offer all kinds of services, ranging from brand development to advertising. However, a creative design agency that focuses on branding will tend to offer more concept-driven brand development while a marketing agency will focus more on campaigns and advertising.

Seeing timber through a new lens

Sawmilling South African (SSA) is an association that represents sawmillers across the country and places sawmilling at the front line of timber. With the need to promote timber-based products in South Africa being more crucial than ever before, they aim to promote the well-being and sustainability of South Africa's sawmilling industry by advocating for the use of timber in both commercial and residential contexts. To support and advance the sector, SSA also focuses on educating their members on relevant laws surrounding the sawmilling industry. ⁽²⁾

After years of operating under their dated corporate identity, Sawmilling South Africa partnered with an experienced creative design agency to redesign their logo and give new life to their identity as a whole.

The logo that was selected can be seen below:

Creative Design Agency corporate identity design client SSA
Figure 1: Sawmilling South Africa Corporate Identity

The logo is paired with the strategic slogan, "We saw the future," which grounds SSA in their knowledge that using timber and seeing its potential is the future of environmental conservation and sustainable construction. It fundamentally embodies their vision for the timber industry in South Africa and globally.

The new identity visually represents SSA’s new positioning while still honouring wood’s unique and organic qualities. Therefore, the logo simultaneously represents a portal to the future and a stylised cross-section of a timber log. Coupled with this are themes of biophilic design and the positive ripple effect of sustainability within the timber sector.

Creative Design Agency logo icon rationale client SSA
Figure 2: Sawmilling South Africa Logo Icon Rationale

Shades of SSA

Inspired by energy, timber tones and sustainability, the new colour palette for SSA is the foundation for their new focus and refreshed approach to long-term sustainability and profitability. Orange represents creativity and innovation, and the two green tones represent nature and growth. Four tints are available per colour to allow the brand’s palette more flexibility.

Creative Design Agency colour palette Sawmilling South Africa
Figure 3: Sawmilling South Africa Colour Palette

Branding as a specialised form of design

Branding is both a visual and written way of communicating your company and your unique selling point. If branding is done strategically and with longevity in mind, it can set you apart from your competitor and function as an invaluable business tool for promoting your products and services, or even a person. ⁽⁵⁾ As a form of design, branding is a highly exclusive form of visual communication. Strong branding that stands out is often a reason for people to consistently choose a brand over competitors. ⁽⁴⁾ For this reason, a strong brand can be considered as a company’s most important asset. To take it a step further, companies that value their brand will also trademark their logo, name or slogan.

A creative design agency that specialises in branding can help you differentiate your brand from your competitors and help your customers notice your brand. When done correctly, there will always be an element of consistency within a brand identity. A combination of specific colours, fonts, images, shapes and icons will usually form the foundation of a brand’s language, which is great for consistency.

Brand consistency provides the following:

  • It establishes brand recognition which will help when promoting your business
  • It allows your brand to increase in value
  • It makes you stand out in your industry

If your brand is not consistent, it can cause chaos and confusion and limit the chances of success and recognition. ⁽¹⁾

Before a brand can be established, however, its positioning needs to be determined. Brand positioning plays a significant role in the success of a brand because it functions as a road map for where the brand is and where it wants to go. The new positioning that was created for SSA was all about positioning them towards the future, both in terms of environmental sustainability and timber-related innovations. The essence of their positioning was captured in their slogan, “We saw the future”.

The brand was then able to develop around this positioning across various mediums and platforms. The association acquired a new brand visual, letterhead, email signature, pull-up banners and brand manual as a first phase. The company then publicly announced its rebrand through a press release. See the press release link below:

Creative Design Agency letterhead mockup client SSA
Figure 4: South African Sawmilling Letterhead

Creative Design Agency social media template Sawmilling SA
Figure 5: South African Sawmilling Social Media

Creative Design Agency banners mockup client SSA
Figure 6: South African Sawmilling Pull-up Banners

In Figures 4, 5 and 6 above, the brand's identity has come to life by making use of the brand colours, the brand icon and themed photographs. The SSA letterhead was created with a clean and sophisticated look and moved the timber industry into a completely new look and feel. For social media, different themes were created to represent what SSA as a company will provide. It also allows various audiences to stay informed on the up-and-coming timber trends and news.  As shown in Figure 6, three pull-up banners have been designed to showcase SSA’s new brand identity and tone of voice. These banners are classified as brand awareness collateral, and can therefore be used at a variety of meetings and events in the future.

The value of a brand manual

Creative Design Agency brand manual mockup client SSA
Figure 7: South African Sawmilling Brand Manual

A brand manual is an incredibly useful tool for all companies who wish to grow their brand both strategically and seamlessly. The purpose of a brand manual is to effectively guide those working with the brand so that application is consistent across all platforms. With a brand manual, some elements require design abilities to make it stand out. ⁽⁶⁾ When building your brand, it would be best to contact an experienced creative design agency to assist you in creating a brand manual as appealing as the SSA brand manual, as shown above in Figure 7.

To conclude, a creative design agency could either have the ability to build a brand or creatively design a logo. Some agencies can do both.

Contact Creative Caterpillar, an experienced creative design agency, to help with the designing and branding of your company through various branding elements.


1. Martech

2. Timber

3. The School of Design

4. The Branding Journal

5. Investopedia

6. Jackrabbit Design