Designing a Story—Graphic Designers on the Rebranding Process
Being new to the company, Graphic Designers—Alejandra and Milka—were challenged with an interesting project—the rebranding of Polidea. Coming from Mexico and Finland, two different cultures, backgrounds and work experiences, they had to find common ground in creating one visual identity for the company.
How did they approach their cooperation? What did they learn about the process? In this talk, Milka and Alejandra share their experience and tips on how to successfully conduct a rebranding within the organization and choose the best creative ideas as a team without losing the sense of individuality.
Before you dig into the talk, head over to our Lead Designer’s practical tips on how to conduct rebranding for your company!
Can you tell us a bit about your experience before coming to Polidea?
Alejandra: I was working in a marketing consultancy company in China. It was a very different experience, firstly because of the area of expertise, secondly, because I was the only designer among the marketing team, doing everything related to visual branding. On one hand, being the only designer on board gives you creative freedom, on the other, it’s a lot of responsibility to take on—every decision is yours.
Milka: Working as a freelancer back in Finland, I was really looking forward to moving to a more stable work environment. Coming from the brand and print design, joining Polidea gave me more understanding of the design process, what the cooperation with the team entails and what does it take to make a final product.
Being new to the company you were asked to jump into this big internal project—rebranding. How did you approach your cooperation?
Milka: At the beginning of the project we took a lot of time to work together—we brainstormed, did sketches and thought maps. This helped us to get to know each other and our way of designing.
At first we were both trying to be very careful with giving each other feedback on our designs and ideas. For example, it’s in my nature to be more considerate of what I say to people, I’m also more introverted. Alejandra, on the other hand, is the total opposite—more outspoken and expressive. By the end of the project, we knew what each person’s communication style is, so we felt more at ease with being more upfront.
Alejandra: I think the rebranding project was a good ice breaker for us. We knew that taking on the responsibility of creating a new brand identity for Polidea meant we had to get to know each other pretty well, both professionally and privately. Working closely with Milka, understanding her thought process, style, how she sketches was really interesting to me. Learning what are her strong suits and what are mine helped later on with dividing the work between us in a way that would benefit the project the best. We understood how much people at the company are attached to the old logo and visuals, and we definitely didn’t want to disappoint them.
What’s the result you’re expecting from this cooperation. If each team member keeps that goal in mind throughout the whole project, it’s easier to make creative decisions.
Coming from different working and cultural backgrounds, how did the final branding benefit from these differences?
Milka: I think the fact that we’re so different made the end result so much better. We tried to use the best of both worlds. My style is very “northern”—I like simplicity in design, not decorating too much. I think Alejandra’s design style brings more warmth, detail into it.
Also—speaking of combining cultures—I really liked that throughout the process we were inviting a lot of colleagues to give us feedback—whether it was a tester, a project manager, a developer or a comms specialist, their insights helped us get a unique perspective.
Alejandra: I agree with Milka—having different cultural backgrounds only enriched the process. We both managed to embrace our “native” styles, but we also had a deep understanding of how to design globally. It was really nice to have a wide range of references and examples to draw inspiration from.
When it comes to our ways of working, I think they were complementary to each other. For example, Milka is more experimental, she prefers to find solutions as she goes. She is more focused on the “How?”, whereas I’m more into working on the conceptual part of the project, asking “Why?”.
Don’t get stuck. There’s time to brainstorm together and then there’s time to quietly sit at your desk doing your thing.
Do you have any tips on how to best communicate and cooperate within creative teams?
Alejandra: First things first, it’s very important to know what’s the result you’re expecting from this cooperation. If each team member keeps that goal in mind throughout the whole project, it’s easier to make creative decisions, because they should all serve that one common goal. Remember not to take criticism and feedback personally—it’s about whether the work meets the objectives, not about you as a creative professional. Also, always ask yourself if what you’re doing at the moment as a team is allowing you to move forward with your work, or is simply a blocker.
Milka: Exactly, don’t get stuck. Delegate tasks equally and accordingly to each person’s skills. There’s time to brainstorm together and then there’s time to quietly sit at your desk doing your thing.
Alejandra: Another tip is—be honest with each other. Once in a while, check what the other team member is feeling. At Polidea, at the end of each sprint, we have a retrospective meeting when we talk through what worked, what didn’t, and what has to improve. Don’t forget to do some 1to1 feedback sessions with your closest coworkers as well. Sometimes it’s easier to say how you feel in a smaller crowd.
Alejandra: My biggest takeaway from the rebranding project was not to be afraid to disagree on creative ideas. It’s important to use every given feedback as a lesson and motivation to do something better, different. I also learned not to shy away from experiments—usually what seems to be the craziest idea, is what everyone loves the most at the end.
Milka: We mentioned the importance of feedback earlier, however, while checking in with the stakeholders, remember to be able to defend and stand by your creative choices. You’re the go-to professional here, therefore you should know what stands behind your design and why you’re recommending it. The road might get bumpy, but remember, that even if the process is not perfect, it’s the outcome that matters.
To see the full rebranding case study and learn the full story go to our Behance profile.
Senior Communication Specialist