How to Create a Brand in 3 Days

Case Study, Design, Identity, Print, Website0 comments

One Friday I had an idea for a new website and little did I realise that three days later I had registered a domain, set up social media pages, integrated those pages with a new website and applied the new identity. It was like I was possessed. Sometimes you just get an idea and you need to get it out of your head.

Off course summarising it in a few sentences doesn’t really do the process any justice as there was a lot to consider. But the process certainly runs much smoother when there are no other stakeholders to pull back the reigns.

So what drove me to create Swimfari?

Like many good ideas (lets hope it is) it starts with an opportunity, a gap in the market that needs to be filled. As a keen swimmer, for me it was the realisation that, to my knowledge, there were no websites in existence that provided details for open water swim events either locally or globally. Nor were there any that provided a search feature that allowed users to search based on location, distance or a swim type preference (eg. ocean, bay or inland waterways).

Cue opportunity… knock, knock.

What’s in a name?

So I open the door and realise that the first thing I need to do is think of a catchy name. I always find brainstorming and developing naming options as much fun as doing the creative work. It’s the part that allows me to combine language with the visual world. I explore terms used within a given community or industry, create a play on words or cliche terms, or simply make up nonsense words by combining existing words – which was the case for Swimfari.

It is both frustrating as well as fun. Frustrating because all the good names are almost always already taken and so you spend a lot of time checking the names you’ve come up with only to find that you can’t use them.

One of the basic checks I always do is see if the web address hasn’t already been registered. I prefer to only check for .com or addresses. I’m not a big fan of suffixes and only use them as a last resort. In addition to domain names I also check on the most popular social media pages, guaranteed though that if you’ve managed to find a name that hasn’t been registered as a domain, someone has taken it as a username on Twitter or Facebook.

Function Before Form

My reason for creating the website was purely a functional one. I don’t have a monopoly on swim based websites around the globe and anyone can replicate what I’ve done with current web technology. Given more time and an increased budget you could perhaps do it even better. That’s why it was so important to create a brand right from the start. Although the brand was secondary to the functionality of the site, it is still integral to build trust, recognition and eye-candy, we all love eye-candy!

As with the naming, I spent some time working up design options (for two shortlisted names) to see which one looked better and would appeal more to the target market. I explored how they looked using different type faces, experimented with mixing capital letters and font weights, played around with symbols and graphics (yes, even the little location marker made an appearance along the way) as well as textures and colours.

Apart from being enjoyable for me, it also helped steer me more toward a preferred option.

The Value of a Creating Brand Extensions

I did take a short break during the weekend (you know, ‘all work and no play’) and caught up with friends in the hills for an outdoor-by-the-fire party on Saturday, and Sunday I went for a walk. But away from the computer I thought about brand extension and what other future opportunities existed. Although leaning more toward Swimfari I still hadn’t decided which of the two options was the best. Emma, my lovely wife and a brilliant graphic designer in her own right, helped clarify future brand consideration and eventually leading me to register Swimfari.
I created Swimfari because I love swimming and because I saw an opportunity that could generate another income stream using my skills as a graphic designer. A business that is well thought out with consideration for future brand extensions has much more worth. Building in brand equity at the start will make it more attractive to investors later. That’s why I also registered potential off shoot domain names, it’s a small additional investment that may hopefully pay off later.


As you have just read, setting up a new business, creating a brand and a website can be done in three days. Can I get your business set up just as quick? Probably not.

That’s because we need a brief that highlights your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT Analysis). We then need to consider the brief and research your industry, target market, competitors and the visuals used. Yes, you can do some of this work yourself and include it as part of the brief but we need to get our ‘head inside your head’. Understand what makes your business unique and try and present that in a visual way.

A business is not just a logo, it’s a brand driven by a community of users. A successful business understands that community and a successful identity should reflect that, too.

Initial design presentations can create debate amongst partners, shareholders, employees, wives or husbands and there is always time to consider options, colours, fonts, even do market research and pin it on the fridge for a week.
Fo me, I understood what was required and who my target market was. I didn’t have to phone, email or negotiate with business partners so the process for me was a lot smoother.

You can check out Swimfari and visit the website at or follow Swimfari on FacebookTwitter or Google+.

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