Branding workshop: the first step of the brand design process

How we capture all the insights we need to design your brand in just 2 hours.

Natalia Żerko
Head of Branding

Starting a (re)branding process is quite a challenge. Founders assume that the hardest decisions concern the visual details. But it’s answering the most fundamental questions about the brand that make them circle for hours thinking about:

  • Brand values — What’s the essence of the brand? What does it stand for?
  • Market and competition — Where’s the brand positioned within the market? Should it be somewhere else?
  • Brand placement — How should people see the brand? As a new, rebellious badass or a familiar, friendly neighbor?

That’s where the branding workshop comes in. It’s the first, integral part of the branding process and it makes whatever’s next a whole lot easier to do.

Why we’re doing branding workshops

The main reason behind why we conduct branding workshops is to learn as much as we can about the brand and its environment. Knowing all this context is crucial for brand designers and strategists to propose the right solution based on the facts about your audience and the market.

But what’s equally important — and often overlooked — is learning about your own preferences too.

So how do branding workshops enable us to gain all that information?

Brain dump

Yup, it means exactly what you think it does. Workshops give you an unfiltered space to share all your thoughts and preferences about the brand. You don’t need to worry whether they’re right or wrong — we’ll care about that later.

And while during the workshop we follow the agenda, it doesn’t stop us from brainstorming and going through any ideas that might come up. This way we can find new paths and creative solutions through (often lively) discussions.

Clear vision

Sometimes the workshops start chaotically. But their outcome always brings out a clear(er) vision of your brand.

First, we define everything you already know about your brand. Just that makes its idea sharper than ever.

But the magic comes in the next step, when we discuss the aspects of your brand that you probably haven’t considered before. And the answers to these questions gives us the most to think about when we move on to the design phase.

One workshop, two purposes

The workshop allows us to share our ideas about the branding, yes — but it also has another purpose. It gives us all the information we need to start the design work.

Traditionally, we’d collect that information with a design brief. But it’s a pain in the ass to fill in and it’s not flexible. Live workshops are fun and we can always switch things up when the situation calls for it.

How we run branding workshops

If you’re sold on the promise of the branding workshops, you probably have questions about the details.

How long does it take?

Typically, 1.5–2 hours. Though it depends on the number of people attending. The more people, the more opinions — the longer the discussion.

But don’t worry — we always keep an eye on the clock so that the workshops aren’t too time demanding yet still wholesome enough to capture all the insights.

What tools do we use?

We use FigJam, an online whiteboarding tool. It’s super easy to use and you can open it from your web browser (even without an account!). Plus, we already use Figma — a parent product — for designing websites and digital products.

Inside FigJam, you’ll find all the exercises we’ll be working out. Everyone’s thoughts and ideas will be written down using post-its that we can group, vote on or out.

We’ll give you a quick overview of the tool before we start the session so that the software doesn’t distract you from the goal of the workshop.

A screenshot of our branding workshops template in FigJam.
That's what you'll be staring at for a couple of hours.

How many people are involved?

The discussion is truly the core of the branding workshop. People have different opinions and that’s where we want to hear them all loud and clear.

A 3-person team (excluding designers) should be enough to get a diverse view on the brand. If there are more folks who want to join, of course they can. It’s good to keep the circle small though — things get tricky when there’s more than 5 people.

What should I prepare for the workshop?

You’ll get the agenda beforehand so that you know what’s coming. Though I believe that it’s best if you join the workshop mostly unprepared. After all, it’s supposed to be a brainstorming session that allows us to think outside the box.

But if you’re eager to do some homework nevertheless, think about what other brands and aesthetics you like — and if we’re doing a rebranding, positive and negative aspects of your current branding. It’s the only thing we do on the workshop that might be easier if you already have something in mind.

What mindset should I have for the workshop?

On top of everything, stay open-minded. During the workshop, you’ll not only express your own thoughts and ideas but also learn others’ perspective. This exchange of views will uncover ideas about your brand you might have not considered before.

Workshop’s outcome

The branding workshop is the first step of creating a brand. All the insights we gather there give us a specific description of what we should aim for when defining the brand’s visual style and strategy.

And those guidelines aren’t just our personal preferences. They resonate with your audience and make you stand out from the competition.

What’s next

Now it’s time to put the theory into practice, i.e., the brand identity. This is, ultimately, what you came to us for.

The next step is creating a moodboard — a collection of visual references that help us choose the visual direction. After that, we tackle the logo and key visuals. And that’s where the magic happens.


  • The branding workshop is the first step of the brand design process.
  • It gives designers and strategists all the information they need to define your brand.
  • Usually, it takes no more than 2 hours.
  • We workshop in FigJam, an online whiteboarding tool.
  • For diverse brainstorming, the group should count 1–5 people (excluding designers).
  • There’s no need to prepare for the workshop.

The queen of branding specializing in creating brand design systems. Her inspiration and fuel to get through the day? Skittles!

Natalia Żerko
Head of Branding
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tonik here — a design studio focused on early stage startups, helping founders define, design and build products.

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