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  • The Big Game Branding 101

    [08.13.19]
    - Jamin Smith

  • 5 | ESTABLISH YOUR VISUAL IDENTITY AND CREATE ALL THE BRAND ASSETS - INCLUDING LOGO, KEY ART AND TRAILERS - WHICH ARE CAREFULLY MARRIED TO YOUR POSITIONING WORK

    Good luck!

    (There's about five full articles waiting to be written on this point alone, so I'm going to leave this be for now. It is, however, a step you'll need to complete before other work can be done (like the below)).


    6 | TEST & VALIDATE YOUR ASSETS

    If you're an indie developer, you're not going to be able to afford the tens of thousands it costs to conduct market research. That doesn't mean you can't test your assets, however. Send WIPs of logos or art to friends/colleagues/family/your colleague's family to test assumptions and see what sort of reaction you get.

    I'm a firm believer that consensus breeds mediocrity, and all feedback should be taken on board with a pinch of salt; you're the vision-holder. Don't compromise your vision by keeping everybody happy. All the best art in this world divides opinion. Don't be put off by a few negative reactions, just make sure that all the reactions aren't negative. This is why market research is important - we all have blind spots sometimes. 

    Test your assumptions! 


    7 | DESIGN A STYLE GUIDE 

    Equally, if you're indie, chances are you don't have the time/resource to be farting about creating a fully-fledged style guide. Depending on the level of your aspiration, however, it's an invaluable tool for cementing the brand and vision of your game, and ensuring others (partners, publishers, stores) don't bugger up your carefully curated identity. Your guide should cover: 

    • Logo and rules for use (dos and don'ts)
    • Iconography usage rules
    • Approved fonts
    • Key art and appropriate usage  
    • Colour swatches (your approved colour palette)
    • Social media avatars/headers

    Once you've covered everything you feel is relevant, PDF up that badboy up and ensure any partners you work with have access to it. It can be updated at any point, so don't be afraid to get stuck in on this asap. 


    8 | BECOME THE BRAND

    Phwoar that was a wanky title to end on, wasn't it!? Basically, though, once you've established all of the above and cemented your brand, you need to live up to it. You need to birth it into the world. And it's more than just imagery. 

    All of the channels for your game - from Twitter and Facebook posts, to videos, adverts and patch notes - need to carry the correct tone of voice which reflects what you've created. Think about the language that you use when interacting as your brand - how would your game walk and talk if it were personified? You need to summon the voice of this person and use it when communicating as your brand. And you won't be able to do it without going through all the steps listed above; conjuring this imaginary person out of thin air just won't happen.

    -

    That's about all I got this time around. As I said, this is a quick and very surface level guide to game-branding (I'll return to step 5 another day, across various different articles), but I hope somebody finds some use in it. You can find more articles and discussion over on the Superstring Patreon. Feel free to drop me a line if you have questions or want a deep dive into specific areas. 

    Jamin

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