Forge & Spark team members laughing.

Branding and Design Services Made Simple: The Forge & Spark Brand Content Kit


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As a small agency, we know what it’s like to do a lot with a little. We work with a wide range of businesses and organizations, but many of them land in our content-marketing intake process with one thing in common: they have some core branding—a logo, some colours, a couple of brand fonts—and not much else. Other than a vague sense that they need to improve what they’re doing on social media, or other places they produce content.

Often, it’s up to us to read between the lines and work out a fuller expression of their core identity, spinning it into actionable design assets and content pieces. In my two-plus decades as a graphic designer and creative director, I’ve developed a shorthand for working with clients like these—and an intuition about what they need, as we work through the process of building resources their teams can use to consistently create content that looks and feels like them.

Last year, in talking with our agency owner, Shannon Emmerson, about what new services we could offer at Forge & Spark… we suddenly realized we had something truly unique to offer in this space; especially for small, purpose-led businesses who may not have the budget or appetite for a full rebrand—but are eager to roll up their sleeves and work one-on-one with a seasoned designer.

These were the seeds of our now-live Brand Content Kit service, which we were thrilled to launch earlier this year. Simply put, it’s a way for our clients to elevate and organize the core elements of their brand visual identity, packaged, with uber-usable visual assets and content pieces they can work with every day— like brand photos, illustrations, social media templates, presentation decks, and more.

So far, the Brand Content Kit has been a hit! You can read about Avante, a recent happy customer here. But for those still wondering about the benefits, I thought I’d give a little behind-the-scenes glimpse at how we do it, and why.

Forge and Spark Branding design services for Avante Pop

Brand design versus content design services

First, let’s back up a little and explain what we mean by brand content design, and how this is different from—but also complements—brand design.

Brand design: the visual essence of your brand’s identity

Brand design is an umbrella term that refers to crafting the visual identity of your company overall, wherever you show up in the world (website, physical products, company letterhead—everything). The goal is to create a distinctive look that conveys your brand’s personality and values, ultimately helping your business stand out in the market at large. To clarify their brand-design strategy, some companies have a brand book or style guide, developed at some point for them by an agency (in my experience, it’s often gathering dust in a corner of a marketing server somewhere).

Though helpful, this kind of resource doesn’t always translate directly to content—at least in a way that’s obvious. Some businesses have a range of team members designing and writing for them, which can cause the brand’s essence to get watered down, or even lost, in execution. In this situation, you might feel like your visual assets are simply all over the place—or you have to start from scratch every time you create new content or visuals for a project. At worst, you cringe at the way your content looks; embarrassed to send people to view your channels. Not a great feeling!

Forge and Spark Branding design brand identity orange book

Brand content design: your visual identity in action

Done well, brand content design is the remedy for this scenario, providing a playbook for how your visual identity manifests in content for your website, blog, social channels, newsletters, tutorials, webinars, and more. The goal is a cohesive and high-impact visual voice wherever the brand chooses to appear.

We won’t pick on anyone to demonstrate the opposite, but clearly there are a lot of brands out there whose content is a bit… uneven, shall we say. If you’re reading this, you might feel like you’re one of them. Well, good news: this is exactly the scenario our Brand Content Kit is designed to address.

What we deliver with the Forge & Spark Brand Content Kit

Here’s the elevator pitch: our Brand Content Kit delivers agency-quality visuals and content templates in just one, single, ultra-efficient and productive week.

A Visual Identity System: This is a set of core elements you can use to create real, consistent and authentic content on a daily basis for your brand, including refined colour palettes, customized typography, hand-selected imagery, iconography and more—along with key visual assets such as stock photos, illustrations, and social post templates. We pull it all together in a kit, based in Canva, which is a simple online design platform that our clients find simple to set up and use.

Sample Content: On top of the identity kit, you’ll receive 10 of what we call Content Credits, to “spend” on content items that show the new visual system in action and IRL. These refreshed and elevated visual assets could include, for instance, landing page mockups, social posts and series, banner imagery, word-marked logo variations, newsletters, decks, icons and textures. Or, make your own suggestions. You’re also welcome to buy more credits in bundles—it’s the dealer’s choice here.

The Brand Content Kit process: efficient delivery, guided by a graphic design industry veteran

Forge and Spark Branding design services process person working on design on a computer


Our Brand Content Kit development process is as collaborative as it is intensive.

Out of respect for your schedule, it only takes one week—or five business days—from start to finish. We just ask our clients to make it a week when they’re at their desks, ready-and-willing to bounce ideas and provide input. No long meetings needed, though: just a pre-set window to provide feedback and keep things progressing.

If you can commit to making this small investment of time and energy, you’ll get great results out of the exercise. Not to mention the undivided attention of a seasoned creative director who has been at this for many years (that’s me!). Being able to spend this kind of one-on-one time with a client is rare this industry, I can tell you: often, branding and design exercises drag on for months and feel delegated or put on the backburner. So it’s honestly a treat for me to work this way … and our Brand Content Kit clients say they feel the same way.

Getting to know you: the Brand Content Kit pre-work questionnaire

Before we start work on anything, we ask you to fill in a questionnaire about your brand, including its purpose, values, mission and any existing assets—plus your goal deliverables, and even your general likes and dislikes when it comes to branding and content. By spending some time on this, you help us (and maybe yourselves, as well) get clear on how you want to express your brand. You won’t have all the answers at this point, of course—this is what the work sessions are designed to discover, and we’ll review and clarify everything together.

Work session 1: An hour on Zoom plus direction & discussion

I think of this stage like a first date. We get to know each other and I learn more about who you are as a brand—talking more about the kinds of assets you have, what you need, where you want to go. And then I gather up everything, go off and begin to flesh out some initial options. Because you’ve reserved time in your calendar, I’m checking in frequently to share progress and confirm direction.

Work session 2: A follow-up meeting and collaboration

At the start of Session 2, we’ll share the progress to date on your shiny new visual identity system, plus nail down the final direction for how we’ll use your Content Credits, developing brand content your team can take away and use. Again, a period of busy-work will follow, with me checking in to make sure you like what you’re seeing as the content pieces evolve.

Brand Content Kit presentation and sign-off

This is the ta-da moment, when I present your fresh new Brand Content Kit, with full access to all of your new visual assets and content samples. This moment feels a bit like handing over a new baby, honestly—I always love the energy in these final sessions. I can feel the client’s excitement and they feel mine! And really there are no surprises, because we’ve collaborated closely to get to this point.  Just a final reveal of everything your team will need to create on-brand, high-impact content going forward, captured in a handy Canva file and Google doc.

New Brand Content Kit, new you: imagine the possibilities for your business

Forge and Spark Lara Kroeker

Your branding looks like YOU. It’s consistent. It’s recognizable. It’s got impact. Your audience trusts and respects what you stand for and how you show up in your content.

Does this sound like what you need? If so, please reach out, and let’s see what we can do together.

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