SUAN Conceptual Design: BRANDING AS A COOPERATIVE PROCESS ENCOMPASSING STRATEGY AND CREATIVE DESIGN SOLUTIONS
TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN I PHOTOS: SUAN CONCEPTUAL DESIGN
The Basel-based brand design agency, SUAN Conceptual Design, combines strategic thinking with creative solutions. In every project, it works closely together with clients and a creative team to develop a vision that truly reflects the client’s values and products. For its exceptional work, the SUAN-team has won multiple design awards.
”Successful branding is a long-lasting investment in the perception of a brand,” says André Konrad, co-founder and managing partner at SUAN Conceptual Design. “It is only successful when it creates a good feeling for the brand’s customers – and long-term, at that.” To make that possible, a brand has to become aware of various different aspects. According to Konrad, those are: “A clear identification of the brand strategy, an innovative design approach, awareness of the target group they want to reach and a brand management with a vision.” For him, branding has to change with the company and its values; it’s never entirely set in stone. “A brand that comes to a standstill will not last long.” A brand strategy therefore does not only need to be outstanding, it also needs to have the ability to adapt and develop further. SUAN sees itself as a long-standing partner in this brand-development process.
SUAN Conceptual Design is filling a gap in the existing design market: the one between brand strategy on one hand and creation on the other. “With us, designers are fully integrated into the process of developing a strategy and thus can already give their creative input and directly integrate the most important information into the design process.”
Including experiences from different industries
Founded eight years ago, the Swiss company, with headquarters in Basel, works for very different industries – from start-ups to public services and international corporations. That helps the SUAN team to keep an open mind and integrate knowledge and experience from different fields, even though it has become clear that while the industries themselves might be very different, they often face the same branding problems. SUAN founders Susanne Hartmann and André Konrad not only work closely together with their clients, they also introduce the topic branding to university students and allow them to visit their studio. The company’s core philosophy and values encompass everyone from clients to employees: “At SUAN, we actively think about the work climate in the studio, try to encourage our employees and offer them a good work-life-balance”, says Susanne Hartmann.
Mutual trust and cooperation as basis for a successful project
At the beginning of each new cooperation and project stand various workshops with all parties involved in the process of developing the underlying brand strategy. “Cooperation and interaction at eye level are important to us,” says André Konrad. “In various design prints, we then develop different design solutions and challenge our clients to – in the end – find the best possible solution for their brand. This process can take up to a year and is based on mutual trust.” SUAN accompanies clients way further than just the brand development – throughout the roll-out and the time afterwards. “We always design together with clients – they are experts in their fields, while we are the experts for branding,” says Susanne Hartmann. “We advise companies to be braver and do things differently. Thanks to the overall picture, design concepts have become ever more important. A customer intuitively needs to know what belongs to a brand and which values it incorporates.” They need to function similarly well in digital and print and tell a target-focused story, Hartmann says.
Multi-award-winning branding and design agency
It has been proven many times now, just how successful the company’s work processes and ideas are: SUAN has in total won more than 30 international design awards. Only recently, SUAN won the iF-Award 2022, together with the company Niuform, a furniture designer whose organic shapes were integrated into the brand design. SUAN was also awarded the German Design Award 2022 for the digital campaign SENS City, and for the branding for OCC Assekuradeur, a specialised insurance company based in Germany.
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