Branding new multifamily developments has become increasingly important in a competitive market. It seems new buildings and developments are popping up daily, and so your development has to be able to stand out from the crowd and appeal.

It’s a daunting task.

Obviously, standard branding rules and ideas apply — a good brand is a good brand, regardless of industry — but there are definitely a few things that marketing and design professionals need to keep in mind when it comes to multifamily branding. This first “truth” might sting a little.

1. Don’t Isolate the Logo

This one’s a little tough for designers to swallow. There are a few constants in branding agencies:

  • Most ideas start with coffee or cocktails.
  • If it takes more than a sentence to explain the logo it’s too complicated.
  • The first round of branding is the brand mark presented front and center on a blank page. This is a nice, striking way to present a visual, but it’s nearly useless in terms of multifamily branding.

Sure, go ahead and do it — isolating the mark helps the conversation about the logo itself. Just know that you also need to be prepared to show it in various applications (yes, even in presentation No. 1). While the mark may look nice solo, it’s time to start thinking about the signage construction. How does the mark look on a monument sign? Or on the exterior of that snazzy high rise? What about letterhead and business cards and new resident materials? These applications are crucial to design for multifamily developers.

Think through all the applications and present at least a handful alongside your design concepts; otherwise, you’ll find yourself doing a lot more talking than showing in that first presentation. 

2. Don’t Forget Wayfinding

Possibly the most important piece of the brand package. How do residents and potential residents know where to go and find various amenities? How does the pizza guy know where building 11 is? What kind of signage is going to identify this building as the fitness center and that building as the mailroom?

In most traditional applications, wayfinding follows the brand and can be built out later. But wayfinding in multifamily developments is very much an integral part of the brand and should be treated as such. Conceptualize wayfinding in the early stages of branding or it may feel disconnected or forced.

3. Lockups, Lockups, Lockups

Designed an icon? Awesome! A nice wordmark to go with it? Nice job. Now, let’s talk about horizontal and vertical lockups.

Go ahead and add in the name of the neighborhood. What about the developer? Before long, you’re putting together a wordmark for “The Lofts at Uptown Park Design District by Development Residential Holdings.”

Make sure you’ve thought through all these variations. It’s a time-consuming process, but the earlier you work on it, the fewer revisions you’ll need to make in rounds two and three.

4. Have a Color Plan

For this sort of brand, color applications are definitely tougher. This stuff is mostly going to be outside, exposed to the elements. Your color palette will be displayed on signs and construction banners that are going to get covered in dust and exposed to direct sunlight all day.

A lot of signage companies only print one-color or two-color on certain signs. Do you have a plan for that? Maybe this is not the time to deploy your advanced gradient meshes.

So, there you have it. This is just the beginning of getting inside the multifamily branding mindset. Keep an eye out for more techniques!