Get to the core of your brand in no time with: Brand Deck

Get to the core of your brand in no time with: Brand Deck

A review of Brand Deck —developed by Simple.Honest.Work from Chicago. 

​Getting started with your brand strategy or visual identity can be quite the challenge if you haven’t done something like this before. When I talk to (potential) clients I often get questions like:

“How do I know where to start and what to do exactly? How will I figure out what my brand will be (or is) all about?”

These are great questions. First you need to get to the core of your brand. So, I usually reply with:

​“Well, what do you want to tell about yourself? About your product or service? And about what it can do for your (potential) clients?” —Think about what your brand should be able to communicate to your (potential) clients. And about how your visual identity is going show all that.

These are all questions that need to be answered when you start working on your (re)brand.

This might sound like a lot to take in right now and that can be quite overwhelming, especially when you’re not familiar with anything that has to do with marketing, branding or graphic design.

Well, no worries. Let me help you with that. We’ll take it one step at a time.


To get you started, I’d like to introduce you to a really interesting tool I came across a while ago. It’s called Brand Deck and could be described as an exercise or a card game. And it’s perfect to get to the core of your brand. And it’s a really fun and engaging process, I might add. I’ve been using it for a while with my clients now —with great results.

Atelier Pan | Brand Deck

“A tool that helps you figure out who you are.”

It’s also a great way to get your employees involved and engaged in the process —which is essential to the (re)branding process. You can play the game with them as a collaborative process and together you’ll be able to get a clear picture of your brand core.

​How does it work?


The process is quite simple:

“This exercise will identity your brand’s characteristics.”

Get started
Brand Deck is a collaborative exercise that will help you identify your brand’s characteristics. To play, round up the people who best understand your project.

Sort it out
Each player sorts the deck into four piles:

  1. You are,
  2. You are not,
  3. You are torn, and
  4. Does not apply
Atelier Pan | Brand Deck

For each card in the deck, pick the right word that you have the strongest reaction to and put it face up in the pile where it belongs. Each word in the You are pile should describe how you want to be perceived by your audience. Don’t agonise over any individual word —go with your gut and the group will sort it out later.

Cut it down
Once you’ve sorted out all of your words into their appropriate piles, discard the Does not apply pile, and narrow down to one to six words for You are, You are not, and You are torn.

Now, starting with the You are torn words, each player should discuss their choices with the group. Finally, working as a team, collectively reduce your cards to a list of one to six words under You are and one to six words under You are not.


You can play the game for many reasons. Here are some of my favourites:

  • Get to the core of your brand,
  • Get your employees involved in —and engaged with your (re)branding process,
  • Check if the perception of your brand is consistent with how you want to be perceived, or even
  • Check your current brand image and compare these with your goals to see what needs to change.

This simple card game can tell you what kind of brand you are.
Or the one you want to become.

Excited? If you’re getting as excited about this game and its many possibilities as I am, just order your own Brand Deck at the Brand Deck website*. Or order a deck for your each person in your team, if you’re planning to get them involved (and I believe you should).

*I’m not affiliated with Brand Deck in any way —I’m just enthusiastic about the game and I thought I’d share the concept with you, so you might profit from it as well.​

Still a bit overwhelmed? You can hire me to help you get started. I’ll be your guide, assist you when you play the game (with or without your employees), and ask the right questions to get the most out the exercise. Contact me for more information and I’ll send you a print ready PDF checklist with “10 Key questions you need to ask yourself to get more out of Brand Deck.

Dare to show your true self!


Atelier Pan | Visual Identities for Change makers

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​Images: Brand Deck, except the first one. The featured image is by Eutah Mizushima (

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