Branding is a comprehensive array or set of actions that comprise and determine the design, concept, and the overall outlook for a brand. As such it is very closely tied in with graphic designing as much of the brand’s appeal comes from their visual aspect that allows it to be differentiated from the rest of the established names within the industry.
According to a recent study conducted by SmallBizGenius.net, 80% of a brand’s recognition is improved by choice of colors, and revenues can increase by 23% if a brand is consistently presented across all platforms.
This just goes to show just how much brands are intensified through their looks and feel, which is why for a graphic designer their job is to make the best use of their skills to deliver astounding results.
In light of this information, let us take a quick look at some of the ways a designer can convert and shape a graphical designed into a successful branding scheme.
1. Brand Personality Focus
Brand personality is a set of characters that can be attributed to the brand and are humanistic in their nature so that users can relate to the brand like an actual person. These traits have to be consistent and relevant for the audiences; otherwise, they will fail to address the most important issues and nose-dive when it comes to delivering an impact on the audiences.
For graphic designers, it is utmost important that they understand which traits are included within the brand personality and how they can align their designs in a way to showcase and exemplify them for users.
Nike’s brand personality is associated with excitement, ruggedness, and very whelming aspect of athleticism as well as physical performance. This requires Nike to uphold values such as outdoorsy and is extremely durable so that their products are viewed as capable of almost handling anything that you throw at them. This is also depicted in the brand design, which is bold, flamboyant, and inspired by sporty looks.
2. Crafting Visual Identity
A brand’s visual identity is where a visual designer collaborates with industry experts to deliver top-notch designs, patterns or outlines for a company’s brand look and feel. This can include the company’s name, design elements, industrial references, line of work references, and various other elements. The visual identity is highly reliant on physical and visual attributes.
However, it can readily be made to include emotional connections and the perspectives of how a target audience looks at a brand.
The main idea behind the visual identity is to make a brand more relevant and connected with users through memorable and easy to retain visual elements. Visual identity can be crafted by building strong links and overtones with specific colors, shapes, font styles, image choices, and even voice.
All of these elements should work together with each other to deliver visuals that instantly become iconic and influence viewers.
In 1976 Apple used a logo where Isaac Newton was pictured sitting under his legendary apple tree. As years went by the apple in Apple Inc. stayed while Isaac Newton references faded away from the visual at least. The apple in the logo to this day is still debated; however, in each of its inferences, it mainly represents love for knowledge and human curiosity to know better and be better.
3. Distinct Characteristics
Brands differentiate themselves from their rivals in the market and competitors by creating an original and unique branding design for themselves. If they do not do this, they would be perceived to be too similar and not at all very original in their concept, idea, and design by their targeted audiences.
In fact, they may even be mistaken for other brands and hence never accomplish the recognition they intended to acquire from their customers in the first place.
As a designer, it is your job to make sure that a brand sticks to different design patterns and make adequate choices to opt for a new, fresh, and unique branding scheme.
Amazon is a great example to look forward to when searching for different, original, and unique branding examples. Their simplistic design holds much information that users can expect and is probably also one of the best designs out there. The arrows underneath connect letters “A” and “Z” to form a smiling face and also hinting that Amazon offers every item from “a” to “z”.
4. Experimenting with Colors
Colors are unmistakably important for any branding design. They carry emotions and feelings since they can spark reactions and elicit a response in people. Colors psychology is a specific branch of science which deals with such impact colors have on people, their moods, and other associations.
As a graphic designer, you should consider discussing the right colors and their representation with top company officials before sticking with a particular theme.
At times the answers do not come immediately, and this may involve you try out various colors and experimenting with them until a color combination hits really hard and gives off the perfect impression.
Perhaps one of the best examples of a brand experimenting with different colors on a regular basis is none other than Microsoft and their Office Suite Logos. While the main theme seems to be retained, you can always find fresh logos for the newest products, which is refreshing to see.
5. Hidden Meanings & Innuendos
Many branding themes out there have hidden meanings and can also carry more than just one meaning. Therefore you are bound to come across a request to design a graphical logo or representation for a brand that incorporates all of these secret messages and even play around with innuendos.
This not only helps you to create a unique branding theme that is a marvel to look at in its own right but also incorporate delightful insights into the main design, which makes things all the more interesting.
According to Toyota’s official website, the Toyota insignia incorporated the three overlapping ellipses design in 1990 to symbolize the unification of Toyota products on a global scale. Although if you like to look at it, it clearly represents all the letters of Toyota such as the T’s, the O’s, the Y, and the A in the end all overlapped with each other.
6. Images & Context
No graphical design can be complete without the use of the right context. The context behind the design plays a vital role in relaying and conveying important values and ethical standings of a company. It can also relate to their story, their recent accomplishments, milestones, and even depict the future vision and mission of an organization.
However, this can be further augmented with the use of imagery into the marketing and branding mix. Images can speak a thousand words and therefore, can even tell the story of the company’s origin and how it all started for them.
You, as a graphic designer, can ask for such context to be included in the branding theme and find creative and out-of-the-box methods to incorporate them into your design.
The image of a young girl in the Starbuck logo is a good example. The image was originally designed to show a mermaid and seductive side of the sea, but over the years the logo was drastically changed. Today the young woman is often interoperated as a direct reference to the Biblical Queen Esther of Persia who was chosen by the King Ahasuerus for her beauty.
7. Logos, Letterheads & Typeface
Graphical design for a logo can entail a lot of things this can include logos, a typeface for fonts, letterheads for formal documentation, business cards, packaging, web interface, and even videos. There is a lot to consider, and as a graphic designer, you have a full workload ahead of you when branding comes into play.
This is why you need to sit down with your managers and discuss the scope of branding and the various mediums where branding would be introduced. This can also include designing brochures, pamphlets, flyers, and various other forms of print media.
One of the best examples of incorporating various media forms into your branding design is that of Hilton Hotels. They not only have a great outlook for their brand on their website, but they also showcase branding through informative and promotional videos that one could watch on their YouTube channel as well. It clearly incorporates the company’s logo and the font type that people have come to familiarize with the world’s biggest hotel chain.
8. Making Use of a Style Guide
Style guides are unique, and each brand can follow or create their own style guides. It is basically a rulebook containing the specified information relating to various aspects that make a brand look and feel different and distinguishable from the rest.
The good news for the designers is that you all you need to do is to follow the style when it comes to colors, logos, and imagery. The bad news is that the style guide might limit your creativity to bring in new elements or interfere with your decision to introduce new aspects into the design.
Brands that follow style guides will most definitely agree to follow the guide unless an overwhelming justification is provided to them to resort to using a new style guide.
According to HubSpot, many brands out there are using style guides, and one of the most prominent of them is Skype. This popular online chat and call conferencing platform follow a squeaky-clean style guide for its brand, focusing primarily on its product phrasing and the placement of the logo. No changes are allowed in the logo according to the guide when it comes to colors, angle, and dimensions.
9. Selecting the Right Typography
Typography in graphical design relates to the use of font style, size, colors of letters, and typeface that are prominently used to depict the brand’s prominence. In fact, the company invest in buying these fonts and getting copyrights for them so that no other company can use them for marketing their own products and services.
Roboto is the choice of font type when it comes to Google. It is also now the primary font in all Android operating systems, Gmail, and is the default font for all Google products and device as well as platforms.
10. The Master Digital Copy
The master digital copy is the finalized and approved copy of the original design which company officials have agreed upon. It is also the parent file through which all other files can be generated for a variety of other mediums and uses.
Many master digital copies are in vector form as it is able to retain its quality as compared to raster images.
Branding heavily implores visual identity integrated with a brand personality to deliver a power statement about any brand or business out there. I hope after going through this post, you would have received some meaningful understanding regarding how graphic designers can work with business officials to craft the ideal outcomes.