It’s powerful enough to embody the core ethics of your business, draw people towards your product, and say everything about the consumer base itself. It’s the medium which becomes the message and endeavours to set itself ahead of the game. It’s the brand identity which becomes the key marketing device and imprints itself in both the commercial and social market, forging itself into the minds and imaginations of the cultures within which it operates. Designing a powerful brand doesn’t just have to be catchy – it has to be unforgettable, revealing, and indispensable.
Reasons that popular apps like the Logo game place the most popular logos on the easier levels isn’t simply because the companies are commonplace household or roadside names. It’s because they have become ingrained in the historical psyche of society and the brands are reflective of this. Whether or not the logo has changed its shape and nature multiple times – aka Pepsi – the brand that is successful is always recognizable.
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Identifying the Product and the Purchaser
Fundamental preparation for designing a brand identity lies in locating the company’s key values and the role which the products play in society both socially and commercially. Seth Godin states that “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”
The identity – the visual means by which the brand is communicated – must at all times focus on this. Particularly for companies invested in visual materials, the aesthetic appeal is an absolute priority because their design skills are directly showcasing themselves.
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Without danger of over-analysis, every technical aspect of the design matters and keeping up with the current trends means throwing out the old and bringing in the new, or reinventing the traditional and beloved. Brand identities like Relentless work with archaic fonts because of its dark and mysterious connotations and because the font itself is integral – rather than an accompaniment to the logo. Deciding this balance – whether the typography itself is detached or integrated – will determine what direction the logo goes in and whether it will take up more space or elaborate its details.
Focusing on the symbolism of the brand identity which will penetrate the viewer’s subconscious is a key tactic akin to neurolinguistic programming, and have been core focuses of corporations, charities, sports teams and politicians. Where the McDonald’s logo is suggested to evoke the impression of a mother’s breasts = home, the open and circular landscape projected in both Obama campaigns suggests a bright, expansive future vs. McCain’s more regimented, solid, and militaristic regal appeal. Companies can root themselves in tradition, but also need to project a sense of the current and go even further to suggest they are ahead of the competition.
For the most part, this means that typography will be crisp – aka century gothic, calibri or arial in most cases, and easy to read on a number of mediums, from posters and brochures to business cards and billboards. Ultimately, the typography and logo must be high-resolution and of a composition which can be adapted to either a horizontal or vertical orientation.
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Bringing it to Life with Colour
In a world which is constantly invigorated with sight, sound, and other stimulants, getting a brand identity to stand out – but not excessively – is a contemporary challenge. At the beginning of print production, the most elaborate details sufficed until improvements in technology changed the game and advertising grew into who could be the biggest, boldest, and brightest. Recent years have seen this trend modify itself into more minimalist design and classy, subdued and carefully selected colour palettes, usually matching monochromatic with a distinct chromatic colour to provide contrast and give both a serious and fresh appeal. Analyzing your brand and identifying whether or not you want to achieve feelings of clinical accuracy or comfortable reassurance for example will determine what kind of colours to use. As with all aspects in design, it is more about how colour is used than the colour itself.
When combining these technical details with the business ethic and using them to drive an ethos which has a cultural resonance – such as allusions to traditions or current pop culture trends or even drawing on old symbols (take Old Spice) then you will have a brand which not only makes its way to level one of the Logo game but functions as a recognizable and distinct device in the marketing game itself for years to come. Though the competition may be tough, at the end of the day the game changes enough to allow everyone a chance for their brand identity to shine through and take a potential lead in the hearts and minds of its target demographic.
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