One of the most valuable assets of any company is its brand, the image by which people recognize and respond to it, the one that makes them decide almost immediately that they wish to do their purchasing here and no place else. Such use of images goes back to ancient times, when, for instance, a Roman wine maker would have a sign with a picture of a bush; this practice was, indeed, especially effective and valuable at a time when not many people knew how to read or write.
Today, with the burgeoning of the Internet, brand identity is more important than it has ever been in the past. The most essential element that helps shape this identity is the design. In the sections below we will cover the ways in which this is so.
What is the difference between brand identity and design?
The identity of a company includes the brand, but also much much more: It also includes the name of the company, the music that customers hear when they enter the store, the colors used on the business envelopes and letterheads, and so on. Your brand, in short, is a part of a system that should be well-designed to generate a positive image of your business, what it is and what it does. A recent study made in Great Britain has shown that 75 percent of those businesses that focus on improving their graphic design elements have gained a competitive edge over those that are less knowledgeable in the field.
What should a brand be like?
Your brand should be one that captures the attention of the potential customer. It should communicate the purpose of the company in a way that the name of the business alone cannot, and it should provide motivation for customers to continue using their product.
Just how important a logo can be is demonstrated by the one used by McDonald’s in its early days, before Ray Kroc bought the company and dramatically transformed it into the multimillion dollar business that it is today. This logo sported a chubby, fast-moving chef carrying a sign that said “I’m ‘Speedee.’” Kroc, quick to notice the “low-key” image that this logo created, discarded it and substituted the Golden Arches that have been a symbol of McDonald’s ever since.
A logo should have as few elements as possible so that it becomes embedded in the viewer’s mind. It should also be easy to identify from a distance by drivers in their cars.
Some important principles of graphic design
The University of Michigan has posted a list of five principles of design on its website. These are:
- proximity: The various elements in the logo should be grouped according to their type, with similar ones being placed close to each other.
- alignment: Everything should be connected visually; the eye should not be forced to wander all over the design but should be made to focus on one place.
- repetition: The same design elements should be employed throughout the logo.
- contrast: This is the complement of proximity, stating that you should emphasize the contrasts between different elements.
- typography: Hundreds of different fonts have been created by designers. Some of them, like Helvetica, are quite simple, while others, such as Edwardian Script ITC and Old English Text MT, are much more elaborate. In general, you should avoid using fonts in the latter group so that people will not have to think hard about what they are reading. Remember: The people who will be viewing these things are in a hurry and do not have the time for complex thought when it comes to advertisements. Some fonts are “theme specific” and should be used only in document headings.
Brands and trust
One last thing that should be mentioned about brands is that they establish trust between the consumer and the seller. When you create a logo, you are in effect making a promise to deliver products and services of a superior quality. If you do not follow through on that promise, people will not react favorably to the logo anymore.
image source: inblurbs.com