In today’s crowded and competitive business world, everyone is striving to find new ways to stay relevant and stand out. To be unique in your market means your business needs an upper hand. Brand Design is one of the most effective strategies to help improve your market presence and increase digital marketing ROI.
In its simplest form, a brand is the combination of a company’s personality and its visual identity. Besides making your business easily recognizable, brand design keeps you in your customers’ mind long after your interaction. Consumers will relate your brand identity with your offerings and that existence, good or bad, is determined by how well your brand is positioned and the consistency of exposure to your ideal customer.
Imagine, if you will, an aisle at your local store. There are lots of products, probably 3-4 shelves filled high with attention grabbing, well designed packages. Each stating that they are the best. Some of the products look very familiar. You search specifically for the product you want, bypassing all of the other products until you find what you are looking for. You pick your product off of the shelf and purchase, leaving satisfied knowing you bought the perfect solution. This scenario represents the #1 goal of marketing i.e. when your customer is ready to buy, your brand needs to be top-of-mind.
Staying relevant in the buyer’s mind means they buy from you in the future and even refer their friends. Effective branding will also form an emotional bond with consumers by giving the business a human touch that resonates with their target audience and will prompt them to share your brand. Consistently investing in your business’s branding will allow you to tell your story the way you want, establishing that emotional connection and keeping your brand top-of-mind when your ideal customer is ready to buy.
What Is Brand Design?
As we just defined above, Brand Design is the visual representation of a company’s identity in public. It encompasses digital spaces like your website and social media to physical locations such as shops and offices. Brand design focuses on visual components that influence aesthetics and business personality.
With proper execution, brand design awakens research insights through consumer touchpoints like packaging, websites, and promotional collateral. But before these touchpoints come alive, there’s a need to understand the elements that go into brand design.
Brand Design Elements
A brand’s identity comprises different visual components. However, these features must work together to resonate with the audience. Here are some elements to include in your overall brand design and strategy.
Although some companies ignore this component, there are several reasons why logo design is important. For starters, logos capture a prospect’s attention and make them curious about your products and services.
They also establish market dominance by communicating ownership over what you sell. Moreover, logos trigger a memory of your brand even before your company name is mentioned.
Several factors come into play when creating a logo. The first one is simplicity. When your logo has too much detail, it appears unattractive and confusing. Simple doesn’t mean boring either. Many of the most iconic logos are comprised of simple shapes and symbols.
Though you can borrow some ideas from the current market, grounding your logo on trends may threaten the brand’s longevity. Instead, focus on developing a logo that represents your business’s personality and offerings so you can remain relevant to your target industries and audiences.
Color distinguishes your brand from other market players by creating a touch of exclusivity. Remember our shopping store aisle analogy? One impactful way that consumers will remember your company’s brand is through color. According to a past University of Loyola study, color boosts brand awareness by 80%.
Color also influences your customers’ moods and helps to shape their brand perception. However, don’t impose a color on your customers. Take time to study the meanings of colors and how they impact the viewer.
Here are some popular branding colors and what they represent.
- Yellow – Nothing marks new beginnings like the color yellow. Besides stimulating optimism and joy, this color is vibrant enough to draw window shoppers for a closer look. Moreover, it breaks the barrier between sellers and buyers, painting your products as fun and affordable. However, yellow can overwhelm the viewer when it’s too bright or too much.
- Red – This color goes well with brands that are bold and youthful. Red is perfect for creating excitement about clearance sales, thanks to its association with passion and eagerness.
- Pink – This hue resonates well with female audiences, making it ideal for ladies’ products that communicate sexuality and sophistication. You can also use pink to provide a sense of soothing calm without losing the brand’s youthful energy.
- Black – This shade symbolizes power. If you’re creating a luxurious brand, black propels you to classy audiences without compromising simplicity. Even so, using it on wesite backgrounds reduces visibility.
- Blue – This shade elevates your customers’ mood and portrays you as reliable in their eyes. However, its connection to appetite regulation makes it unsuitable for fast food brands. Customers can also associate blue with institutionalism or healthcare and hospitals.
Brand typography represents the entire visual range of your written copy. It comprises different components that make up your brand like your brand type, headlines, quotes, and or callouts. Serif typefaces such as Georgia or Times can give your brand an old-school feel and present you as trustworthy and authoritative.
On the other hand, sans serif styles like Helvetica or Avenir have a fresh look that adds a modern touch to your brand. These typefaces offer great options for body copy and larger sized headlines.
Another element is font size. While larger texts draw attention to particular elements, your message may be difficult to see if the font size is too small.
A well thought out brand will find the right combination of typefaces and fonts that create a unique visual that is both enticing and representative of your business.
Besides aesthetics, shape complements other design elements by amplifying your intended message(s). For example, round shapes such as ovals and circles evoke feelings of togetherness, while straight edges like triangles and squares signal stability.
Shapes are considered the building blocks or foundations of any great design. Our brains are wired to pick out shapes and memorize them easily as a way of learning new things. Shapes leave a lasting impact and are easier to recall, which is why great brand design is simple in nature and often benefit from the use of shapes.
Images complement other content types to provide a deeper understanding of your company. Photos are also versatile, boosting marketing efforts through social media, personal websites, emails, and print materials. The first step of merging photography with brand design is visualization. Though you can draw inspiration from other websites and magazines, your photos should depict your brand’s personality.
The choice of images should also remain consistent regardless of where you post them. What’s more, your visuals should awaken different emotions among prospects, from passion and empathy to grief and excitement. You can also use video to introduce storytelling and hold viewers’ attention for extended periods. Recent studies show that view engagement increases when video is used.
How To Develop Your Brand Design
A lot of effort goes into developing a solid brand. Here are some important steps that will help your brand design be a success.
Define Your Values
Brand design starts with identifying the brand’s driving force and why your company is unique. For example, you can commit to a cause or build a community around consumer and employee ideals. Besides guiding decision-making, brand values increase morale to boost productivity.
Company principles also improve sales by reinforcing your brand message.
Remember, customers can sense deception when you don’t live by your values. Moreover, successful brands reflect their values in every area of their organization, from operations to marketing and customer service.
Conduct Market Research
This step recreates the operating conditions of your future brand to reveal the challenges that might affect its success. You can start with an industry outlook, evaluating metrics like size and estimated growth. The next step is observing consumers.
Separate your target customers from the rest of the market by classifying them according to age, gender, income, even marital status.
Having this data will help you understand their expectations and meet them at their point of need. Don’t forget to study your competitors. By identifying their strengths and weaknesses, you are able to spot market gaps and opportunities to restructure your strategy and content for better product differentiation.
Design Your Brand Elements
Using your research insights and company values, create visual elements that communicate your brand’s message. Test your brand design in areas where you expect to use your brand. For instance, ‘environmental testing’ refers to showing your brand in context of different situations and displaying your logo where you might often use it. Understanding how your brand performs in different places and if it adequately represents your brand is an exercise that will help to confirm legibility and proper scale.
Furthermore, creating a style guide will help control the use of brand graphics and elaborate on the idea behind the design elements. It goes without saying that setting the rules for how your logo should be used will help keep your brand consistent and looking great!
Consolidate Your Touchpoints
Although every brand element component is created separately, each one should contribute to your brand’s unified visual design system. Customers interact with brands online through websites, social platforms, blog posts, and product reviews so each touchpoint should be a consistent representation of your business and brand.
Consumers can also view your brand design in other environments such as company vehicles, clothing, billboards and banners, business cards, and advertisements.
Be sure to choose your consumer touchpoints carefully as each one should be an area where your target audience chooses to spend their time reading, purchasing, or browsing.
The Considerations of Brand Design
Benefits of a Strong Brand: A Strong Brand Cannot Exist Without Intentional Design.
Consumers are more likely to trust a promoted product that they are familiar with than buy what they don’t know. If the quality matches the hype, customers might not even be interested in trying rival brands. Customers that remain loyal to a brand, experience the same values at each touchpoint, and each experience reinforces what they believe about your brand.
Remember the shopping aisle analogy? Yep, customer loyalty is what brings back repeat buyers because they associate your brand shapes, colors, typography with their personal experiences interacting with your brand.
You might be the best in your industry, but customers and other market players won’t take you seriously if your brand design is mediocre. A unique identity demonstrates commitment toward your promises, which means customers can count on your brand to stay relevant despite market changes.
Your business may be doing well now, but its longevity isn’t guaranteed without branding. Conversely, a solid brand is bigger than an individual and may survive long after you’re gone.
At the same time, branding allows you to bring new services to the market thanks to the preexisting loyalty of your customers.
Established brands can charge their worth because their reputation precedes them. Clients don’t mind paying more for quality products or services when they know what to expect. The quality of your brand contributes to this psychology and should be maintained across all customer touchpoints.
Things to Keep in Mind: Cautions for Every Business Owner
Brand Design and Marketing Costs
Numerous costs go into brand design. For starters, you need a professional brand designer to develop the brand identity from scratch or develop a brand strategy and bring to life the values that your business represents. Developing thoughtful creative solutions takes time and the creative process to do so is a proven solution that can’t be rushed.
Additionally, it’s costly to run and maintain marketing or advertising campaigns that will help grow your business. Digital ads, search engine optimization, social media management, and regular content writing for a blog are areas that, when done right, will yield a higher return on your investment and help increase engagement.
With every company investing in brand design, choosing products can be overwhelming for the consumer. It’s even more confusing when products have similar features and quality assurances.
How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? Brand tone, style, or personality are ways to differentiate your brand from market competition. Brand design is the bedrock of market growth and marketing campaigns are what feed and accelerate this growth. Both are needed and both have a role to play in helping you to differentiate and scale your business.
Diversification can be challenging when consumers associate your brand with a particular service. Similarly, users have heightened expectations of product quality when your brand becomes popular.
You risk losing customers when you don’t deliver consistent quality. Worse still, fixing a tainted reputation can be daunting when your brand is well-known.
Top 5 Examples of Brand Design
You can only appreciate brand design by witnessing its real-life applications. Here are some top companies that have used this concept to their advantage.
This coffee company uses neutral green colors to capture customers’ attention and tell a story. Even so, Starbucks is always ready to evolve, changing designs according to the season. That way, the company stays relevant throughout the year and retains customer interest both offline and online.
But although Starbucks experiments with different designs, its Siren trademark remains constant to preserve familiarity. The outlet also restricts itself to three fonts: Lander, Pike, and Sodo Sans.
For starters, Sodo Sans is descriptive and informative, making it ideal for body copy. On the other hand, Lander is more artistic and expressive, explaining its role in evoking emotion. Likewise, Pike is common in headlines because of its power in highlighting.
Nike’s logo proves how a simple design can deliver extraordinary results. The company’s identity precedes the product. As such, customers may buy a Nike shoe because of the hype instead of its features. Nike’s brand design is also relatable.
Rather than listing commodities, the company engages the audience through storytelling before introducing a product.
The design’s simplicity also extends to its color scheme. In most cases, the swoosh logo comes in a solid black or white hue depending on the product’s color. Although orange emblems were common in the past, the color is mostly used on Nike shoeboxes today.
What’s more, the brand’s Futura Bold typeface emphasizes a winning attitude along with its “Just Do It” trademark.
Despite the numerous adjustments over the years, Google’s brand design has always maintained simplicity. First off, the logo creates an approachable feel with its simple geometric forms and sans-serif font. The symbol also remains visually appealing despite its color fusion.
Furthermore, Google products like Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Voice complement each other without threatening the main brand. Google also utilizes compacting with its condensed ‘G’ logo. That way, the compressed style guarantees brand visibility when the entire logo appears overbearing.
This brand stands out for several reasons. First off, its red, white, and black color scheme sets it apart from other beverages by making it easily recognizable. Although these shades vary slightly with flavor, Coca-Cola colors entice customers with their refreshing familiarity.
Another feature is its timeless logo that evokes nostalgia without losing the modern look. Moreover, the company’s Spencerian font dates back to the company’s establishment, guaranteeing brand consistency.
The Netflix logo has undergone different changes before settling on its current design. Although it included the Netflix brand name, the first logo resembled the symbols of many other companies in the ’90s.
It was not until 2000 that the film service embraced a unique brand identity. In addition to a red, white, and black color scheme, the logo incorporated a subtle curve below the text to create a three-dimensional effect.
Netflix simplified its logo even further in 2010 to keep up with the new wave of customers. The logo may have retained its arch, but Netflix dropped the 3D layout to resonate with the tech-savvy Millennials.
Apart from making the brand recognizable, this simple logo represents the company’s consistency. Moreover, the ‘N’ symbol presents a cinematic feel thanks to its red and black color scheme.Take a look at the evolution of the Netflix logo throughout the years.
Top 3 Tips and Reminders for Brand Design
Your brand’s success depends on the following design practices.
Product quality should match your marketing efforts. Otherwise, customers will eventually uncover your deceit, ruining your reputation. Likewise, product features should go hand in hand with price.
While overpricing commodities chases customers away, unrealistically low prices raise quality concerns.
Target an Audience
Not everyone will buy your products or appreciate the brand design. As such, tailor your marketing efforts to specific users. Remember, consumer needs constantly evolve, making it necessary to conduct regular market research.
Consistency creates the impression of a professional and reliable brand. It’s also cost-effective since you don’t spend cash on drastic changes. Additionally, consistency simplifies your marketing efforts since you don’t have to convince users about your credibility.
You can solidify the brand design by using the same tone for different channels. Moreover, avoid fake offers and promote your brand on multiple platforms. You should also provide brand guidelines to prevent errors.
Branding’s purpose is to create demand, not just for your product or service, but for your specific brand. As humans we have a limited ability to store alternatives. We create “shelves” in our minds for alternatives. When we go to buy something, we only comfortably buy something that is already on our shelf. If ensuring long-term profitability is a goal for your company, you remain relevant with demand for your brand rather than for the product. You must occupy that shelf.
Your brand design should be simple and memorable and assembled with your target audience in mind . Now that you know why brand design is so important, start implementing brand design into your business’s marketing and communication today!