What comes to mind when you think about brand design? If it is logos and specific colours, you are on the right track! Having a unique and aesthetically designed brand makes a company command a distinctive position in the market amidst tough competition. It is therefore discouraging how the concept of brand design is usually thrown all over to mean different things altogether.
First, great brand design has some sense of continuity among all business assets that come into contact with your clients, customers or consumers. Continuity in this case means how your identity, symbols and other elements of your brand or product are extended and applied to communications, marketing and digital assets.
While continuity gives room for applying brand features, it creates expectations and emotional attachment from consumers. When this aspect is watered down, it creates confusion and or at times results to rejection. A good example is when a product mockup of Arimis was widely shared on social media and there was a consumer outcry for the brand to retain its original brand identity (although the source of the product mockup was not clear). This means that businesses with clear, consistent branded designs have more impact on audiences because people know exactly what they can expect from them. When it is necessary to change your brand design, you better be sure that it will improve brand attachment and loyalty.
Having continuity and consistency in mind, now comes in flexibility. Brands grow from humble beginnings to great investments. It is crucial to remember that businesses age with time, while consumer behaviours and preferences change from generation to generation. The vice versa is true that old-styled tendencies can emerge, spiced up by modern age trends.
There is a thin line between flexibility and consistency. More than ever, those who care about great design must recognise agility cannot be ignored while keeping the core brand intact. It is not surprising that companies like Nike have invested in research and innovation to keep tabs on the current shoe trends. Nike’s ‘The Air Force 1’ from the early 80s has maintained consistency and at the same time designed shoes for all generations. In the year 2000, after 16 years of research and development, Nike launched a cushioning technology - Nike Shox which is widely and cleverly applied even by its rivals.
When done right, a brand’s recognition is usually strong, retains old and draws new customers or even talent.
Brand design and advertising go hand in hand. This simply means that if one wants good or better results from advertising, then you need a great brand design solution.
On the other hand, smartphones have created an opportunity for smaller spaces on the design end. With the current population mostly accessing information via handheld mobile devices and increase in usage of smartphones, it means that outdoor media will shrink. Therefore, designing for mobile devices will flourish. App and web designers will have to respond to consumer behaviour and preferences around information and content consumption.
Louis Gathara is a brand designer at zeti creative.