Logo & Brand Identity: 6 design imperatives for long term success
A company’s reputation is one of its most critical assets. A brand identity system is the vehicle for its expression, comprised of a logo or brandmark, and all other media touchpoints that support it.
Successful logo and brand identity design depends on seizing clarity about the present, including an understanding of a company’s legacy, values, strengths, culture, and competition (to name a few). This level of understanding brings fuel for a constructive and collaborative design process that can now shift to test bold ideas oriented to the future. Thinking, preparing and designing with the future front of mind shapes a result that’s built to connect, compete, and endure for years.
Whether you’re embarking on a new venture or revitalizing your brand, here are 6 key steps towards success now, and lasting success down the road:
Showing what you’re genuinely about builds trust. That starts by identifying the true nature and vision of your organization, culminating in bold, clear expressions that represent those genuine aspects. Providing access to that integrity pays dividends over time. The more that visual and verbal brand expressions match real-world behaviors (then reflect back on the identity again), the better. Authenticity helps an identity endure, and endurance wins the race.
The best brands stand for something. Brand identity is the access point. What is the essence of your organization? What is its higher purpose? Early on in the process it’s imperative that the big idea or strategic position unifies leadership and builds consensus. Rallying around a single point of focus will ensure its expression is consistently carried through the process.
Be different (within your market).
Boldly expressing distinction shows you command the field. Keep to authentic strengths but push a unique value proposition. Show how you stand apart. Know your competitors and their positioning motives. Pushing against creative boundaries reveals where they are. This imperative holds the most value potential because it’s typically the most underused by competitors.
Design for flexibility.
Organizations grow and evolve. Flexibility (in terms of meaning) leaves space for a company to grow and shift with it over time.
A portable, cohesive design across different types of media shows a commitment to detail, and sends a signal of organization and dependability. Incongruent elements, quality, or color (like a typo on a resume) can undermine your message. Consistency is a brand identity’s ally over time as its meaning builds equity.
Play to the savviest in the crowd.
Stronger design and computer portability means your audience is more design-educated than before. Most of us shape our perceptions and behavior around the language of design and its subtleties (often instinctually). Assume your audience understands that language fluently, and that the savviest amongst them may be your most passionate advocates, whether you’re B2B or B2C.
Design that speaks with distinction, clarity and authenticity is the most immediately relatable. However, the endurance of an organization’s reputation behind its logo makes successful brand design more about winning a marathon than a sprint.