A Strong Foundation
A logo itself can be incredibly powerful and an instrumental asset of a brand. A strong logo mark is one that identifies, not explains, it’s recognisable, bold, strong, clear, simple, sticks out and sticks in your mind. A very simple mark can become a staple of society and culture, think of the Apple logo and the McDonald’s golden arches. These examples are the perfect representation of a strong foundation, though they are not the brand, the brand is the overall gut feeling it gives people. Most people when asked will be able to pair both marks to each respective companies bigger brand picture because they simply identify the brand.
This is not to say that a logo needs to be overly simplified and lack ‘ah-ha!’ moments, for example, Toblerone, FedEx and Amazon all have clever moments hidden in their logos, these logo marks are amazing examples of a good foundation as they don’t overly push ‘what they do’ but subtly hide nods to it among their identifying brand mark.
Expand on the Foundation
It’s Ideal to have a solid and strong foundation, though it’s not necessary to get your brand message across, this can be done by developing an evolving brand identity. A fully-fledged brand requires a lot of content and collateral, some examples of these are:
- Brand Guidelines
- Marketing collateral (Business cards, flyer’s, letterhead, info cards, etc.)
- Website design/web presence
- Signage (way-finding, storefronts, info)
- Print advertising (Posters, billboards, books, magazines, bus wraps/car decals, etc.)
- Digital advertising (Social Media, Web ads, gifs/animations, email headers/footers)
- Strong Social Media Presence (Can depend on business type)
- Interior design (Businesses with physical locations)
- Videography (Advertising, creative pieces, website content, original content)
- Animation/motion (not necessary for all business types, great for brands looking to appear modern)
The power of an evolving brand identity is someone being able to recognise the brand or experience a gut feeling without having to see the logo in its entirety slapped huge in the middle of a design, poster, fact-sheet or business card. This modern and familiar application when executed well is where brands reach a new level.
As listed above, there’s a lot required to fully flesh out a brand, and that’s not even all of it, this leads to a lot of companies shortcutting and simply slapping on their logo or applying their brand colours across advertising and collateral as it’s the easiest way of creating ‘Brand recognisability’. Though this still works at a bare-bones level, it doesn’t generate that same psychological pull that is created when an audience is engaged, instead, when someone thinks of their brand or visualises it, it’s ultimately underwhelming, it doesn’t get them excited as it’s just a logo and some colours. This approach to branding also normally comes hand in hand with a lack of adaptability and desire to express modern practices or trends, this results in brands becoming stuck in old ways and hanging onto ‘Legacy’ though, inevitably losing their notoriety or staying power. Have a look at these classic companies that have effectively brought their image and brand into the modern era:
A brand that’s put a lot of thought and consideration into their image is one that cares about their reputation and the gut reaction of their customers and the public, straight away that’s a point of appeal in their favour, following that up with really engaging content, imagery and messaging is going to capture the attention of an audience, leading them to prefer the fun, exciting and ultimately, human brand to the one that’s just slapped on their full logo and colours, almost feeling robotic. You don’t have to get awfully wrapped up in having a philosophically deep message either, you can simply convey that you’re a modern, fun, energetic company that cares about people by being creative, innovative and using interesting avenues to present content as opposed to cookie cutter standard design. It’s a lot more fun to be handed a business card with a cool, exciting or even minimal design extended on from the foundations of the brand than another repeat of the same ‘logo right in the middle, type and all’ over and over.
So let’s talk about how we can create an evolving brand Identity. For this I’ve created a little geometric logo mark so that I can walk through the process of starting from something very simple and more effectively apply the brand across a range of material.
The Geometric Mark
This mark was quickly designed to provide and example of how a brand could be created around it with no other parameters than simply the mark itself. I took the mark from here and began to design a brand direction.
From here I fleshed the mark out into a full brand concept called ‘Retro Boys’ an energetic company founded by two mates that create collectables, toys and figures from retro games and media. As this is a quick exercise some details aren’t 100% but I want you to focus on the application of the brand across the different areas. I decided to roll the design out over a couple different mockups to further showcase where this brand can go, how it can express their messaging, taste and visual language, etc.
From these examples you can see that by doing little things that align within the brand parameters, like using the logo as a pattern on the packaging, using pixel icons on the business cards and using brand elements like type and colour across the different applications, you’re able to have everything live under one cohesive umbrella without sacrificing the ability to make it interesting and enticing. This is simply the beginning, as this could be taken way further, the logo pattern could be used in animation, it could be used on the side of massive buildings intertwined with graphics, photography and typography, it could even be used for the way-finding at their offices or warehouse.
There’s honestly endless possibilities for application, opening your mind to these options paints the picture of a brand that sticks there, a brand that creates that gut feeling in someone. These are the brands that truly excel or make a difference.
Thank you for reading! I hope you’re able to take something away from this and begin to see more of the fun little tricks used in branding.
Have a good one!