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How to elevate your brand with design

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As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” - and he’s not wrong.

For a business, branding is everything, and the way in which you use design to create, implement and maintain this is extremely important. After all, your brand is what makes you stand out from the crowd.

But what is branding and why is it important? In this article, we go over what you should think about when it comes to branding your business, as well as tips on how you can create a suitable name, logo and house style.

What is branding in design?

In a nutshell, brand design can be defined as the process of creating a name, logo and other symbolic elements that give your company a distinctive identity. Your company’s brand design is what sets you apart from other organisations, especially businesses that may be your competitors. The way you design your brand will be how customers recognise you and what you do, and it’ll be what keeps them coming back time and time again.

Why is brand design important?

Brand design is arguably one of the most important elements of a business. It’s how your customers will identify your company in the first instance, and it will ultimately influence how they perceive your brand, which in turn can drive new business and increase awareness of the products or services you offer. Since brand design is so important, it’s crucial that you concentrate on getting it just right. To do this, consider the following factors to bear in mind:

  • Allow for creative freedom and set a precedent for collaboration and feedback
  • Encourage a feeling of brand cohesion between every area of design, with all components working together
  • Establish values, aims and objectives in your brand and express these through design
  • From the graphic designer to the director and the content writer to the marketing manager, make sure everyone’s on board with the same understanding of the brand
  • Produce a rich, professional design, even if you’re budget doesn’t necessarily reflect it
  • Start early with designing your brand and allow it to grow as you develop as a business.

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How can design add value to a brand?

There’s no denying that design can add significant value to your brand. How you brand your business can give it more leverage in the industry, meaning that you become firmly established in the marketplace. In turn, this can make you a more appealing investment opportunity to potential clients.

In short, the brand design of your business is what will help drive sales and make you a profit, so it’s extremely important you spend the time, effort and money required to ensure that your brand is spot on.

How to design your brand

By the time you’re in a position to design your brand, it’s likely you already know what your business is about and you’ve fine tuned your products and services - but how will you make people notice them? That’s where your brand comes in.

When it comes to designing your brand, you might want to take it back to basics and concentrate on these three areas first - your brand name, logo and house style. By establishing these, you should be on your way to discovering and nailing down your business’ brand so you can attract customers and start building your business.

How to design a brand name

Thinking of a brand name for your business can be pretty daunting, especially since once you’ve picked it, that’s the one that has to stick. The good news is, there are a number of tricks you can try that may help you decide on an appropriate name for your company.

For example, you could contemplate the idea of using a founder or inventor’s name - which is exactly how Cadbury came to find its name. The multinational confectionery company is named after its founder, John Cadbury, and there’s no denying it’s a brand that’s been a well-known household name for centuries.

You could also take into consideration what your business does. For instance, British Airlines is just that - it’s the nation’s flag carrier airline. As obvious as this may seem, choosing a brand name like this makes it clear as to what your business is all about, helping to avoid confusion to your customers so that they can easily identify you and what you do.

You may even want to think about taking a word out of context. Apple is the perfect example of this. It’s rumoured that co-founder Steve Jobs suggested the name on his drive home from visiting an apple farm. What started as a totally random, spur of the moment idea turned the technology company into a worldwide enterprise.

Elsewhere, brands have approached the naming process by identifying a word that encapsulates their company’s style, intentions and unique selling point. In the case of Innocent Smoothies, the three founders of the healthy drink company started work during university and took nine months to find a suitable name. They wanted a simple title that induced feelings of comfort, relaxation and calm in customers. Innocent was ultimately the ideal title as it automatically promoted the guilt-free feeling customers would experience through consuming their product.

How to design a brand logo

Once you’ve decided on your brand name, you’ll need to create a logo. If your brand name makes it obvious as to what this should look like, you’ve hit the jackpot, but if you’re struggling to visualise an image that would look perfect alongside your business name, you’ll have a little more work to do.

It’s time to get creative. Look at other companies and their logos for inspiration - but by no means should you copy. You will need to come up with a logo that’s totally unique to your business. It should be something that sets you apart from the rest.

Your logo could quite simply be the name of your business. For instance, British supermarket chain ASDA simply uses its name in all capitals as its logo. Alternatively, you could choose a specific symbol to represent your brand, just like sportswear brand Nike did with its iconic ‘swoosh’, otherwise referred to as a tick.

For many established brands, logo design is a way of indicating the purpose of a brand or an opportunity to utilise clever imagery as a method of subliminally causing certain thoughts in the minds of people who see it. For example, massively successful delivery service FedEx expertly formed a sideways-pointing arrow between the ‘e’ and ‘x’, alluding to the urgent nature of their services. In some cases, these messages are even more subtle. Amazon, for instance, has a smile underneath half of the logo, but as it spans from ‘a’ to the ‘z’ in the brand name, it alludes to customers that they provide absolutely everything from A to Z.

How to design a brand house style

Even once you’ve made your mind up about your brand logo, it doesn’t end there. Next, you’ll need to decide on your brand house style. In simple terms, house style is a set of rules that states how anything to do with your business, such as written communication, documents and materials, should be formatted.

House style refers to specific detailing, such as certain fonts, colours and even font sizes, as well as logo sizing and position. It’s important to establish a house style to ensure consistency across your brand, as this means your customers are more likely to put their trust in you and your business.

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ISSUE 11

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