An expert’s guide to design
An expert’s guide to design
By: Marissa Meyer – Senior Graphic Designer
Over the years we’ve had many clients approach us for logo design work. As a designer, I have to admit, this is one of my absolute favourite projects to take on.
Why you may ask? Well for starters it is the most conceptual, purest and challenging aspects of capturing the essence of any brand into a simplified and recognisable mark.
The challenging part usually comes in when a client confuses the Brand and Identity System with the purpose of a logo mark, or simply don’t recognise the need for those three systems to work together as one. This is where many brands risk their demise in the long run. You see a logo can only successfully live within the context and atmosphere of brand and identity systems.
What’s in a logo?
Many believe a logo is meant to relay everything about a brand. I understand that way of thinking and it is true in some respects, though to capture the whole story of a brand takes far more than a logo. Think of a logo as a signature, a name, a simplified mark/symbol/type, or the combination of those elements. It forms an easily identifiable and memorable visual element that helps customers identify and recall a company’s brand. I know, that’s a mouthful! To put it another way you know me simply as Marissa, Senior Graphic Designer at Crisp & Co. This, however is only my name, role and place of work, which doesn’t capture my creative expression, history, personality, passions, values or essence of my personhood. It’s simply a mark of identity to point you to the bigger picture of getting to know me in person.
A logo never exists purely on its own and therefore has to be considered as one element of a more complex bigger picture. It is the seed form of three systems within each other: Logo, Brand and Identity. Think of it this way, if the logo is my name (or mark of recognition), the brand is my personality, tone of voice, stories and history of who I am, while the identity is the clothing I wear and my physical attributes that makes me recognisable for who I am. These three cogs should always work together in unison.
Often companies underestimate the importance of brand building and the levels of intentionality, consistency and focus needed over many years to tell a uniform story that people will get to know and trust. Branding not only frames up the perceived image of a company, but more importantly it evokes the emotional response people have toward the company, its products or services. Emotional connections in turn, leads to the conversations that customers have with each other about the company.
What they ‘gossip’ about and what they admire, forms the lifeblood of any well-known company. This doesn’t happen overnight however; brands are built over years and the more consistent the tone of voice and values are in any communication with the outside world, the sooner a brand will harness the trust and customer loyalty from it’s followers.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.” – Seth Godin (best-selling author, entrepreneur and marketing titan)
The Identity System
This is where the magic happens in studio. An identity system usually starts after the logo is complete and is an absolute essential part of brand building. The purpose of the identity system is to build an ordered visual language around the logo and brand that not only compliments the design thinking of the logo, but also offers a set of useful, malleable visual elements that will strengthen design marketing and business collateral. In essence it is the visual wardrobe of the company. This wardrobe so to speak, adheres to style guidelines and pairing of visual components in a way that consistently and cohesively communicates the bigger company framework. Without consistent design components and adhering to the style guide, brands risk losing their identity and uniquely recognisable style altogether. Some of the visual devices that builds the brand elements and style guide are assets like: stationary, packaging, signage, marketing collateral such as printed brochures, flyers etc, websites and digital assets, presentation templates and emailers, among others. Without a strong, well-organised wardrobe your brand might find itself a little naked in the harsh environment of market competition.
A good place to start
At Crisp & Co. we listen to our client’s needs and approach any design project with the bigger picture and systems in mind. Our pursuit and passion are to make sure our clients get the best tools in their visual arsenal to ensure their brand flourishes in the long run. When you approach us with any design task, you can be assured we’re already thinking ahead of the brand and identity systems and how to best meet your needs, whilst placing your brand front and centre in the hearts and minds of your target market.