Brand Identity – Less is More

Brand Identity – Less is More

A logo redesign is one of the most rewarding projects to be involved in. There is a real sense of responsibility to the brand and a lot of pressure to get it right. Not only does a new identity need to be authentic to the brand, it also needs to be able to stand the test of time. A logo is so much more than just a design – it is the most “visible value” of the service or product. It gives a face to a name and can help tell a story. As the visual identity of a brand, a logo also helps the customer remember their experience with a company. Although most of us in the ad agency or healthcare marketing worlds are not designers by trade, many of us are quick to have an opinion when presented with logo concepts. And while we often base our critique of a logo on the subjective, David Airey suggests otherwise in his book Logo Design Love. In it he shares insights on the history and evolution of iconic designs, such as FedEx, Citi and Kellogg’s. His knowledge of branding and years of experience designing logos led him to define the “seven elements of iconic design.”  Here is a quick overview: Keep it simple – A simple logo means it is a versatile one, so it will work in a variety of media applications, such as signage, digital advertising and collateral. Make it relevant – The logo must be relevant to the industry, the client (stakeholders) and the customer. The logo doesn’t need to literally say what the company does, but it does need to help tell the company’s story and make it stand out from its competitors. Incorporate tradition – Consider using symbols that have been long associated with the brand. Airey mentions how Vanderbilt University’s logo design incorporates the oak leaf (strength and steadfastness) and the acorn (seed of knowledge), elements that not only represent the school’s values, but also reflect its status as an active arboretum. Aim for distinction – An iconic logo needs to stand out and be something consumers won’t forget. People are inundated with messages everywhere they turn (over 5,000 a day!), so the logo should be easily recognizable and centered on a strong idea. Airey recommends designing a logo in black and white first to test its strength. Colors are secondary to the idea or shape of the design. Commit to memory – As Airey points out, sometimes one quick glance is all the time you have to make an impression on your audience. Imagine consumers driving past your billboard. Again, keep it simple. Think small – Logos need to be adaptable for a variety of applications, including very small spaces such as banner ads or social media icons. According to Airey, the minimum size of your logo should be one inch without the loss of detail. Focus on one thing – Focus on one feature or idea in your design, not two or three. Don’t overdo it with so much cleverness that it becomes confusing and easily dismissed. An iconic logo design is able to stand out from the thousands of other logos consumers are bombarded with on a daily basis. An iconic design is simple, relevant, distinctive and timeless. Does your brand’s logo have what it takes to be an iconic design? If not, it might be time to consider...
Branding in a Visual Revolution

Branding in a Visual Revolution

We humans are visual creatures. There’s evidence of this everywhere. As you scroll through your social media news feeds, images most likely catch your eye first. We share photos of vacations, not journal entries. The list goes on. The anecdotal evidence of our visual preferences is supported by numerous studies, reports and facts: The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text (source: http://www.t-sciences.com/news/humans-process-visual-data-better). Visual stimuli and emotional responses are easily linked in the brain, resulting in stronger information retention (source: http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/350326/Studies-Confirm-the-Power-of-Visuals-in-eLearning). Posts on Facebook with pictures have an 87% interaction rate (source: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/photos-generate-engagement-research/). According to Buzzfeed, every minute 510,000 photos are liked on Instagram. Image dominant social media services such as Snapchat and Pinterest are seeing rapid growth. One of the biggest indications revealed itself last month when, for the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year wasn’t a word – it’s this , the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji! We are all aware of the existence of these expressive symbols, and the vast majority of us are using them as well. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Emogi, 63 percent of people use them at least several times a week. You might be saying, “We know millennials and younger generations are using them, but I’m sure that doesn’t carry through to the older generations.” While the most frequent users are in the 25-29 age demographic, roughly 63% of people age 35 plus consider themselves frequent users – and only eight percent never use emojis . Big brands are taking notice, too, from Domino’s Pizza’s highly publicized emoji ordering system, to Disney and Lucas film teaming up with Twitter to create Star Wars themed emojis to promote the release of the next film in the franchise. The healthcare industry presents ample opportunities to embrace the realities of visual communications. Emotional, human interactions happen every day and are better captured through pictures than words. The latest technology can be showcased in exciting, engaging ways. As we incorporate more visuals in our communications strategy, we need to make sure they remain true to the brand. Strategy should be behind the decision on what types of visuals to utilize, and when to employ them. We should be asking ourselves questions such as: Do the images reflect the essence of the brand? Are they all consistent? Are they unique to the brand? What emotions do they convey? Do we have a library of key “images” as we do keywords? Your brand can remain ahead in this visual world. Determine the “tone” you want to embrace, share it with key images, and be part of the visual...
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