Design as a Key Element in Successful Branding

There are many parts of branding from the strategy, positioning, culture, to the brand statement. However, design is obviously the most recognizable aspect of branding. Design and branding are inseparable but business owners often confuse the relationship between the two. For instance, many business owners associate the logo as the brand when it is more of an avatar for the company. With that said, how exactly does design impact a brand?

Since the topic of the logo was brought up, you can say that the logo design is meant to support or conceptualize your brand statement and identity rather than represent the brand together. Take the financial company ING for example. Their logo has the symbol of a lion next to their company name. The purpose here is to represent a pedigree that commands respect, is authoritative, and is a leader. These are all qualities that people want to associate with when it comes to their finances.

Then there’s the visual branding of a company. Often times, the logo and the statement is not enough to convey the identity and purpose of the brand. In these cases, the overall visual presentation helps form the rest of the picture. A banking company targeting median-income customers and small business owners can show friendly bankers helping their customers with all their needs. They can show the imagery of small business owners being pleased with their services. The point is that visual branding can create the desired perception through the use of photography, videos, and graphic images.

Design in communication is an area that more brands are becoming more privy to. For example, by using signature visual brand elements (graphics, photography, font, logo, etc.) in direct mail campaigns, emails, blog posts, and videos, your audience will start to distinguish your messages from the rest. This is important because it’s becoming more difficult to reach customers with the abundance of ads they get on a daily basis. If you have tied in value into your communications and have put your unique stamp on them, you will start training your customers to start paying attention to your messages.

One area of design for branding purposes that is often overlooked is product design. A good example of a company that makes an impact with product design is Apple. Whether you love or hate their products, you can always point out which products are made from Apple. They have a sleek and minimalist-artsy design to all of their products which is very distinguishable from the products of their competitors. Despite the fact that their products are more costly and slightly inferior tech-wise than competing products, their customers can’t get enough of their designs and brand appeal.

At the end of the day, design is a key element of your branding but needs to be supported by a strong identity and statement that is emotionally appealing to the target audience. That said, it’s the visual elements of your brand that people recognize immediately and people often remember your brand by. The big takeaway here is that design goes beyond the logo.

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