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Don’t Skimp On Brand Identity

Human beings are visual hunters. We get 90% of the information around us through our eyes. Your brand has to look like what your market is hunting for. To get that to happen, you need to work with an excellent – professional – graphic designer. You have to give that designer useful directions so that he or she can put their talents in full service to your strategic objectives. You need to share a clear creative brief with that person, a brief that is the result of a well-thought-out brand strategy. That way, the designer can leverage the immense power of graphic design to attract the market (and the employees) that you want. She or he can integrate your brand strategy into your logo, your retail interior, your packaging, your online presence and every other aspect of your storytelling. Here are a few tips to ensure yours is the best it can be.

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Topics: Identity

Make Your Brand Name Count

If you’re in a position to name something: a business, a product, an event, anything, please make it count for something. I recently witnessed a naming crime that was nothing short of tragic, on three different levels. Two family-owned companies with synergistic offerings decided to merge. Both companies had decent names. Not great but decent. Both names had meaning to the market. That is to say the market understood the origins of the names and what they stood for. There were existing market relationships with both brands. Either name would have been a workable moniker for the combined company. Either would have been a meaningful banner to carry forward. However, the owners decided that the new company should have a new name. Fair enough. Why settle for a good name when you can have a great one? But then the wheels came off the bus.

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Topics: Identity

Brand Identity Now Extends to Voice and Search

Man has always been a visual hunter. We get 90% of the information about our world through our eyes. At least that’s the way it’s always been. When hunting for food, primitive man would scan the savannah for signs of movement, for spoor or for tracks. For centuries we’ve relied on our eyes to navigate the world. Until now. Now we hunt online using search engines. Now we use voice command to find what we need. Back when we were visual hunters, branding best practices would dictate that consistency across all consumer touch points was essential. The logo has to look exactly the same on the business card, on the brochure and on the trade show booth. Likewise, the colors had to match exactly. Consumers were hunting for the products and services they needed and that visual consistency allowed them to recognize and identify their prey. Today, that consistency has to be extended to SEO and voice recognition. And it’s being done to excellent effect by Ford Trucks and Dennis Leary.

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Topics: Identity

Think Strategically About Your Brand’s Visual Identity

At some point in your brand’s history you’ll have to determine what sort of visual identity to employ. Should it be all sweetness and light, with pastel colors, heart shapes and curlicues? Or should it display large, aggressive color blocks of red, black and white, with big, bold typography that demands attention? Should your brand be a peacock or an eagle, or some other bird altogether? It’s a serious discussion because decision makers will use these visual cues to determine whether or not to let your brand into their lives. You have to remember what purpose your customers or clients have for you. Your product or service is a tool that they use to achieve something. What is it? Whatever their purpose is for you, you have to look like you can fulfill that purpose.

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Topics: Identity

New Vistas in Municipal Brand Identity

The City of Santa Clarita was first incorporated back in 1987 when I was a freelance graphic designer. Almost immediately the new City Council announced they would commission the design of a new logo to represent the city. As a resident, I was excited. I knew my portfolio was good, plus I had done volunteer work for the campaign to incorporate. I thought I had a good chance of landing the job so I eagerly attended the City Council meeting where the new logo would be discussed. That evening I looked around the room, wondering who was there to compete for the logo and who was there for other city business. Finally, the agenda item came up. A councilwoman, much respected for her tireless efforts to achieve incorporation, began speaking about what the new logo would have to express. There would have to be a house to represent our residential community. There would have to be a factory to represent business. There would have to be an orange tree to represent agriculture. There would have to be an oak tree to represent strength and heritage. On and on she droned, listing item after item that were must-haves, all to appear in a space that, most often, would appear no bigger than your thumb. My heart sank as I realized they didn’t really want a logo. They wanted a city seal.

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Topics: Identity

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