To build a great brand you need great design. Even if you are happy with a simple logo and plain packaging, quality design is still vital for the interaction you create with your customers.
A strong brand makes the difference between selling a commodity (eg. underpants) and selling a value that people buy into, allowing you to charge a premium for it (eg. Calvin Klein underpants). Although the amount of premium varies hugely, the principle applies equally to luxury brands as to everyday household products; and to services and institutions, commercial ventures as well as public sector. A huge amount of effort and consideration goes into creating a great brand and nearly as much should go into maintaining it over time.
People often confuse a company’s brand with its logo - which is like saying that football is a game about scoring goals. It is - but it’s also much more. It’s like saying that David Beckham is a footballer. As it happens he’s also a super brand who’s paid millions to promote other super brands, including the aforementioned Calvin Klein underpants.
A logo is the visual symbol of a brand, the first association people have between a picture and everything your company stands for (see our previous blog on logo design); but your logo is only one part of your visual identity. Your visual identity includes the colour palette and font for all your company literature, the look and feel of your stores, your staff uniforms and the packaging for your online deliveries. A visual identity is an entire system that needs to be carefully policed and enforced. It might sound heavy-handed and yawn-some but that’s what it takes if you’re aiming for instant recognition of your brand.
So your brand is more than just your logo and these days a great website is more than a shop window or online brochure. It provides an experience of your brand (digitally) for your customers. That’s not just designer bullshit. When people visit your website they are interacting with your brand – with your way of doing things. If your website is informative but unintuitive or full of cool videos that are slow to play and constantly crash that’s the impression they’ll form of your brand. (See our previous blog on stuff like that). Your web designer needs to think holistically about designing an interaction, not just a website.
Good design is not just about aesthetic attractiveness. It’s a way of thinking that reflects your understanding of your customers’ needs, your creativity, your pursuit of innovation and problem-solving ability. If you aspire to create a superbrand like Calvin Klein you need to adopt good design as a modus operandi, otherwise it’s just pants.