If you ever doubted that design is key to building a brand that engages and inspires, take a look at a few key statistics on branding.
A study undertaken at the University of Loyola found that color increases brand recognition by up to 80%. Consistency of design is also key, with repetitions and ‘design for life’ increasing brand revenue by up to 23%. It takes just 10 seconds for people to form an impression of your brand. How can you ‘crack the code’ that connects you to your audience, and rely on a pertinent design that stands the test of time?
Capturing the Spirit of Your Audience
Before designing the core elements of your brand, you need to conduct thorough research into the interests, values, and ‘spirit’ of your target audience. Studies show that millennials are soon to be the largest consumer market. If your target is this generation, then ideals such as community, connection, and sustainability should be part of an appealing design strategy. When creating a logo, for instance, spherical shapes or distinct parts that ‘connect’ can strike a power emotional chord. Millennials are deeply concerned about the environment and the planet so for everything from fashion to banking, sports or luxury travel, inserting images or colors that conjure up natural experiences will make a deeper connection.
Displaying Your Design in Print
Research by the Rochester Institute of Technology has shown that around 72% of people prefer to consume print over digital content. Around 65% also feel that printed material is more trustworthy. If you have a gorgeous logo, don’t use it exclusively online. Get it noticed on the street, at events, and on fashion or other industry-related magazines by creating a cool collection of merchandise. Try to get influencers interested in your merch to up the ‘cool factor’ of whatever you design. Be creative in what your print; stickers - designed and cut on machines - are cheap and easy to make. They appeal to students (both high school and college), and the same designs can also be printed on transparencies and screen printed onto T-shirts, paper, and fabrics.
Consistency vs Innovation
As mentioned above, audiences need to be exposed to your brand various times for them to identify you and connect with you. However, if you have had the same logo for various decades, your market research may indicate a shakeup is in order. This is especially true when you are forced to radically change your target market to survive. A fine example of a radical logo change occurred around the time when Cristiano Ronaldo signed up for super soccer team, Juventus, in Italy. The Club’s logo, staid and traditional and hardly changed over the passing of decades, was radically changed when the Club hired international firm Interbrand to make a change. The result was a brand new logo, comprising double Js (one ‘inside’ the other) instead of a seal. The logo was inspired by brands like Gucci and Fendi and looks far younger on designs such as T-shirts, jewellery, and sports bags. While a logo like Coca-Cola should certainly never be changed (arguably in a lifetime), others that don’t age so well or start to look outdated may need a shake-up.
Color, style and innovation all make for a beautiful logo and inspiration for other branding materials. From your font to the images you use on your website, consistency in spirit, style, and target market are key. The ‘design for life’ concept is magnificent but it won’t work for all businesses. This is particularly true if your target market has changed, or if you plan on selling a completely new (or a highly expanded) range of products.