The visual elements of branding have been widely discussed – that is, the role that vision plays in branding and the impact that simple designs can have on consumer emotions. You only have to look at the logos of some of the most recognisable brands in the world to realise how strong our visual association mechanism really is. Like the bee, which remembers patterns and colours and imputes specific ideas of “good” and “bad” to them, the human eye even looks, labels and remembers with such power that we can get teary-eyed when we see a brand we remember from our youth.
Think about some of those old brands for a moment and you’ll see just how strongly the work of a graphic design agency can affect you. Remember the bluebird logo from the old toy company? Or how about the distinctive purple and white colouring of a certain brand of chocolate? When you see them, even now, you think about how much you loved their products when you were young…
All successful visual branding has a few touchstone points in common. It’s simple, it uses only two or three colours and it creates an impression strongly associated with the emotions it wants to impart to its consumer.
Often, strong visual branding is created simply with the use of a font and a colour. The font provides the emotional association – as does the colour, to an extent – and the choice of hue makes the logo stand out. We remember things that stand out – which is why we can identify certain brands by their colour and shape even if we are too far away physically to actually read what the logo says.
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Font is so strongly associated with brand that we can be caused to think about a brand every time we see the font it uses in the right colours – even if that’s a total accident. Indeed, so strong is the association we make with a font, a colour and the brand that uses it, that “knock-off” brand imitators will write their own names in the exact same font style, size and colour as the genuine originals to make us associate their product with the product provide by the marquee in question.
The graphic design agency clearly has the same huge role to play in defining the font and colour of the logo as it does any drawn images thereon. It doesn’t work alone though. No man is an island; no brand is automatically guaranteed a following. In order for the visual aspects of the brand to stick, the associated marketing machine must crank up to full revolutions and do its bit as well.
The marketing of a brand is what ultimately seals its fate – as popular, as legendary or as failed. Again, you can identify great marketing campaigns by thinking about the graphic design of the logos associated with them. See a red tab on the back of a denim pocket anywhere in the world and it only makes you think about one name.
Think about some old brands for a moment and you’ll see just how strongly the work of a graphic design agency can affect you.