Calland Creative Blog
What is a Brand?
Rebranding is for companies and businesses who have a dated visual identity or who have changed their core business values. Established businesses must consider whether they are still relevant to today’s audiences, hence we regularly see businesses concentrating too much on the visual and aesthetic look of the rebrand and not the driving force behind it. Businesses must look at the reasons why they are rebranding in the first place and it must be relevant.
A brand consists of many visual elements, designed to communicate a visual message to an audience. Visual communication is the most efficient form of communication because it communicates a feeling. A logo, colour palette and photographic style can speak a thousand words to a prospective customer from a mere glance at a billboard poster or shopfront. This is why it is important to be considerate to your values and demographic, before you put pen to paper.
Let’s start by looking at a high street brand.
Apple have a very clean brand. It consists of a logo and black & white colouring (dark grey to be specific). The reason for the clean brand, and the only way they can get away with it is due to the products they showcase. They take very nice photographs of their products and the images speak for themselves. The minimal approach to the brand is echoed in every thing they do. This might not be overly useful to a business owner looking to rebrand their business but the lesson here is to sell a lifestyle to a customer. People don’t have time to look at all of your services on a website. They want to know how you can help them and what value you can bring.
“This is a very complicated world, it’s a very noisy world. We’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us, no company is. So we need to be really clear about what they want them to know about us.” Steve Jobs.
Looking at Apple’s marketing:
Apple are a house hold name these days. But it wasn’t always like that. 15 years ago, when i was studying a degree in Graphic Design & Visual Communication, Apple was not the powerhouse it is today. iPhone? how about a Motorola flip phone? We only knew about Apple because all designers used Apple computers. All of the University lecturers said “the first thing you all need to do with your student loans is buy a MacBook.” They would usually hand a hammer to people with Windows laptops and show them the door.
Apple’s founder Steve Jobs was a famous marketeer. He believed that marketing was as important as the product itself. Looking back at the marketing campaign that was being run in the 90’s, we see why the creative industry is so passionate about Apple, to the point where it is an offence not to have one.
Here is a video of an advert which was aired on TV in 1997. You will notice that they don’t speak about the products, but they focus on the target audience who are people who challenge the status quo, like apple themselves.
We see this again in a more recent apple advert. This one is a little different but with the same message. Apple makes tools which the most influential musicians of the modern age use to create.
What does a brand consist of?
A brand usually has a few elements. When we are designing a brand for a customer, we design the most important elements. The first being the visual identity; logo, colour palette, fonts, how you use the fonts. Next is the brand guidelines. This guides the business and anyone who works with the brand, such as Graphic Designers, Web Designers or even Storefront & Interior Designers. The brand guidelines instruct the creatives how the brand is to be perceived and the values that are in place in order for all elements of the business to be consistent and portray the same values.
Here is a list of elements you should consider when branding or rebranding your business:
Before you start any sort of design or rebranding project, we recommend spending some time looking at your competitions branding and also researching the design industry for inspiration. Certain trends look nice today but can age terrible (Comic Sans), so try and find inspiration that is more contemporary and clean. I find the best way to conduct research is to setup a Pinterest board for each project and fill it with inspiration.
You can see our Pinterest account here, is full of boards for most design elements. Final point here is to not ‘copy’ but be inspired. You never know what will trigger an excellent, unique and witty idea for rebranding.
The logo – what to do.
The logo should be relevant if possible but it does needs to be memorable and not detract from the core values of the business. A great way to produce a memorable logo, is to introduce wit. This can be a clever visual hint which makes the logo make the audience think “wow, that’s clever”.
In the past, your design limitations were dictated by the print process. This is because at the time, you could not use colour if the colour print press had not been invented. Today, your logo can consist of whatever you wish as there are no limiting factors. You can use a photo, a pencil drawing, or simply some text. Todays limiting factors are nothing to do with the print process but more to do with the technology we use. Print still has its place in our world but on screen is where you will see most brands. As we progress into the future, we need to consider higher resolution screens, meaning finer and more detailed logos and also vector based graphics and animation. We can see a big future in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and a mixture of both so maybe the landscape for brands will change.
We have made a Pinterest mood board of logo’s for you to be inspired by: click here to see
Ask yourself, what do I want my customers to see or feel when they look at my branding. You can choose a colour palette to communicate this to them. Red is an angry colour, where as blue is calming. Our branding is a dark, muted blue with contrasting white. This gives us a sense of professionalism and expertise.
If you have seen colours that you like, take a photo and upload it to a colour palette generator. This will give you the colour codes you need. There is an Adobe App which lets you take a photo and it will export the colours to your Photoshop or Illustrator program on your computer. You will need an Adobe license for the privilege.
This is where the fun starts! Apple, for many years, have used Helvetica. Why? because it is one of the most famous fonts created by a typeface designer from Zurich, Switzerland. It has been famous for a long time in the design world. It is clean, safe and contemporary and fit Apple’s values during the rebranding. So when choosing a font, choose one that says something about you. If it’s a thin and crispy sans serif, that shows you are modern and know the current design trends.
If you need a font, I would recommend checking out the fonts at Google Fonts. They are free to use and are designed by some well known typeface designers. You can use these web safe fonts for print and web.
Another place to try is Creative Market, although these are not free, they are well designed and are relatively cheap.
Always consider a feature font and a body font. The feature can be something a bit more interesting and are great for titles and banners. Body fonts are used for the content section where people read. It should be fitting to your values and also be user easy to read.
Below is an image of a banner we made for Alison Appleton. You can see how the use of font size, colour and images makes this chunk of information easy to digest and it looks quite understated also.
Photographic Styles 0r Photography.
A photographic style is what we designers use in a creative brief. It is an image style that offers a ‘feeling’ which we spoke of earlier. We would give these to a photographer when doing a photoshoot so he/she knows what to do.
Choose an image style that speaks to your audience. Like the way mobile phone makers use images of happy people using their products. It sends a subliminal message.
There are a few resources for stock images for rebranding and the best are free. The following links all sort of looks the same but that is because Unsplash started the idea of free for commercial use stock imagery and the other companies have simply copied the idea and the look of their website.
Branding and rebranding can be quite a daunting task but it definitely something that can be done yourself, especially for a startup on a limited budget.
For those who have the capital to invest in rebranding, please reach out and we shall advise how to proceed.
We are here to give anyone and everyone advise should you need it.
See you on the next post.
Post by M.Calland