Graphic Design in Brand Identity

Graphic Designers work with clients and brands to create a cohesive feel or aesthetic for a business. Designers have that understanding of what people are drawn to and the importance of what color means to people in choosing products to buy. There is an important psychology to designing for a brand that goes far beyond just color theory. Color is an important element of brand building and design as well as creating value in a brand. This brings up the question Would a brand be as powerful without an iconic logo? Color isn’t the only part of brand design, font, shape & size are all important aspects as well, but color is always cited as the most critical reaction for a customer. It creates a feeling, choosing the right color and color mood greatly affects the customers drawn to the company. “84.7% of customers cite color as their main reason for buying a product” and “80% think color increases brand recognition.” Examples of this are universal companies like McDonald’s being known as yellow, Starbucks as green, Facebook as blue and Yahoo as purple. Color theory plays a big part in how consumers view the brand, this ties into color psychology  but there are other important things to consider when branding a company such as fonts and shapes and understanding what those mean. Beyond just the font itself, scale and spacing used in the logo and any print media is important. As for shape, lines, curves & jagged edges imply different meanings to different logos. For example circular or oval shapes are seen as positive and give a sense of unity, community or stability whereas square or triangular shapes imply balance, strength, and professionalism.

Inclusivity is important in design and many brands are shifting to be more universal, they are making changes in color, redesigning logos and changing from sarif to san serif. This affects that psychology of how the customer views the brand and is therefore important to understand the significance of the changes made. Instagram is a recent example of a large change in color and logo and the apps design as a whole. The company said they rebranded the colors and design to feel more reflective of the community, the change in color is much more vibrant and eye catching. They wanted to evolve from the vintage camera look to something that represents all the different kinds of media that is now shared on the app also changing the in app layout from blue to white so that the only color shown is in the pictures themselves. Although there was this major change in color the shapes and symbols stayed the same, this kept a cohesion to the app and made it still recognizable to users. All of these elements were design choices in how instagam wanted its users to interact with the app and view it as a whole and them as a company. Making the colors more vibrant but still using universal symbols that are understood by the audience allowed this rebrand to be successful.

In contrast to Instagram, Apple removed color from their logo to give it a clean, modern, sophisticated look. Apple also removed the word “computer” from the original name removing any limit the company was placing on itself. This sophisticated, modern feel is seen in Apple’s package design as well. This was all done to create a feeling around the packaging and the idea of an unboxing becoming so important that people will share it online and even keeping the box because it feels to precious and valuable to throw away. Apple sticks with a clean corner, minimalistic white to create a simple and direct look that can be picked out anywhere. It is said that “package color has the single biggest impact on buying behavior, followed by package design innovation and then packaging quality.” This makes it all about the user experience. Upon opening the box you see the technology centrally placed and everything looks clean and polished with cords hidden underneath so that the main star is the new piece of tech. This focuses the design on the customer and makes the packaging being an extension of the product.

Coca-Cola is an example of a brand that simplified its logo, moving through different typeface trends in order to update the brand over time. They have kept the same red color and universal bottle shape to make the brand easily recognizable in all of their advertising. Having this understanding with their customers and target audience has allowed Coke to change up their logo or introduce new products that would still be understood to be under the Coke brand. This has allowed for the many changes in typeface and even reverting back to an old more understood typeface connected to Coke. In changing the typeface of a logo the company must understand what the connotations of that style of type means and says about the business. Coca-Cola has created many variations of their logo over the years that correspond with changes in the business.

This shows an evolution of font and how it has changed a lot over time. Changing the look to the company’s title from Coca-Cola to Coke and from a scrolling font to a more normative font. Not quite san serif but definitely following that shift to a more minimal universal logo. This was seen with the introduction of New Coke in the 80’s. This created a controversy and customers didn’t connect with this new product, causing Coca-Cola to revert back to the classic type that we know today. It was an unsuccessful redesign and ultimately they when back on the logo. This brings up the concept evolving but also knowing your customer and not messing with what works. Although the logo wasn’t completely abandoned and is seen in today’s Diet Coke. Something like strong color recognition can allow brands to redesign their logos or simplify them all together. This shows that companies are working to make their brand iconic to the point that people can intuitively recognizing a brand.

The biggest aspect of redesigning for a brand is making sure to keep the essence of the business in mind when making changes. Brands need to stick to their core values in order to succeed in redesigning. This could be for a variety of reasons from color to shape to type, each of these aspects making their own impact on the overall design.

Works Cited

Bonnington, Christina. “Say Goodbye To Instagram’s Familiar App Icon.” Instagram New Logo Explanation, 11 May 2016, www.refinery29.com/en-us/2016/05/110521/new-instagram-logo.

“A Great Example of Re-Branding: Apple Inc.” Brand Strategy, Graphic Design, and Social Media in Scottsdale, Arizona, 22 Nov. 2014, missdetails.com/a-great-example-of-re-branding-apple-inc/.

“How Packaging Gives Apple’s Buyers a Sensory Experience That Reinforces Brand.” Personalics, 15 Mar. 2016, www.personalics.com/2016/02/03/sensory-design-packaging/.

Journey Staff. “The History of the Coca‑Cola Logo: Our History: Coca-Cola GB.” Coca, 2017, www.coca-cola.co.uk/stories/the-logo-story.

Kim, Larry. “The Psychology of Logo Color in How Consumers View Your Brand.” Inc.com, Inc., 10 Nov. 2015, www.inc.com/larry-kim/the-psychology-of-logo-color-in-how-consumers-view-your-brand-infographic.html.

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