In the office recently there has been a lot of chat about the minutiae of serif vs. sans serif, kerning and ornamentation. I feel like I should swiftly add here that these words mean absolutely nothing to me, and I remain the black sheep of the Glassup & Stoski family when these somewhat animated conversations take place.
But all this has got me pondering – yes that still happens on occasion! – about all the little details in the world of design which us ‘outsiders’ happily take for granted. How recently have you stepped back to consider the emotional, and sometimes visceral, impact a company’s logo or branding has on you? Or how the colours and font used by your favourite brand seems to capture the essence of how the products make you feel?
All possible permutations of the impact a brand may have upon its target customers are carefully thought through during the design process. The task of taking a simple brand / product name and a brief from the client around target markets, positioning and competitor analysis kick-starts a staggering creative process; a host of different design concepts are explored and discarded before the winner starts to emerge. The in-progress design then often undergoes various tweaks and prods from numerous stakeholders, who are all starting to invest in the emotional response the logo brings to them personally.
The final result is an often deceptively simple brand design. And those of us who don’t get to peek behind the scenes at the process see these brands around us every day and receive the messages they send us and the emotions they evoke with no thought to the way they are designed. And this is the success of good brand design: it becomes impactful but unseen (and by that I don’t mean invisible, but accepted and ubiquitous).
So perhaps whilst you are sipping on a coffee today, consider what the Starbucks logo would seem like to you if the famous mermaid was replaced by, say…a plain star, and if the simple Nike swoosh was swapped out for something more descriptive – like the silhouette of an athlete. And then maybe consider your own company logo – does this represent the values of the company? What do you think your customers feel when they see your logo? (Answers on a postcard please...)