Brand Wayfinding: Never Decorate. Always Navigate

Terri and her design team help FMCG companies to position, identify and develop ownable brand core identifiers for brand packaging that can be fiercely protected. Her guiding design principle is based on a proven scientific methodology that understands consumers’ associative and deliberate sequence of cognition—both in-store and online.

Terri Goldstein, Founder and CEO of The Goldstein Group, NYC. Terri and her design team help FMCG companies to position, identify and develop ownable brand core identifiers for brand packaging that can be fiercely protected.

Rush-hour, NYC, the corner of 34th Street and 7th Avenue, where 24,000 pedestrians depend on their internal GPS to navigate away from danger and closer to their destination—with perhaps a quick detour to buy a bottle of water for the train ride home.


Upon entering CVS, a person’s decision-making switches from survival to shopping mode, as consumers wayfind their preferred water bottle brand via four core identifiers: color, shapes, symbols and words. These align themselves into two simultaneous decision-making lanes:


Lane 1: Functional Attributes—Is the water still or carbonated? Does it contain electrolytes? Is it flavored? Is the packaging glass, plastic, aluminum? Is it recyclable?


Lane 2: Emotional Associations—Do the product’s color and symbol combinations foster trial, prompt recognition or call to mind previous brand experiences and trust?


When combined, the functional attributes and emotional associations guide the consumer toward brand preference and (ideally) an ultimate purchase decision, which at retail is often arrived at in 5 seconds or less. But how does this decision happen so quickly?


Our mind’s eye is a powerful bio-computer. It maintains images of familiarity, pleasure and learned experiences—both positive and negative. Visualization is how we think. Before words, we communicated through...


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