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Designing Brand Identity

Brand identity design and its craft skills has become lost in a sea of design sprints and recent digital trends.


By Russell James, founder and creative director at James. International branding and design specialist.


The landscape’s that brands influence are continuing to diversify and evolve as customer expectations shift and technology rapidly empowers them to meet these expectations in new and different ways. Brand identity design has arguably had to adopt and stretch in some cases. To sprint design processes, to a rapid brand refresh or a digital transformation.

Designers are caught in this conundrum for crafting the logo design of the idea, x to a driven dumbed down brand blandificaton and minimalist trend. Especially within the landscape of the b2b Tech and b2c fashion verticals. We see brand identities now feature this visual lack of design distinction, and becoming visually too look a like.

Many brand practitioners are incorrectly fast tracking over the intelligent role that design plays in bringing brand strategy to life through trademark and logo design. The approach is not allowing for, or agreeing to the needed crafting design time required. To create the intelligence of the idea that reflects the organisation – and its ambition. By removing visual design codes that need to be there, we are witnessing clone brand styling and a real lack of visual market differentiation.

Of course designers understand that with digital touchpoints, the logo design brand has to work at a simple smaller ratio even modified to become flat and legible for a mobile first level.

At the same time how the creative idea and balance is for a logo, that may be from out of home to using motion design, to build greater engagement that has to adapt to different formats and content. What really makes a successful design logo is that it has the potential to create a lasting impression to become visually iconic, and dominate its sector as a distinguishable asset in terms of memory recall, with authenticity.

A current design topic of thought is that, how do we get back to the mind set of crafting iconic identities and logos. If we were to look at a six design principles as a check list that can be applied rigorously to critique a logo design system.


What makes the design a distinguishable asset today.

Is the design original and own-able for the brand, in the industry landscape.


Does the design show the intellect driving idea in the logo, is it challenging the viewer to engage.


Clarity how it can be viewed, will it work. Does it have the simplicity that it can it be adapted across the many different brand communication touchpoint’s different need and ratios,


Recall is it consistent, powerful, forward thinking and instantly recognisable.


How relevant is the design to the sector. Is it trustworthy and effective in selling the brand.

X factor

What is special in the design does it have a edge, a certain “je ne sais quoi” - that you can build out equity into the viewers minds.

This inter-related check list, can drive a more credible based coherent designed logo, that will add value and differentiate from the competition. The challenge to the design is, if that the behavior, personality, quality and product can be visually summarised and epitomized by the logo.

A designed logo that could make that identity successful in today’s digital era and beyond.

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