Corporate identity works almost in a subliminal way. It can be associated with a specific set of values, a geographical location, an era… even a moment in life.
I’m as old-fashioned as they come. Every time I watch Denis Leary’s stand-up comedy, I can’t help but to feel identified whenever he talks about simple things such as coffee-flavored coffee or Dunkin’ Donuts. Some images are iconic to me, they define a moment or a place or even a feeling in my life. These images became part of my routine and gave me solace and a couple of anecdotes.
That’s why I hate poor corporate identity makeovers. They scrape off the good stuff.
A corporate identity to die for.
To me, and I think you’ve noticed this from my taste for UPA-style design, trends are just there to date products before they’re outdated. I think basic notions of design create memorable corporate images and set solid bases that accept changes and even new technologies.
TGIF’s red-and-white stripes, for instance, translated easily to different media because it was a simple, powerful and balanced concept that became the synonym of good times and comfort food.
The building of a corporate identity goes beyond graphic elements and it becomes a synchronized effort between designers and the customers. It cannot be attributed to just one element.
A little story (about corporate design and its impact)
One of the few coffee-flavored-coffee joints in my city is a little independent coffeeshop I’ve visited for years now. They know me and they have the patience and kindness to put up with my coffee demands. Sadly, they were going to a rough patch and they were willing to dismantle the whole thing.
Where would I go? I couldn’t let this happen!
I talked to one of the guys from the design team about it. It took him a couple of days to work on a new corporate design for that old joint (it was a busy week for us). He showed them the drafts and, although reluctantly, they went for it.
Now I have issues to get me a table where to sit, write and enjoy my cup of coffee. Oh, well… you can’t fight against progress.
Making the best out of your corporate design.
- Keep it simple. Use basic color schemes, compositions, flows and graphic elements.
- If possible, try to create your own font. While some generic fonts are trendy, they tend to become obsolete easily
- Always try to evoke and appeal. Customers enjoy reminiscing since it creates a bond with their past and simpler times.
- Be clever. Make the best of the minimum of elements. It always easier to add than to remove noise from a corporate image.
The dynamics between customers and brands are complex. The easier you can create awareness, the easier they will keep you in mind.