6 misconceptions about brand design

Today, communication cannot do without brand design, as it has become a formidable tool for democratization, transformation, facilitation, accessibility and suitability for use for all audiences.

Let’s consider design at its fair value, that is, in the service of a brand’s construction and performance. Since design determines the fundamentals (a positioning, a visual identity, a speech, a tone of voice, etc.), it must ensure the consistency of the brand internally and externally, throughout the customer journey and reachable by everyone. † Moreover, brand design encompasses many disciplines such as retail design, commercial architecture, consumer branding, packaging, web design, environmental design, sound design…

Too often placed in an executive or restrictive role, he has to reclaim his place as a great brand unifier. To clear up certain confusions and put brand design more central to reflections, Pascal Viguier, founder and CEO of the agency Curius, denounces six false beliefs:

1. Dealing with “design” the concept of product design

In the collective unconscious, design is still culturally associated with product design. And that is quite normal, because it is the essence of design. The confusion comes from the word “design” itself and its interpretation, as it has no equivalent in French. But behind this goal is a thought process that has been extended to brand design. The mindset has changed a lot in recent years, our customers have become accustomed, they have integrated the value of brand design into the construction and performance of their brand.

2. Separate advertising, design and communication

The success does not lie in countering them, but in reconciling these disciplines because they are complementary and must contribute to the same result. Advertising makes design and design makes com, things are intertwined. Many consider advertising the holy grail of making a brand visible and attractive, but good advertising, no matter how good it is, will never make up for bad design. Unlike design, which still struggles to quantify results, advertising is enhanced by displaying an ROI.

3. Limit yourself to a logo and a graphic charter

Brand design is more than that! With a logo and a graphic charter we don’t go and we don’t see very far. The iceberg is often larger than the visible part. A logo is part of a universe, it is not the only expression of a brand. While essential, it only represents 5% of the exercise on a figure.

4. Rerun your website individually

A site never comes alone, it necessarily requires a whole strategic reflection upstream on the brand to be effective and should not be reduced to a simple cosmetic exercise of superimposition on an existing brand. The redesign of a site should initiate a (re)foundation act, should be an integral part of a branding and branding project, as it has become a central crossroads for exchange and communication to access information. This exercise focuses on the coherence of the design in combination with ease of use.

5. Confuse Brand Platform With Advertising Platform

We must not be mistaken in direction, or especially in objective. The good news is that the two are complementary and inseparable. One is designed earlier than the other, one with a long-term goal, the other with a short-term goal. The brand is not the advertisement, but the advertisement speaks of the brand.

6. Thinking that the trademark book is a graphic charter and vice versa

It is necessary to clean up the vocabulary a bit as we often do not speak the same language with the clients and between agencies. A trademark book is not a graphic charter! This is the biggest mistake we make in brand fundamentals. One is about the why of the brand, the other about the how. The brand book is a strategic tool to visualize the brand platform explaining why signs are used, their meaning while the graphic charter is a tool to standardize visual rules. Calling a charter a brand book sounds nice, but it is denying or forgetting what the essence of a brand is.

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