Building a Visual Identity for your Challenger Brand
Visual communication is a game of chance, the only sure thing is a stable irregularity. Knowing how to play helps, but as long as the human is not reduced to statistics, the game makes its own decisions.
Carlos Carpintero, Twelve aspects of the relationship image / identity.
While there’s no doubt your logo plays an important part in defining your brand’s place in the market and framing its overall narrative, it’s just one of many moving parts. It’s something we’ve learnt in our work repositioning, relaunching, and redesigning Challengers across all sectors, and something we build into the visual practices we deploy as a result.
In order to dive deeper into the topic and explore how, 5&Vine’s in-house graphic designer Ana Calvache outlines her top tips for brands to keep in mind if they’re rethinking their logo or starting from scratch.
Understand there’s no right or wrong answer
Branding is an art which means it is also subjective and open to interpretation. We can only predict and anticipate how people will perceive a brand visually, and create something founded on those anticipations. No one can know for sure how the market will interpret your visual language, but what we can do is introduce nuances to prompt them to look in the right direction.
Don’t underestimate the power of symbolism
We do not consume isolated pieces of information. Instead, we construct narratives and meaning by connecting symbols, stories, and feelings we’ve already experienced. In creating a logo, consider the impact of existing symbology and how design languages already in place can help people connect with a product or service. Doing so won’t just prompt the expected reaction to a brand but help them feel aligned with it on an emotional level.
Your logo is only one part of the whole…
One of the biggest challenges designers face is ensuring clients understand that the weight of their brand doesn’t fall on the logo alone but rather every part of their visual language. For a consumer to choose a brand, they need to feel it exists for them and that the sector considers it different and a valid entry to market. To create that, you need more than a logo. You need a visual tone at every touchpoint that informs a set of actions to communicate that difference. More often than not, that requires starting somewhere other than the logo. Branding is flexible, and so is design. Depending on the objective and type of company, you may find that you need to start with the packaging, colour scheme, or something else first.
…so think of your brand as a living entity
With the above in mind, a key lesson is in seeing your brand as a living entity, which has a personality, speaks with a particular tone of voice, has values and ethics, and transforms itself to fit the context it’s placed in without sacrificing those ethics. Especially for Challenger Brands, that lesson is vital.
As Paul Capriotti Peri states in Foundations For The Strategic Management of Corporate Identity, “the brand is considered to be all the elements that represent an organization: The symbol (icon), the wordmark and corporate typeface, the color scheme, the package of complementary graphic resources (eg: photography, textures) and the application of these elements through digital, audiovisual, industrial, environmental or architectural design.”
Take time to place your brand’s logo in the larger cultural context
The creation of a brand’s family of resources is and will be directly influenced by a series of factors, including but not limited to a consumer’s personality and worldview, the perception of the company’s culture, and the geographical and cultural environment. Consider not just what a logo will look like but where and how it will be shared at every touch point along the buying journey along with its context. Doing so will likely impact its design.
5&Vine’s identity is a modern homage to the story of David and Goliath, where David used 5 stones from a river & a slingshot made of Vine to take down seemingly insurmountable competition. We leverage the stone pattern on our iconography and reflect our modernity through striking photography.
Give designers access to your brand
Sometimes brands think of a designer’s role as a means to an end and don’t give them the full access they need to inform their design decisions. Letting a designer in can make a huge difference in identifying your differentiator and making the most of your unfair advantage. Strong branding happens after a designer truly understands the nature of your organization and the strategies that underpin its success.
To explore 5&Vine’s full branding services, click here.