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Your company’s brand designs are the first thing a potential customer will see, regardless of how they interact with your company for the first time. If they first encounter you online, they’ll start with your digital ads and website. If their first experience is in traditional media, your billboards, TV ads, or print materials will give them their first impression. Your packaging and product designs will shape their initial opinions if they find you in a store.

In other words: brand design matters.

Having appealing, practical, functional designs for your brand is probably the most critical consideration for those invaluable first impressions and is undoubtedly one of the most important branding considerations overall. Here are some ways a good brand design can help – or a bad design can hurt – your efforts to build a well-perceived brand.

1. Brand Design Can Set Good (Or Bad) Expectations

People come to quick and hard-to-overcome conclusions about a company and its products or services within just a few milliseconds of opening their website, seeing a billboard, or picking up a package. In the customer’s mind, the quality of your design correlates directly with the quality of your product.

A good brand design indicates:
• You have put time and effort into ensuring your brand is well-represented by your designs.
• You understand quality – if you know what good design is, you know what a good product is.
• You care about more than just essential functions.

On the other hand, a bad design immediately signals to your audience that you’re not concerned with your brand’s look and feel and that you don’t care about quality.

Whether your brand design is good or bad, changing your audience’s early expectations can be a challenge, so make sure those expectations are positive!

2. Brand Design Says What Can’t Be Said

People react to words intellectually by taking in a word or phrase and then processing its apparent meanings and any connotations it may carry. Design, however, triggers a more instinctive, more powerful visceral response that happens quickly and can carry a significant payload of subtextual information.

Even the single design of your logo speaks volumes about your business’s voice, nature, audience, and goals without you needing to write a single word.

• Audience: Your brand design’s color, typography, and graphical elements can indicate whether your intended audience is young or old, male or female, active or more sedentary, or any of a thousand other descriptors.
• Voice: Is your brand playful? Stoic? Energetic? Dependable? Trying to describe those traits to an audience with words is complicated, but just choosing the right typeface or photography can do it instantaneously.
• Nature: You’ll seldom see a bank with a graffiti-inspired logo or a streetwear brand with ads that look like pages from the Wall Street Journal. Particularly, if your brand has a name that doesn’t immediately communicate what type of business it is, your design choices can provide your audience with that information.
• Goals: If your local brand uses locally inspired design elements (an image of a town landmark, for instance), that may indicate that you’re staying focused on local services. On the other hand, putting a globe in the logo will tell viewers that you’re thinking big.

People will interpret these less-overt cues about your business’s culture when they’re conveyed through design far more quickly than if they’re expressed through words alone.

A misstep can cause confusion when a company’s brand designs are at odds with its products and services. Make sure your designs don’t just look good, but that they marry well with the “vibe” you’re trying to convey.

3. Brand Design Creates Memories

Quick, think of your favorite brand.

Did their slogan pop into your head? How about a short sentence about their services? Or the names of a couple of their products?

Probably not at first. No, the first thing that popped into your head was more likely a design associated with that brand: a logo, a print ad, or even an exceptionally well-designed package or product.

Human memories tend to be associated with sensory cues (sights, smells, sounds, etc.) instead of informational cues (words and phrases). When a good brand design is memorable, it provides a mental “hook” inside the audience’s brain, and they will associate your brand with that design for a long time.

That can work against you, though, if your designs are subpar. For the same reasons people will remember a good design, they’ll also remember a bad design and carry that association with them long term, even if you later improve your design or branding.

4. Brand Design Sets You Apart

When trying to make headway in a crowded market space, your brand design is what makes you different. You can offer all the functional improvements, cost savings, better service, or other benefits you like, but those can only be explained to customers if they have some interest in your brand to begin with. All those wordy, harder-to-explain features of your products may close the deal, but it’s a catchy, appealing design that gets customers in the door in the first place.

On the other hand, a bland, generic brand design is a surefire way to stay mired in with the rest of the pack.

Ready to Give Your Brand a Design Makeover? Call Us at 478-621-4491

If it’s time to give your brand a new look, whether it’s a single ad campaign or a complete rebranding, contact one of our friendly account managers today with your questions.

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We love good design, and we’re sharing that love this summer. From now through September, we’ll share tips, information, and best practices for using high-quality graphic design to build and promote your business.