A huge component of the services Affinity Studios offers is brand development. I have three package options (as well as opportunities to customize) that are specifically focused on brand identity development. Because it is so centrical to Affinity Studios, I should answer these questions first: What is a brand and why does your business need one?

Well, I think the author of the Brand Gap, Marty Neumeier, says it best.

“So let’s start with what branding isn’t:
It’s not a logo.
It’s not a product.
It’s not a promise.
It’s not an impression….
A brand is a result. It’s a customer’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.”

Simply put: A brand is what other people think and feel based on their experience and exposure to your business or product. It’s your reputation. 

So above, we’ve established this big picture of what a brand is. A brand is your reputation and you, as a business owner, want your reputation to be superior and true to what you deliver.

When we have a Discovery Consultation together, we will first flesh out the elements we need to develop further; not all elements are applicable for all industries. You also want to play to your strengths by choosing the elements to focus on to stay true to your brand. For example: If you’re Coca-Cola, the shape of your bottle is a crucial and recognizable element to your brand. Maybe the shape of your packaging for your great-great-great grandma’s cookie mix isn’t revolutionary but the taste is. You want to capitalize on your strengths. Below you will see some elements that work together harmoniously to build a clear message about your brand’s identity across various channels. You don’t necessarily have to have every single one of these elements fleshed out- it’s just a jumping-off point. When we meet for the Discovery Consultation, we will talk about elements we can strengthen to make your brand more effective. 

 

Brand Elements

Name

This is pretty foundational to all brands, right? Everything has a name and it’s not something you should take lightly in development. Deciding on your name is one of the biggest commitments you’ll make when starting your business because often it’s too confusing to consumers and too costly to change this down the line.

Logo

The logo is what everyone thinks about when they think of a brand. The logo is one of the most iconic and indisputable representation of the brand. There are seven types of logos: 

  1. Wordmark (Google)
  2. Lettermark (IBM)
  3. Pictorial (Target)
  4. Abstract (Adidas)
  5. Combination (Burger King)
  6. Mascot (KFC)
  7. Emblem (Starbucks)

Color

Color is one of the most powerful persuasive elements (in my opinion) of a brand because of its strong power to imply emotion. An amazing example of that power comes from Animal Planet’s brand where each of their bright colors represents an emotion that they built into their brand. These principals about color’s emotional impact comes from the study of color theory. See below:

Orange: Joy | Green: Safety | Maroon: Danger | Purple: Health | Teal: Healing

Typography

Type, similar to color, has an impact on the context of words and the emotion that comes from that writing. My favorite example of this is from a colleague and designer, Erica Burkett. In her capstone study, she juxtaposes the same words, but the type choice gives a VERY different meaning to them. The result of the type choices contrast a very sweet impression with a very creepy and scary impression. So your type choice is very crucial for sending the right message.

 

 

Imagery

In the brand guidelines for Boy Scouts of America, they have different categories of imagery that they use in their brand. You’ll see below that I’ve pulled the example of their “living imagery”. This collection part of their brand very specifically “capture a quiet moment before or after an activity”. Their intent for this element is to encourage their audience to draw them into the story of perhaps an adventure or friendship.

 

 

Tagline

The tagline, often called the slogan, is another element of a brand. When someone says, “the quicker picker-upper,” you might immediately think of Bounty.

Graphics

Graphics of a brand are also identifiable. When you see Apple graphics, it’s usually recognizable- clean whitespace, bright product shot, and minimal type.

Usually more product-focused:


Shape

The classic Coca-Cola bottle is the perfect example of a shape being an element of a brand. Even if you see a bottle in silhouette or without writing on it, you associate the shape with Coca-Cola.

Sound

This is usually in the form of a jingle. But not always. Branded sounds that are not jingles could be like the short music clip that plays when you log into a Microsoft computer. 

Below are some iconic jingles. Can you guess them? Answers are at the end.

  1. Ba-Da-Ba-Ba-Ba, I’m Lovin’ It
  2. Like a Good Neighbor
  3. Five Dollar Foot Long
  4. Snap, Crackle, Pop…
  5. I’m a Big Kid Now
  6. Get in the Zone

Answers

  1. McDonald’s
  2. State Farm
  3. Subway
  4. Rice Krispies
  5. Huggies
  6. AutoZone

Smell

Think Chanel No. 5 or that scent when you would walk into a Hollister Co. Smells can be an element to a brand that people recognize immediately.

Taste

Most people can taste the difference between Pepsi and Coca-Cola. That taste difference is really at the root of the two competitor’s feuds. They are both so distinct and it’s crucial to their brand identity. I mean, if you weren’t alive when Coca-Cola tried to change their recipe, I’m sure you’ve at least heard about the firestorm that ensued. Pure rage from customers because the taste, an element of the brand, was not as the brand had imbedded in its 99-year reputation.

Featured Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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