Monday, September 24, 2012

The 3 Principles That Make a Brand

One of the most confusing discussions in graphic design is on what makes a brand. Many non-designers reduce a brand to the design of a logo, while some designers see it as the combination of consistent logo usage, style guidelines, and consistent color.

While these certainly encompass a brand, these are only the elements or artifacts that are the visual expressions of a brand.

So, what is a brand?

There are 3 basic principles that encompass a brand.

1. Reputation

A brand exists within the context of customer perceptions. In other words, it's what people think about you that matters. It's your reputation that sets the tone of a brand. And in many ways it can be thought of as the very essence of a brand.

2. Identity

The identity is what you think of yourself. This is the only aspect of the brand that is most in your control. The better you are able to present what you believe about yourself the better other people will be able to understand what you believe. (But, they still may not share your viewpoint!)

3. Influence

Influence can be the type of trust people have in you, the authority or clout you have with your audience, or the rapport they have with you. This can't be manufactured or designed. It is the culmination of several interactions with you over a period of time.

There is more to brand development, but it is a good idea to start with understanding the roles these principles play. As you can see it is much more than designing a pretty logo.

Photo courtesy ppdigital of

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