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Branding

So what’s all this fuss about branding then?

Branding is often treated with suspicion sometimes characterised as vacuous and superficial. And there is no doubt, branding done well is a great skill and often involves creating clever illusions. This is both it’s glory and it’s sorrow. But any brand that is going to be truly successful must be built on fundamental truths and it is incumbent on designers to tease these out. So, it’s not about pulling the wool over the eyes of an audience, more about articulating the personality of the brand in interesting, relevant and charismatic ways.

It is understandable why there is so much confusion about branding because the demands on the concept are constantly growing and mutating and can encompass the important and the trivial. Branding projects can be directed upon things as diverse as individuals, countries and even ideas. And, the digital revolution has opened up a mesmerising array of possible channels. Our studio uses the expression ‘brand tapestry’. This we use to describe the gradual building up of an image of an organisation over multiple channels. Products, services, ideas, attitudes and values are woven into this fabric.

Many organisations communicate with a variety of stakeholders who come into contact with the brand. Customers, staff, shareholders, journalists, suppliers, partners etc. The messages can be very different but should be spoken with one voice. There can be huge benefits to good design and branding. In many large organisations the value of the brand significantly outstrip its physical assets. It’s obvious then this needs to be protected, nurtured and invested in – just like any other asset. Brands can engage emotionally, elicit pleasure and build loyalty.

An early sketch of the last phase of the logo marque development, part of the branding project we undertook for Altus Ltd, based in Bath. Teasing out the nuances of an organisation and boiling them back to a collection of marks which capture the essence are at the nub of what we do.

A logo marque is an important element, it is at the heart of internal and external perception, if used effectively and consistently. An identity marque is a simple, strong visual expression of intent, rooted in brand itself and provides a strong platform for every piece of communication. However, there is much more to a strong visual identity than a logo. Typography, structure, photographic and illustrative style, verbal and linguistic elements, production details and overall quality all contribute to building the personality and visual identity of a successful brand. Our brief is often to orchestrate these powerful elements in order to design an identity system which distills the values of the organisation and creates the brand promise.

Effective branding can help elevate an organisation, business or product from simply being one of the many. It can create emotional resonances amongst an audience who will make their choice using both subjective and pragmatic judgements. It is critical for the visual identity to be coherent across all communication platforms Meticulous application of the creative elements are directly linked to tangible success.

 

altus_logo_drawing

Ice House Design have been awarded the contract to create a visual identity for Calls in Confidence. An organisation whose raison d’etre is to assist employees and management with grievances and problems with anonymity and sensitivity. The application of the identity will be over print and web.

Okay, so we want to tease out the secure aspect of the business. For the mark we’ve got a couple of interesting c’s there which might be useful and we need to bring in friendliness and approachability with the type. So the names is long; how do we get this to work in a more portrait orientation. And, what colour palette might articulate strength, confidence, professionalism and security whilst being friendly…? Come back in a few weeks.

A great start to the year. Ice House Design have been awarded the creative brief for the brand development of the Bath Preservation Trust (BPT) and its four museums in Bath, No.1 Royal Crescent, Herschel Museum of Astronomy, Building of Bath Collection and Beckford’s Tower. These institutions are of huge interest locally, nationally and internationally. Our job is to create a unified visual identity which articulates the relationship between the BPT and its museums and provide No.1 Royal Crescent with a unique identity which will underpin all communications in print, online and interpretation. Easy to say, less easy to do.

Branding and graphic design

Bath Preservation Trust award Ice House Design with branding and graphic design project, January 2012

We are delighted to have been chosen to develop the Thomas brand. A company with huge heritage and oodles of goodwill assoicated with it but sadly in decline more recently. The good people of Eurocoin have picked it up by the scruff of its neck shaken it down and since being appointed we’re busy helping them create a brand that is fit for the next few decades. Fabulously innovative products precision engineered in Britain demands good design. We’ll keep the good, ditch the bad and add the necessary to make this, once again, a fine British brand. Scalpel…

Early days