What Great Brand Design Looks Like (And How You Can Replicate It)

Marketers love to talk about great brand design, but it can be hard to tell what is and what isn't. Here are the keys to great brand design.

Marketers love to talk about great brand design, but it can be hard to tell what that really means. To many, the brand design doesn’t extend past a logo and a color palette. With that in mind, many people assume that brand design is subjective, and it’s extremely difficult to identify greatness and find ways to replicate it.

This is completely false. Brand design is just as much about business applicability as it is aesthetic beauty, and by looking at the people who have built great brands, it’s possible for your business to understand how you can make your brand’s design look great. Here are three traits that great brand designs share:

Great Brand Design Is Authentic

We talk about this constantly, but it’s as relevant today as it has ever been. Great brand design is authentic, from the first touch to eventual purchase. Chipotle is a great example of an authentic brand that has blown up in the past five years. What does that mean?

  • Chipotle had defined what they’re passionate about - fair trade and animal rights - and defended it even when it wasn’t easy.
  • Chipotle took that passion and wove it into every customer touch point, from the design of their store to adding poetry to their cups.

So how can your brand replicate this?

  • Think about what you stand for. What beliefs do you hold that you can defend, in good times and in bad, because of your principles?
  • Think about how you can reflect that belief in every aspect of your design. Map out all of your customer touch points and look for opportunities to weave your passion into those touch points.
  • Think about your customers. How can you take this passion and create a brand identity that resonates with them?

Great Brand Design Can Scale

A brand doesn’t live in Illustrator; it lives in the business world, where a lot of things can happen. Imagine you walk into work one day to find out that your Director of Sales has signed her best five salespeople up for a conference, and they need branded t-shirts ASAP. If your logo is too complicated or involves too many colors, printing costs will skyrocket. If your brand color is too difficult to match on a standard t-shirt, turnaround could become insane. This is a pretty common scenario in the marketing world, but many people don’t build brands that can effectively adjust to the ever-changing business world.

Put another way, how easy is it for your sales staff to leverage your brand identity? If you’re like most companies, your brand’s biggest job is to make your product and your sales staff look good, but if it’s impossible for your sales staff to find the appropriate font or match the right hex color in their email signature, your brand design isn’t well thought out.

Great Brand Design Is Beautiful

Finally, great brand design is beautiful and effective at communicating your message. If you’re designing a visual identity from scratch, this means designing a business logo that can effectively communicate to everyone who sees it - whether it’s a customer, vendor, or your mom’s friend who Googled you to see what you’re up to - exactly what you do.

If you can master these three simple principles, your brand’s design can mimic the best brand design in the world.

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