An overview of developing a cohesive brand system of graphics and secondary elements to enhance brand positioning.
- [Voiceover] As I've stated in my Foundations of Logo Design course a logo is not a brand. It is however the capstone in the arch of any brand. A logo won't tell the full story of a company, product, or service, but it should serve the purpose of representing them well. So when I create a logo design for a client it rarely is just a logo design. It involves creating what I call a brand system. Let me show you what I mean by that.
So this exploration for a project was for a Louisiana-based healthcare facility called LCMC Health Systems and this was my vertical logo iteration. Now many times when people present logo designs this is all they'll present. When I create a brand identity for a company, in this case a health organization, I don't give them just one iteration, I like to present what I call as brand systems. So a brand system would consist of both a vertical, like this, but I'll also present to them within this same brand system a horizontal representation or format.
I'll also work out alternate ways of handling different formats, whether it's vertical or horizontal, and even at times will include secondary branding itens, like a badge such as this, so they can see how it could work in contexts other than stark white. Another way that I work into these brand systems is in this case a healthcare system has a lot of need for communicating things in an easy format. So I'll even work out iconography systems at times in order to reinforce how the total communication of their brand system can work.
Be it their logo application, or be it maybe some signage within their facility. Another aspect of a brand system that I'll add to each direction I provide is I might in this case work out what I call a brand pattern. And so it's utilizing elements and the aesthetic of the established brand direction that I'm presenting, but it realizes it in a new way. In this case I've taken one of the brand marks for the vertical and I simplified it into one color to sit on top of this brand pattern.
Now this can utilize any of the colors in their overall brand system, so here's using one of the lighter colors I had established in their initial design and it has a one color mark setting on top of it. So that's what I mean by a brand system. A brand system is taking that one client and when you present ideas instead of presenting one logo layout for one idea I present multiple layouts for that one idea. Just say look, if you go with this direction you're gonna get all the iterations shown here and then these will guide my efforts to set up a simple style guide, to set up all the logo files, but it also shows them how easy they can adapt their logo to different usages.
In this case it's a Book Club, and so the logo mark kind of represents the gathering together of people and that gathering together of book lovers forms the Book Club logo of sorts. And this just shows a vertical, horizontal, alternate horizontal, and a simplification, a secondary branding element for GBC. Now I can take this once again and create a simple brand pattern utilizing it just to show them even further, and I was almost thinking in terms of this project like the in-cover of a book has that nice pattern they usually flow into those, and so that's kind of what my thinking was for this one.
But brand systems, I do this on every project that I work on, regardless if it's a small business or whether it's a large multi-national brand that I'm working on with an agency, I always provide a greater range of iterations per direction. So this was a company that deals with the psychology and trending of color and how people respond to it, hence the figure making up the eye for invisio and then down below are the secondary branding elements I created that play off of those forms that communicate other things as well.
So it's actually kind of dreaming on their behalf, thinking beyond just the mere request of the logo design, but saying look, this is how your branding can work, this is how you could communicate to your audience in a greater way. So it's a good way to kind of push them further than what their request may be, and it's also a great way to expand a project as well and help you to improve their marketing efforts. So here's another one. This is for an IOS developer and this mobile app is called unlistr, so if you get signed up for a lot of mailing lists, you wanna get off of them you can download this app and it works really well to kind of purge your email from all these lists.
So this was the brand system I created for them. Vertical, horizontal, a little unique shape recognition with their logo mark playing the part of the letter U, and just the brand mark itself. Now on their colored background they actually used this brand pattern within the context of their mobile app, so if you use their mobile app on the welcome screen as it opens up this brand pattern will show up. And then in context this is how their brand mark appeared on their icon when it shows up on your iPhone when you're using it.
So brand systems are an easy way to kind of present a package, a brand package to a client and they can utilize it in a lot of diverse ways. So here's a brand system that I created for a public school, or a private school on the east coast, and their primary logo of course was this one and then we created a school seal that's a secondary branding element that they can use on other things, create stickers from it. Here's their, just their mascot on its own.
They wanted a simplification and abbreviation of their name just to use in other formats and another secondary brand element, which plays off of a lion's paw to create a graphic for that as well. So this has worked really well for them to use it moving forward on sports wear, on their gym floor, on signage, so on and so forth. So this is why I use a brand system to do this type of thing. Here's another brand system, this is for an architectural firm and it's using that style format, which I define as a graphic symbol.
Once again, this symbol means nothing other than the fact it's beautiful shapes. And that's kind of what I was thinking for this is that architects are all about shape and form and creating beautiful forms of buildings and interiors and so that was my thinking on this mark, but this was the brand system I pitched it on. They ultimately went with another direction, but this is one of my favorites that I created for them and I really like the secondary brand pattern that they could use with this.
So another brand system is, actually this is another secondary usage of that same exploration for the architectural firm and just trying to show them how they could use this and adapt it for various marketing purposes. A brand system doesn't have to be complex though. Here's a simple brand system. It started off with this encapsulated logo right here and this is for a coffee company, but I also worked out more of a unique encapsulation of it, iteration over here, that has a nice little wood pattern going on here, and of course, the brand mark itself can be pulled out and used as well.
So it doesn't have to be super complex, this just gives them a couple options to use it in various ways. Now when I is working on this this was for a small business owner, actually another graphic designer who does a lot of web development, and he came up with this idea of creating a national campaign where restaurants could use these stickers and put them on their windows to let people know that they're dog-friendly, that you can bring your dog there, whether it's a guide dog or whether it's just your pet, that dogs are welcome in this establishment.
There is no national system to do this, so he hired me to create that motif, that branding, that would represent this, that he could roll out and they could start using and providing to restaurants nationwide. Now this is one direction I gave him, but I actually gave him multiple directions. I wanted him to have flexibility with this and so I created a couple other iterations that show the dog standing, we actually worked in a paw print in the negative space of the O, so a little bit of space recognition there.
And we also gave him a secondary branding one, which is a completely different iteration, but it's still fun as well. So this gives him a lot of options on how they can market, how they can utilize it, and how they can roll their product going forward. And on the final context, this just kind of shows you an example of how this sticker would work in context at a restaurant. So a good brand system will be flexible enough to accommodate a diverse range of marketing needs your client will have as they grow their business.
That's really important, but it's also vital that your brand system retains its continuity over time, so it will also build brand equity and recognition through the various graphics you provide your clients. Logo design is more than logo design, it's about creating on behalf of a client and fostering that relationship moving forward, because once the design is done the real work has just begun. So the more you can work out an effective brand system the easier this challenge will be.
- Drawing your design
- Selecting a logo style
- Building a logo with shapes
- Creating modular designs
- Establishing brand colors and visual continuity
- Iconifying complex shapes
- Adding dimension to flat motifs
- Using negative space
- Delivering the final logo files and style guides