To understand a brand, perhaps the best way to view it is as a living, breathing entity. It has its own set of values that it exists by, these values are communicated and reinforced whereever possible; and of course, these values come with a promise that they must be fulfilled.

“A brand is not just a set of values, a bunch of ten commandments if you will - it goes far deeper.”

 What is a brand?

According to leading brand consultancy, Interbrand, the definition of a brand is to articulate, clearly and competitively, how a business brings its offer to life for its customers. They define the brand’s purpose, values, personality and positioning, and the most compelling reason for customer choice: the brand proposition (source:

Why do brands matter?

According to the Economist, brands are the most valuable assets many companies possess. (Source:

“Brands are the most valuable assets many companies possess.”

So, brands matter; they represent the company's values, personality and purpose in their market and the wider world. This differentiates them from their competition and allows them a position from which to communicate to their customers more directly.

Brands affect our lives in how they interact with us. It is a dialogue that with the advent of the internet and social media, is becoming a two-way conversation where individuals and social groups have far greater influence. This is due to the ease, views can be expressed and the amounts of like minded people that can be influenced by public perception.

Why is design relevant to branding?

Essentially, design represents how the brand is to appear.

The visual embodiment of a brand is a specific combination of logo, words, type, font, design and colours. (Source:

How will this be done?

When a designer is presented with any branding project it is important to understand what the company is offering. Firstly, examine your client's mission statement and the objectives of the business. Examine where the business is and where it wants to be. Understand, who are its competitors and how do they market themselves, and also, what do they stand for.

You then need to develop an outcome of what you're trying to achieve, what action do you want your target audience to do. And finally, when all of this has been established, you look to tie this information together through developing a concept.

A brilliant concept enables great design?

Here is an ad done by advertising agency: TBWA Switzerland. It appears at a Swiss festival. During this outdoor event, roads are closed so pedestrians can walk freely.

“The definition of a brand is to articulate, clearly and competitively, how a business brings its offer to life for its customers”

McDonald's had the concept of directing people to their restaurant via a road crossing situated immediately outside to encourage people from one side of the road to cross over and visit. This concept was born out of the fierce competition McDonalds faced from street food vendors on either side of the road.

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Why is it effective?

A great brand needs great design. A brand is not just a set of values, a bunch of ten commandments if you will - it goes far deeper.

A brilliant concept in keeping with the brand, that is expressed with imagery, words, type, font, design and colours, can help enable the target audience to identify with the message

Take the example above, McDonalds's mantra is tasty food served quickly in a convenient location.

The crossing road concept took a visual idea that was both playful and effective. It attracted people's attention through taking something everyday and mundane and turning it into something imaginative, yet it was true to the brand in that is was convenient.

It was alarmingly effective too. It took people from point a to point b in a direct and fast manner, which is reflective of their efficient customer service. The branded colour red conveys speed. Again this reflects the brand with food being served quickly.


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