Branding and Graphic Identity
Every successful company today builds branding and graphic identity. Their graphic identity sends a message about the company. The colors, the letters, the symbols all tell part of a story. They encapsulate something essential about the company. This is graphic identity and it gives a core focus to branding.
Branding is the connection between the public appearance of the company and the public’s souls, the emotions, the opinions, the actions and motivations. With color comes emotion, memory, history, experience. Red is uncontrollable energy, sometimes threatening, sometimes overturning a life you no longer want, and can lead to hope of the unknown. Blue can be fresh, openness, but can also be suffocation of the waters all around that are meant to cause life to grow, but can kill life when there is too much of it. Yellow can be sunshine and smiles, joy and happiness, laughter of children and surrounded by family. It can also be urine in the snow, unclean toilets, spoiled milk, cowardice and jaundice. Color alone does not make anything. It is empowered by our emotional experiences. That is why branding and identity must give context to the color.
You cannot allow it to be taken just anyway the viewer wants. You must lead them down the path you want them to choose and for this you must give context. One of these contexts is created with shapes. Are the corners hard 90 degree angles or are the smoothed? Hard corners can make us feel trapped, but they can make us feel secure in a world where we feel out of control. Rounded corners can feel liberating, allowing us to choose our direction. However, we can also feel lost and helpless, unable to grab hold and keep ourselves from sliding away into nothingness away from everyone else. The more concrete the graphic is the harder it is for the viewer to misrepresent the emotion you want them to connect with.
Even a person smiling can appear threatening. Consider the scenario where you are accused of a crime and you see two brochures for Criminal Defense lawyers. On one is a man in a blazer, no tie, open collar, and smiling at you. On the other is a serious looking man with a tie and suit, not smiling at all and wearing glasses. Which are you more likely to hire? In the first brochure the graphics clash with the message. “I am friendly and you won’t be afraid of me. You will even like me so much!” The second brochure supports the message of the lawyer. “I am a professional and I take your case very seriously. I will be punctual, knowledgeable, and skilled when I mount my defense of your case.”
As you already know quite well, context is everything in branding and graphic identity. Yet many companies incorrectly estimate the message of their graphics. We are experts at interpreting materials and the message spoken through your branding and graphic identity.