I have always believed that for a brand identity or logo to be successful it needs to work in three key areas.
1. It has to make an immediate impact.
2. It must capture and clearly advertise the personality of your business.
3. It needs to make you stand out from the competition.
There is now, however, a fourth key requirement that will have a huge impact on the long-term success of your brand and that is 'flexibility'. Gone are the days where your logo was only seen on a business card, your letterhead and sometimes a compliment slip. You now have to consider where your logo will ever appear on pens, mugs, corporate clothing, vehicle graphics, a website, your email footer. Add the emergence of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even YouTube and the list seems almost endless, maybe even a little overwhelming.
A key mistake, which is often made by smaller businesses or start-ups, is to think "but I'm just a small company, I'll never need anything more than a few business cards." While that may be true at the beginning all big companies or global corporations started out small or, using Virgin as an example, by a single person with big ambitions. While I can not promise you'll end up with a global empire and billions in the bank it's never a bad idea to have this goal in mind when thinking of your brand identity.
Always plan for success, not restrictions.
I'd like to wrap this article up by looking at an example of a successful brand identity and why it works.
Case study: ITV
I'm sure you've seen the new ITV logo by now and it's a great example of how to create a successful, flexible brand identity that works equally well across all printed, electronic and social media. So why does it work?
It's simple – there are no complicated patterns, effects or shapes. It's always best to design a logo in a vector format, an.eps or.ai file for example. This allows the logo to be resized to any dimensions without a loss of quality. A bitmap file such as a.jpg, .psd or.gif will lose a significant level of quality when enlarged.
It builds on the company history – the design is a modernization of the previous logo, keeping a similar appearance retains familiarity with viewers and helps strengthen the brand.
It's flexible – the logo works equally well in either a landscape or portrait format, which is critical. If you decide on a single logo for your brand then make sure it will work in any scenario. An alternative option is to have two logo designs, one for portrait and one for landscape.
The ITV logo is also designed in such a way that multiple color combinations can be used, allowing the logo to fit in to the color scheme of any of ITV's programs. The logo will also work well in solid black and white, which is an area of brand identity that is often overlooked, as people tend to think of logos in full color.
So there you have it, a brief insight in to my thoughts of how to create a successful brand identity.