The process of building a brand- branding, as we call it- is a lot more complex and critical than we think it to be. Good branding builds an image and identity for your company, and carves a niche for your offerings in a market full of alternatives.
Your brand is what the audience perceives your business to be, hence it is imperative for businesses of all sizes and sectors to put their best foot (or should I say face?) forward while building their brand.
What is a Design Aesthetic in Branding?
Aesthetics in brand design entails the entire set of elements that are involved in building the brand identity- from the logo to the font, the colors and all other facets of brand design. Every design aesthetic follows a generally recognizable pattern and adds a distinct look and feel to the brand.
While every brand adheres to one fundamental aesthetic, its visual vocabulary need not be restricted to it. Often brands use different aesthetics for certain product launches or marketing campaigns. Even so, the brand’s original design aesthetic remains a baseline for all these deviations.
The course of designing a brand aesthetic can be as fun as it is stressful. Though everyone has their own unique approach to the process, here are 5 simple steps in which you can build the best design aesthetic for your brand.
STEP 1: Start Brainstorming
Like all other creative processes, branding also begins with ideation. Remember that the initial phases are more about exploration than decision making, so let your creative juices flow freely. Draw inspiration from similar brands in the market and think about what you want the audience to see in your brand, what message you want it to convey to them. Then translate these thoughts into visual cues and outline an original persona for your brand- one that gives it an edge above its competitors.
STEP 2: Research And Study Design Styles
Based on the nature of your business, and the products and services it offers, choose a style of design for your brand aesthetic. Also consider your target audience in this choice and make sure that your brand design resonates with them. There is a big pool of graphic design styles to fish from; listed below are some of the commonly used design aesthetics by brands-
Baroque Design– Originating in an arts and architecture movement in the 1700s, this aesthetic is all about attention-grabbing grandeur and expense. It is characterized by elaborate design elements such as striking color contrasts, classic iconography, exuberant patterns and details.
Versace’s grand Medusa-head logo makes for a vivid baroque design while the aesthetic of Louis Vuitton is more of a ‘laid-back’ baroque because of the repetitive motifs that the brand uses, like the cross and florals that are emblematic to the ornate natural structures of the baroque era.
Retro Design– The wide range of this aesthetic includes any and every design style from the 60s to the early 2000s. It typically comprises of bold colors, expressive fonts, and rich pop-culture tropes of the time.
Coca-Cola has managed to retain its iconic logo font, and its classic red and white color scheme since the 1940s, so much so that the brand has become a flagbearer of the retro aesthetic in branding. The badge logo of Starbucks also toes along the retro aesthetic.
Rustic Design– This aesthetic typically suggests down-home themes and includes an array of natural colors and textures that are commonly associated with nature and life in the country.
Herschel Supply Co. deals in travel bags and accessories, and follows a rustic design aesthetic for its branding. In line with the offerings of their business, they sell both the calm and the adventure of outdoor life with their branding.
Luxury Design– Though selling a similar upmarket vibe as the baroque designs, the luxury aesthetic is based on elegance and sophistication as opposed to the gaudiness of the former. Simple yet sumptuous designs are a signature of this style.
Most high-fashion and fine-dining brands adhere to the luxury aesthetic. Examples include Chanel, Dior, The Playford Hotel and Dom Perignon.
Modern Design– This aesthetic principally includes clean designs and slick imagery with muted color palettes and geometric sans serif fonts. It is largely favored by corporates and tech companies due to its professional look and feel.
The Apple brand aesthetic, for instance, is a modern one with a highly contemporary quality. The modern aesthetic of Uber is also carefully crafted to convey a reliable and personable brand identity.
STEP 3: Choose A Color Scheme
In branding, every color is associated with a distinct mood or feeling. The colors in your brand aesthetic can convey volumes about it, so be very particular while picking a color palette for your brand aesthetic. Blue in brand colors (like PayPal) stands for confidence and trust while grey is for modernization and sophistication (like Mercedes-Benz). A multicolor logo (like Google or Microsoft), on the other hand, can imply diversity, open-mindedness and growth.
STEP 4: Find A Fitting Font
Much like colors, the fonts used in your brand aesthetic also convey subtle messages about your business. Compare different fonts on the basis of its readability and appropriateness to your brand offerings, and then decide on one. Sans-serif fonts are clean and minimal and fit best in a modern aesthetic while the classic serif fonts can be adapted into a variety of designs. Decorative fonts can complement baroque designs while the handwritten fonts can fit well into the rustic aesthetic due to its organic appearance.
STEP 5: Get Feedbacks, Make Revisions
Once you have a rough draft of your design aesthetic in place, get necessary feedback on it. Of course, design is a subjective topic and a consensus can never be achieved on it, but when you ask enough people for their opinion, a pattern starts to appear and you might actually get some interesting viewpoints out of it.
The course of building or rebuilding a design aesthetic for your brand is a long and tedious one, and we hope that the above-mentioned tips help make it easier for you. But if this process seems too daunting to you, I suggest you seek the help of professionals.
Digital Polo is a full-service graphic design agency, providing topnotch solutions to all kinds of design needs. Trust our team to build an original and engaging design aesthetic for you- one that effectively communicates your brand message and is aligned with the nature and offerings of your business. We also provide the benefit of unlimited revisions to our clients, and our dedicated designers will continue to strive till they meet your branding expectations.