The creative and functional design of branding is one of the key contributors to the success or otherwise of a business, product or service. The brand enables one company to separate and differentiate itself from those of competitors and ‘me-too’ businesses. The ultimate aim of branding through effective graphic design is not just to create a brand image and collateral that differentiates your business or offerings from the competition; but to design and manage the branding process to create a perception in the marketplace that your business or product is the only real option.

The process of branding comprises of two key elements; focussing on the internal and external factors that impact on the perception of the customer. The internal brand elements include personality, culture and self image. Personality refers to the customer’s perception and description of the brand; culture refers to the social context in which the brand is perceived, and; self image encompasses the way the brand evokes emotions and feelings from the customer.

The external elements of the brand include physique, reflection and relationship. Physique refers to the physical characteristics of the brand that creates desire within the marketplace to drive consumers to find out what the business is and what they do; reflection refers to the way that the current and potential customers are being managed or nurtured by the branding image, and; relationship refers to the manner in which current and potential customers develop a relationship with the brand.

With the internal and external components of branding in mind, the objectives of a good brand to achieve success are therefore:

1 Clearly delivers the message and unique selling proposition to the marketplace

2 Creates and confirms the perception of credibility and trust

3 Is designed to create an emotional connection between the business and the target market

4 Drives motivation in current and potential customers

Creates a sense of loyalty toward the business and brand

Graphic design forms a crucial component of all aspects of the branding process. The world is full of stimuli and the battle for consumer attention is increasing. To stand out in the crowd, the use of innovative visuals and graphic design is essential. Branding as an overall strategy is only possible through the effective design of logos, brochures, business cards, websites, print design, signage and advert design. If the graphic design team does not have the experience to deliver proven and successful branding collateral, the risk is this process may have to be done again; at best the branding efforts will be diluted and ineffective at creating brand awareness and loyalty; or at worst, it could damage the business, its reputation and position in the marketplace.

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