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Brand Design: The Ultimate Guide (2019)

Brand Design pursues the goal of crafting a brand-typical visual experience, making your business recognizable to the people that matter to you.

To do so, your brand design must be on-strategy, unique, and future-proof.

That’s what this guide is about.



Brand Name


Brand Logo


Brand Colors


Brand Name

Finding the right brand name is often underestimated.

In addition to creative and legal aspects, there are some more things you need to consider.

Let’s go over them.

What is a Brand Name?

A brand name is the name of a brand.

That’s a no-brainer, I guess.

To be more specific: A brand name ist the sum of all ideas that it evokes in customers.

Is the Name of a Brand important?

Yes, definitely!

Technically brands are legal persons. In reality, people talk about brands like they would be a human being:

  • “Starbucks knows how to make good coffee.”
  • “Uber has developed a great app.”
  • “These new Jordans look awesome.”

We talk about brands as if we had a friend named Starbucks whom we stop by in the morning to pick up a coffee.

Or like we would have a buddy named Uber who happens to be an app developer.

People talk about brands like they would be a person.

The name defines, what (or “who”) people talk about.

So the name of a brand is essential.

The Logo is the next element of your Brand Design.

You’ll find out why it doesn’t depend on the design itself if your Logo is good or bad.

But first, let’s see what a logo actually is.

What is a Brand Logo?

A Logo typically consists of text, images, and/or shapes.

It’s an essential component of your brand design that helps consumers to identify a brand.

The Logo is the place where consumers save all their memories (and experiences), that they’ve had with a brand.

Everything a business has done from day one is linked to the Logo.

When a new logo is being designed, think of it as an empty battery.

Over time this battery is charged by experiences.

The more the battery gets charged, the stronger the trust and positive preconception of consumers get.

Therefore it’s hard to say that a logo is good or bad. It doesn’t depend on the Logo itself so much:

  • If a logo is good or bad, depends on the associations that consumers have with a brand.
  • If they see a logo and have positive feelings, the battery is charged. It’s a logo that strengthens a brand.

This holds for any brand that will be created in the future, as well as famous brands like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, or Nike.

What matters are the pieces of information that consumers connect with the Logo.

Think about it: What would the Logo be, without everything that you associate with it?

The “bitten apple” or the “Swoosh” would just be empty shells.

Every Logo once started as an empty shell.

And to clear up a common misconception: The moment a graphic designer has created a logo for a business, the owner of the company often has a joyful feeling, that he has just created a brand.

This is not the case!

A logo is not “the” brand: It’s part of the brand. But not the brand itself.

The new battery needs to be charged by experiences.

Can you change a Brand Logo?

You could, and many well-known brands do logo redesigns regularly.

But does giving your brand a fresher look improve your brand? 

In my opinion, it does not!

You may be asking why, because others will tell you that you need to update your logo every once in a while to keep it contemporary. So let me explain.

What happens with a logo redesign?

When you do a logo redesign, you are replacing

  • the old logo, which consumers know and use to identify your business by a
  • new logo, which no one knows.

That means you are replacing a logo consumers are aware of with a logo they are not aware of.

You’re purposely decreasing your brand’s brand awareness.

No one knows the new logo, so no one will recognize it.

The more significant the change, the stronger this effect becomes.

For example: Most people would recognize the Apple logo.

If apple replaced that logo with something completely different, no one would recognize the new logo.

The effect of the logo redesign would be an intentional reduction of Apple’s brand awareness.

Think of all the energy and effort that Apple has spent to build brand awareness for its logo. Gone.

That’s why established brands with high brand awareness will definitely have negative consequences by a logo change.

In other words: a logo change always results in a loss of brand equity.

So to me, logo changes only make sense for logos with low brand awareness.

If nobody knows the logo anyways, there’s no brand awareness that you can destroy.

But even for small businesses, the question remains:

Should you change a Brand Logo?

The logo is a battery that has been charged by experiences for quite some time.

A logo-redesign will always discharge that battery.

That’s something you should consider before any redesign.

So, in general, my answer would be not to change a brand logo.

There are only very few instances, where a logo change would make sense.

  1. Established brands: after lots of negative press, a company has optimized internal processes. A slight logo redesign demonstrates that change.
  2. New brands: not very many people know the logo so far, and a new logo embodies the brand positioning much better.

Why do many Brands change their Logo?

Many brands change their Logo after changing the internal structures inside a business.

The idea is to make consumers believe that everything inside a business has changed.

Many times, nothing has changed, and the Logo must account for everything, that went wrong in the business.

The logo redesign is being enforced quickly, hardly and loudly!

But this won’t work! If internal structures haven’t changed and it’s still the same business with a new logo, consumers will realize quickly, that nothing has changed.

They won’t let you fool them.

Instead, you should change internal structures first

After that, you could go for a slight modification of the Logo, to visualize the improved utility of the brand to consumers.


Brand Colors

The choice of colors has a significant effect on the way consumers perceive a brand.

Brand colors can say more about your brand than you might imagine.

When building a brand, you need to understand how to use the effect of brand colors to your benefit.

What are Brand Colors?

Brand colors are the colors a brand uses consistently.

Some brands are so strongly associated with a particular color that you can see it right in front of you when you hear its name.

Other brands also appear with a defined color, but cannot achieve such a strong effect. 

So again, other brands deliberately refrain from defining brand colors.

So you can either opt for choosing brand colors, or you don’t.

Either way, colors have a great influence on how consumers perceive your brand

Color psychology can help your business to build trust by triggering the right emotions.

Why do Brand Colors matter?

According to research, 85% of consumers believe color to be the biggest motivator to choose a particular product.

92% even say that visual appearance is the most influential marketing factor overall.

The color of a product affects a customer’s purchasing decision a lot.

This also means that the right choice of color not only strengthens brand affiliation but can also influence your overall revenue.

So you need to understand just why brand colors matter so much.

First of all, they appear on your:

  • logo,
  • website,
  • packaging,
  • storefront,
  • uniforms,
  • advertisements,

and many more.

As you can see, your brand colors seem to be everywhere within your business. 

They have a significant influence on the overall appearance of our brand.

So when consumers think of your brand, they also think of the colors that you use.

By using the same set of colors, you give your brand a high level of consistency.

What do different Brand Colors mean?

Next, we come to the meanings of the individual colors. 

You should be aware that each color has a different effect on the personality of your brand:

  • Red: bold, adventurous, energetic
  • Orange: adventurous, competitive, disaffected
  • Yellow: independent, strategic, impulsive
  • Green: open, friendly, authentic
  • Blue: loyal, respectful, social
  • Purple: sensitive, dignified, understanding
  • Magenta: spiritual, innovative, practical
  • Black: decisive, confident, serious

To read more about how consumers perceive these colors see this infographic.

Keep in mind that the effect of your brand colors always depends on the style and context they are used in.

In case you use multiple colors, the combination of these colors also has a significant influence on consumers’ perception.

Also, Brand colors should always align with your business goals.

Living Coral (Pantone color of the year 2019) might be trendy, but it could also be worst for your business goals.

So before you go on and choose your brand color(s), you should have a pretty good idea about your business goals.

If you already know your Brand Identity, that’s even better.


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