There is one constant in business: change, Changes in economic models, changes in market needs, changes in internal structure, changes in the medium, all of it shifts. With this in mind, how do you prepare your brand identity to deal with the changes to come?
Marty Neumeier described branding as changing shirts to suit the mood. For example, my go-to uniform is a black t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. But, I wouldn't wear that to workout or to a wedding. While working out, I'll wear black and grey athletic shorts and a black dri-fit. Wedding? Black blazer, white shirt, black slacks. Swimming? Birdwell trunks with a California Flag patch.
Here's the thing, while the actual elements vary, they appear uniform. The same feeling of simplicity and timelessness is what I am going for and it seeps into each circumstance.
So long as the brand is defined and your personality is detailed, you can adapt the physical appearance of your brand to suit the medium. Will it be different per circumstance? Yes. A video campaign is gonna be handled differently than a poster. Same thing with a website compared to business cards. But as long as they are aligned toward your brand, you are doing things right.
Remember, the brand is a gut-feeling. As long as you use your brand identity to reinforce that feeling, you are on the right track. It's like using multiple modes of transportation to get somewhere. So long as the experience feels the same and they are headed for the same destination, you are winning.
My roommate made some shrimp last night and offered me some. After my first bite I could tell this wasn't gonna be something that made my stomach feel good, so I scrapped the rest. Waking up this morning, it was even clearer that something wasn't right. I didn't feel like eating anything else, as if my body was illuminating a "no vacancy" sign over my stomach.
So, I listened. My body was feeling sick and needed to (putting it euphorically) expel or fix everything that was making it feel bad. If I'd tried cramming more food in my belly to ease the gurgles, it wouldn't have ended well and I'd have a bigger mess to clean up.
It leads to the question, are you treating your product the same way?
Are you forcing more features to make up for those that are making your product sick?
Are you trying to gain more users when the ones you have aren't close to satisfied?
Are you trying to expand your brand without first solidifying it?
Take time and make your product healthy before you starting filling it with more.
Good creative is hard to come by. There are a lot of designers out there, but few of them can focus their talents toward other people's goals. More importantly, if they are given a set of to-do's, their talent dries up from micromanagement. The solution? A compass.
Yes, by golly, a compass. A special compass. One that you and your designer come up with together. A north star guiding the decisions made and inspiring your designer to keep moving.
What goes into a compass? Context, expected outcomes, boundaries, and aspiration. A good designer will take these and run. Wanna get good work? Make a design compass.