As a designer who has worked their way up from a junior role in Marketing to a Lead Visual Designer in UX and now as a Design Director of Brand and Marketing at a Fortune 1000 company, I've learned a thing or two about the importance of brand identity and how it starts within. I want to share some tips and strategies to help you create a strong brand identity, especially if you're a casual designer working in a corporate setting.
- Build relationships across the company. Start by making sure your work always looks polished and professional, no matter who you're presenting to. Treat every presentation as if the entire company, including the CEO and executives, will see it. This will help you establish a reputation for quality work and make it easier for others to trust and collaborate with you.
- Create a consistent presentation style for your team. Whether you're a team of one or five, it's crucial to establish a consistent style for presentations and design work. Create templates and set expectations for how your team will work with stakeholders when making design decisions.
- Guide your stakeholders. Remember that your stakeholders are not designers and may not notice every detail. Make sure your presentations and PDFs are clear, with callouts and one-liners explaining the importance of specific design elements.
- Internalize the brand identity. A strong brand identity starts within the company. Do your research, understand the product, and identify the key elements that make your company unique. This will help you create a brand identity that resonates with your audience.
- Avoid cliches and filler words. Instead of relying on buzzwords, focus on a few unique aspects of your product or service. Stick to the top three ideas, feelings, or words that truly define your brand.
- Treat your internal design team as partners, not an agency. Encourage designers to collaborate with everyone in the organization, gather insights, and create design ideas. This will help your team avoid becoming isolated and disconnected from the rest of the company.
- Build connections beyond marketing and sales. Don't be afraid to connect with product, legal, and client teams. They often have valuable insights about the brand that can help you create a more authentic and meaningful brand identity.
To drive home the importance of fostering a strong brand identity, let's revisit some key insights I've learned throughout my career. One of my guiding principles is to
"cover the most extreme cases, and the rest will fall in between naturally."
This means focusing on a few critical elements instead of trying to cover every possible scenario when developing your brand's visual identity. This approach helps you avoid becoming overwhelmed and allows you to hone in on what truly matters.
Additionally, always remember to
"look within first."
This means engaging with various teams within your organization to gather valuable insights before making design decisions. As I've said before, "If you're building an internal design team, it's best to think of this team not as a design agency but as partners across the whole organization." By nurturing a culture of collaboration and partnership, you can create a more robust and effective brand identity that will resonate with your audience and drive your company's success.
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© Vlad Gorshkov 2023. Please don't steal.