3 ways to make brands beautiful

Branding is not an exact science and the perceived 'impact' of a project depends on any number of factors, from aesthetics to client expectations. Here, as part of a YouTube series for Computer Arts, Brand Impact Award judges Sunita Yeomans and Kate Shaw discuss authenticity, craft and ornamentation in modern branding.

01. Embrace the power of ornament

“Human beings by nature are drawn to beautiful, exquisite detail. It doesn’t have to be girly, just well-crafted,” insists Kate shaw. “As I’ve been shouting at some of
the brand impact awards entries this year, there’s so much sans-serif type and blocks of graphic colour, but a lack of beauty and detail and craftsmanship across the board. it should be used more, in every sector.”  

"I totally agree with that,”adds Sunita Yeomans. “You could pick out the beauty industry, the hotel industry, or any cultural service provider, but that’s a bit predictable. You can still do something beautiful and inspiring in the financial sector – it doesn’t have to be dull and dreary and corporate.”

02. Collaborate, but don’t abdicate

Of course, for most studios this kind of work involves working with a specialist. “Collaboration is fantastic, so go forth and collaborate – but don’t then become so reliant on an illustrator than you forget the importance of the design that holds it all together,” warns Yeomans. “It’s a risk: someone commissions an amazing illustration and thinks, ‘that’s it, job done.’”  

"Brand identity has to be underpinned with something solid that enables you to collaborate with any number of illustrators,” agrees Shaw. “An illustration should never be the whole thing.”

03. Don’t just act authentic – be authentic

"Authenticity is about storytelling,” argues Yeomans, “but there are so many brands that do storytelling. It’s been done to death. Brands have to search for something more.”  

"They have to ‘be’ authentic, behave in an authentic way, and believe in their stories,” adds Shaw. “Savvy consumers can see beyond ‘looking’ authentic, or sounding a little bit authentic.”  

"A load of brands have popped up and are just making up their stories,” laments Yeomans. “A whole back-story about how the product emerged – ‘I came up with this brilliant idea in my garden shed’ – and it’s all totally made up. it’s getting a bit boring. really, it’s just about being truthful.”

Book your Brand Impact Awards tickets

Join the world's top agencies at the Brand Impact Awards in September

Join the world's top agencies at the Brand Impact Awards in September

Computer Arts' Brand Impact Awards reward the very best branding from around the world. Now in its third year, the scheme's rich heritage of past winners represent the cream of the global branding industry. 

This year, the Brand Impact Awards received over 160 entries. After a long, inspiring day filled with impassioned debates between the world-class judging panel, we can reveal the 47 projects from 33 different agencies made the shortlist.

The winning and highly commended projects will be revealed at the third-annual Brand Impact Awards ceremony at the Ham Yard Hotel, London, on 8 September. So book your tickets now to join the world's top agencies and discover 2016's big winners.

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Nick Carson

Nick is a content strategist and copywriter. He has worked with world-class agencies including Superunion, Wolff Olins and Vault49 on brand storytelling, tone of voice and verbal strategy for global brands such as Virgin, Pepsi and TikTok. Nick launched the Brand Impact Awards in 2013 while editor of Computer Arts, and remains chair of judges. He's written for Creative Bloq on design and branding matters since the site's launch.