What makes smart branding?

Michael C. Place
Creative director, Build

"Flexibility: the design shouldn't be too rigid. It should be able to adapt to a multitude of uses with ease. Individuality: the design should convey character. It should stand out from the crowd - a point of difference is a valuable thing. Simplicity: don't overcomplicate. The simpler the system, the clearer the communication."

Kelli Anderson
Artist and designer

"Smart branding isolates and expresses the most important thing about a certain consumer experience (or political movement, policy, concept) by framing it in familiar terms. It does this by tapping into larger concepts and feelings that already exist as part of the collective memory, and associating them with the specific thing being branded."

David Mahoney
'Tradigital' artist

"Smart branding makes you believe you've seen it before. Its familiarity makes the user able to both relate to the branding identity, and understand what the brand represents. The impression that's left on the user isn't from overpowering typefaces or colour, but a product of cohesion and uniformity in the form of simplicity."

Tim Beard
Creative director, Bibliothèque

"We live in a time of almost constant visual bombardment and distraction. Any identity that stands out, or communicates something emotive to a viewer, would seem to be smart. It's about understanding the client, product and customer, and making a connection with a bold concept and intelligent thinking."

Emma Thomas & Kirsty Carter
Co-founders, A Practice for Everyday Life

"A smart identity needs to be multifaceted: it's about more than just a logotype. A strong brand is recognisable and consistent, but also needs to be creative and inventive."

Sean Perkins
Founding partner, North

"Every identity is different, and there's no one method that guarantees success. Consistency is important, although in some cases it helps if the identity can be flexible. And of course it needs to communicate."

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 219.

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