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Webinar #3

- Build Your Own Brand - Transcript April 2016

Author: Joe Lynch

Slide 01
Good evening, my name is Joe Lynch and I would like to welcome you to IDI and to this evening's
webinar. In this presentation we will explore the dynamic and exciting area of
Brand Identity
and in
particular, how you can develop a creative professional identity that will successfully communicate
your individual qualities.

Slide 02
In this webinar we will look a number of distinct themes. Following a brief Introduction, we will
consider the themes of:


As an Academic Leader and tutor here at the Interactive Design Institute, I am frequently impressed by the

imaginative solutions our students generate as part of their visual identity projects.

There is no doubt that individuality is at the heart of creativity - and the professional design industry
needs imaginative and unique people to help generate innovative and engaging design ideas for a
whole range of different design challenges. As part of developing and advancing a career in design, it
will be important to be clear about your personal strengths and what you can offer a potential
employer. Making a bold and unique statement will get you noticed and help you take advantage of

In this webinar we will begin by firstly considering the different qualities we may wish to communicate
through our brand. We will also look at the principles that are evident in a good visual identity. And
finally, we will look in closer detail at the elements that form our creative design identity.
There will be an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the presentation so please make your
notes as we move along - I will certainly be keen to hear your views and answer your questions.

Slide 03
Chapter One: Introduction

Slide 04
Quotation by Paula Scher, influential designer with global design practice, Pentagram.

Slide 05
If we ask the question - What is your brand? We are really asking what makes you unique as a

designer? What are the creative ideas, the technical skills and the vision that reflect your personal
approach to design?

Slide 06
When we brand ourselves we are certainly thinking about the audience how will see our projected
image. We are thinking about what we hope to achieve and how best to convey this message through
design. Unlike with a product, we are not selling a single solution - we are offering creative potential,
imagination and a range of other qualities.
The challenge here is to distill or concentrate these qualities and represent them through decisions
about design language and a selected vocabulary of visual elements that make up brand design
Now, In the first section we will consider the different elements that form your visual identity and also
what messages you may wish to communicate through the brand you create.

Slide 07
Chapter Two: Identity

Slide 08
Quotation by Saul Bass, graphic designer who produced powerful graphic design for Hitchcock films.

Slide 09
If we consider for a moment - what is it that creates your identity as a designer?
Our visual identity as
designers brings together all of the elements that we might create to communicate our creative skills.

Slide 10
This collection will include stationary items from a business card and promotional material, to our
CV, our portfolio and our professional profile and online identity. Of course it will also include your
profile image, a key element of our individuality and personality. Work photography, a mission
statement and manifesto may also form part of this.

Slide 11
Increasingly our online or digital identity is of great significance as we seek to make the most of
innovative digital tools and the capacity to reach a global audience for our work. This offers an
excellent opportunity to communicate beyond traditional limits and reach out and take advantage of
increased opportunities.

Slide 12
In many sectors of design, the real physical and tangible output remains important so there is a need
to synchronise our visual identity across both real and virtual formats.

Slide 13
The right place to begin is with your name. This is a true mark of your individuality and your identity.

Your name offers significant potential, with the opportunity here to represent and translate this to
form an identity or logo. It avoids any confusion
Let us take a look at a recent example from one of our design students.
In this first stage we are

working directly with the words to identify potential, any unique elements, repeated form and

Slide 14
Considering format by applying the words to a simple layout. We can then add further elements to
test the impact.

Slide 15
Testing letters in a possible logo. The logo is a short-cut and a simplified representation of the

Slide 16
Exploring logo ideas with letters and colour used to test the appearance.

Slide 17
Presenting ideas at each stage for discussion and evaluation. Gathering opinion is very important and
you need to be able to stand back from your work. Tutor and peers are very effective for this.

Slide 18
If we ask ourselves this challenging question - What is my Unique Selling Point? (USP) It can be a
difficult question to answer so we need to be both honest and objective if we are going to
communicate what makes us distinctive as a designer. It will be vital to convey our most important
qualities through our identity and the decisions we make about how this is communicated visually will

determine how successful this message is.

Slide 19
A good place to begin here is to think about what it is we wish to communicate through our design
identity. If you have taken part in our other webinars you will know that I like bubble diagrams. Here
is a diagram which I have used to think about the qualities I would wish my visual identity to
The ideas of space, making and lines have become my three key ideas and I will show you how I have
taken this forward a little later in this presentation.

Slide 20
Chapter Three: Messages

Slide 21
Quotation by Milton Glaser, the iconic graphic designer of the famous I NY identity.

Slide 22
Now we can ask the question - What makes a good brand? Well, let us try and establish some key

Slide 23
In the communication sector, it is widely acknowledged that we are best able to absorb up to three
key messages at one time. It is for this reason that we should therefore focus upon communicating
just three key messages within our visual identity.

Slide 24
If I now adopt this model when looking at brand messages, I would then suggest that there are three
aspects to a successful brand. They are:


Slide 25
We can now think about each of these and consider how they are used in design.

Slide 26
Easily read and understood
Legibility remains good at a range of scales
Combines visual elements with single language
Has integrity and honesty
Uses simplicity as sophistication
Employs visible colour and tone

Slide 27

Contains evidence of imagination

Displays a contemporary awareness

Uses only your own production, resources and skill

Provides opportunities for development and refresh

Communicates an individual and personal style

Indicates creative application of technical ability

Slide 28

Both text and imagery provide common language

Establishes unity across different applications

Controlled appearance in varied digital formats

Use in both colour and monochrome modes

Coherent meaning in a global context

Appearance defined by a clear Style Guide

Slide 29
Chapter Four: Elements

Slide 30
Quotation by Gary Hustwit
artist and filmmaker of the Helvetica documentary.

Slide 31
If we ask the question - What elements make a brand? We can now look at the detail of how we might
begin to create a visual identity.

Slide 32
I would suggest that there are four main elements to this. These can be described as: Shape, Colour,
Typography and Layout.
Let us take a closer look at each of these and identify the key details and consider how this can add to
our approach.

Slide 33
The third element within the design of a visual identity is typography. Typography describes the
control of text and includes typeface or font selection, the font style, the letter, word and line spacing
and also the alignment of elements. There is an extensive range of fonts available for use and just as
each our own handwriting can be subtly or dramatically different, fonts vary in character.
Legibility is key so be certain that the letter forms are clear and easily read (
Open Sans, Helvetica,
Be intentional, so avoid the appearance of accidental effects (
Cracked, Blueprint, Aroly, Freedee)
Sketch fonts can communicate creativity but informal, less serious, not technical. A handwritten
font can be good.
Serif fonts can suggest a classical approach and less contemporary without effective control
(Times New Roman)
Bold headline fonts too heavy and dominant to compliment many layouts and combinations
(Intro Rust)
Overly stylistic, too dominant, distracting, historical (
Edwardian Script)

Slide 34
It is also important to consider the fonts visual qualities when reversed as light on a dark background.

Slide 35
Legibility of typefaces - risky as can be unsuccessful

Slide 36
The fourth element within the design of a visual identity is layout. Layout describes your approach to
the organisation, composition and structure of the visual elements. Beginning with the basic decisions
we can describe this as symmetrical or asymmetrical. Then we may move on to identify horizontal or
vertical structure and the equal or unequal distribution of elements. And finally we may consider
density on the page and the quantity of white space incorporated. This is quite a range of decisions

but each one contributes to the overall look of your design.

In simple terms we may suggest that symmetry is classical and reliable, whereas asymmetry can
indicate risk and innovation.
To establish a successful layout strategy within your work,this will require the use of a grid. Grids help
you position and locate the common elements in different pages and formats. Creating a loose
template, that might include a standard page orientation and location of important anchor elements
really makes a strong statement and a clear layout identity. A consistent and structured layout within
your identity really makes the message legible and communicates real design confidence.

Slide 37
The first element within the design of a visual identity is shape. Shape or form as it may be described,
defines the space and proportion of your identity. This may take the form of an icon or logo but it
commonly has a broader role in shaping the presentation of your name.
It is useful here to consider both the symbolism and the practicality of different shapes. As a
summary of general views towards different shapes we can suggest:

Curves - friendship, support, protection

Vertical - stability, strength, balance
Horizontal - tranquility, community, composure
Diagonal - dynamic, rapid,
Circle - unity, stable, endurance
Square - solid, reliable
Triangle - dynamic, danger

Slide 38
The second element within the design of a visual identity is colour. Perhaps the most emotive
element as we all have such clear preferences about particular colours. The significance of colour is
also a global issue with different traditions and meanings. The combination or palette of colours may
reflect current trends, and simply an aim to be different. Even if colour is used, a monochrome
version of your identity is a very useful tool.
The Psychology of colour can play an important part in selection. As a simple overview:

Red - passion, energy, danger or aggression; warmth and heat. food product logos.
Orange - innovation and modern thinking. youth, fun, affordability and approachability.
Yellow - negative cowardice, warning. sunny, warm and friendly
Green - natural, ethical, growth and freshness
Blue - professionalism, serious mindedness, integrity, sincerity and calm. authority and success
Purple - royalty and luxury. wisdom and dignity, wealth and riches.
Black - power and sophistication, villainy and death. monochrome
White - purity, cleanliness, simplicity and naivety
Brown - masculine, rural life and the outdoors.
Pink - fun, vibrant, feminine

Slide 39

Now let us return to my example.

Slide 40
For my visual identity I have selected the font Rafele as the primary font - there is a stencil like quality
that communicates functionality yet it is refined and light in line with contemporary styling. I have

employed font pairing and selected Open Sans Light as the secondary font to compliment this

Slide 41
Stages in creative process and applying elements

Slide 42
Once you have defined the four important elements of your visual identity, we can create a Style
Guide to conclude this process. The central elements of your visual identity are communicated as a
palette of resources which can be applied in a number of different contexts but will now retain a
strong consistency.

Slide 43
Your Style Guide contains the details of:

Visual Identity or Logo

Fonts and Styles
Colour References
Layout Principles
Text Statements

The Style Guide is vital in providing you with a clear overview of your identity and is a constant
reference point when using the identity or returning to it when updating or refreshing it.

Slide 44
Chapter Five: Make Impact

Slide 45
Quotation by Steve Jobs, founder of Apple.

Slide 46
As the quote from Apple founder, Steve Jobs, suggests, it can be a real challenge to achieve both a
simple yet sophisticated design solution. However, it is certainly right to aim to make a strong
statement with a clear wow factor. This will place your individuality at the front of your visual
To summarise the impact of successful personal brand identity, I am sure we can agree that it will:
Be unique and memorable
Have a professional focus
Show technical competence
Show individual flair and potential
Display a contemporary awareness
Contain opportunity for refresh

Slide 47
We have now reached the end of my presentation and this part of the webinar. I would like to thank
you for taking part and I would now like to hand you back to Mat who would like to describe some of
our recent student success stories with you.