The 5 crucial elements of Visual Branding
What defines a brand? The products they sell or the way they communicate with their consumers? A well-designed website or a meticulously curated Instagram feed? The thickness of the typography on their logo or the colours on their packaging? A brand’s visual appeal is a synthesis of the elements mentioned above. Branding is the process of creating a certain perception in the mind of a prospective consumer. Creating an identity is of utmost importance in today’s crowded market, where the story behind a product is as valuable as the product itself.
I’ve picked out a few examples of brands that have used some of these tools of visual communication effectively.
1. Website Design: SAR Studio
SAR is a furniture design studio based in Pune, India. Their beautifully crafted products are primarily designed to be functional and minimalist. Proportions play a key role in any form of art, and their website mimics the balance they focus on in their work. Text is kept brief, so the boldness is resounding. Scrolling down, you notice how intuitive their messaging is when the text is paired with gorgeous high-resolution images of the furniture details. Clean-cut rectilinear lines separate the information from the photography in a grid arrangement. The lines are delicate, yet striking, just like their product.
Careful attention is given to the pops of colour that appear in the photographs, as you scroll through, making sure they capture the readers' interest. Colours, when used right, portray a sense of mood. Muted pastels therefore keenly resemble SAR’s Scandinavian style of design. The shopping experience is also extremely seamless, as you navigate through macro-categories so that you find exactly what you’re looking for. A side-parallax animation as you click-through makes the content-loading effectively fun. SAR has successfully managed to translate its philosophy and aesthetic into a wholesome online experience.
2. Product Photography: Melt Jewelry
Melt is a contemporary jewelry design studio dedicated to ‘elevating the experience of adornment'. Although Melt’s products are minimally designed with strong geometric shapes, their product photography has beautiful contrast. Bright, saturated backgrounds with varying textures and organic patterns allow the jewelry to stand out stunningly. Soft, dispersed lighting gives the metallic elements a delicate glow.
Melt has two distinct approaches to capture the essence of their product visually- One is context-driven, where you see the person or a part of the person wearing the jewels - and the second style is a flat-lay product-focused shot, with a hued backdrop. Both these styles have blended well on their Instagram feed, so anyone browsing their brand for the first time gets an idea of the details as well as the overall look. Product photography is crucial especially considering the scale of the item, and Melt’s imagery ingeniously speaks for itself.
3. Instagram Feed: Indus people
Instagram has become a hub for lifestyle brands to connect directly with their consumers. A carefully curated feed is not only essential to keep current followers engaged, but to entice the one’s who’ve stumbled upon a profile to understand their story at a glance.
Indus people is a brand that designs tableware and stationery. Minimally styled, their products are deeply rooted and inspired by stories of India, every product exhibiting a unique tale of its own. Their Instagram feed beautifully represents the journey of their design. Product images are balanced with photographs of the context they were inspired by, the earthy colours reflecting in the inspiration. The feed is almost like a subtle gradient of earthy tones, which is very easy on the eye and takes you on a journey of discovery. White is a strong element in their feed which conveys purity; of Indus and their brand alike.
4. Packaging Design: No. 3 Clive Road
Don’t judge a book by its cover? On the contrary, you should when it comes to choosing a product. Brands that value what they create invariably see value in the form in which a consumer receives their product. Tactile and visual sensory feedbacks are crucial when a consumer has to make a split-second decision while choosing a product amongst a zillion other options off a shelf, or online.
No. 3 Clive road specializes in hand-blended teas and home accessories. The story of the brand is rooted in family bonds that dates back five decades. No. 3 clive road seems to encapsulate the essence of that era in what they create. Intricately designed graphics on the labeling represents an age-old style of block-printing which is elegant and timeless. Hand-drawn floral patterns in nature-identical colours are akin to those found on palatial wall paintings in the Indian subcontinent. The solid monotone colours contrast well against a black print of their logo, which on its own is quite emphatic itself. Their Custom-molded glass jars have soft edges, which again, gives a hand-made touch. Black on black overlays, especially on a matte surface, is a personal favorite of mine and conveys the bespoke nature of their product excellently.
5. Logo Design: Kassa
A logo is essentially the facade of a brand. It’s the first visual impression you have, which sticks with you for a lifetime. It represents what the brand stands for and who they’re creating for. Brands invest millions in creating a mark that is not only impressionable but tells a story.
Kassa is a studio based in the historic town of Jaipur, acclaimed for its craftsmanship and design. Kassa [pronounced [(‘k/ɑːʃ/ʃ/ɑː/)] meaning ‘House of two’, was started by two like-minded contemporary artists Arpan and Arushi. This simple fact is translated through an inverted symmetry in the monogram, representing duality. The monogram itself is an intelligently crafted version of the Devanagari letter ‘ क ‘ which molds into the letter ‘S’ from the English alphabet, beautifully emphasizing the two syllables ‘ka’ and ‘sa’ in their name, while at the same time describing the style as a blend of contemporary and traditional craft. The line weight on their monogram is sleek, which psychologically emphasizes on the finesse in their product. The letter-spacing on the typography, which is all lower-case, also symbolizes the clean and rich nature of the brand which is seen in materials they use in their craft.
At first glance, no single consumer de-constructs these visuals I’ve mentioned above, to analyze every single detail. But the complexity of the human brain enables us to paint a picture through billions of references, symbolism and subjective preferences developed through evolution, which helped our ancestors pick the juicier bright red apple over its unripe counterpart.
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