5th April 2017

Please, judge me by my cover

How to_Brand Identity

Reading Time: 4 mins.


Author Ennes Bentaïba

Even though we may or may not be aware of it, we all grow up internalising values and messages that will then influence our perception of reality.

When we meet a person we expect that person sending us signals: the way this person dresses, the way he/she talks, we might like or not the colour of the eyes.

Even if we do not think about this by purpose, even if we talk to ourselves repeating lies such as “I am not judging the book by its cover”, every single time we do it inevitably. We judge. This person might be the most valuable, charitable, friendly person in the world, but if you don’t give him/her the chance to be known, you will never know this.

Because the cover introduces you to what is about to follow: a tremendous flop or a breathtaking plot! A cover, or let’s say a visual identity, gives a chance to someone, a product or a company to be visible and recognisable, to transmit values and to be identified with them.

For this reason, why should a company underestimate the perception of its cover?

“Please, judge me by the cover, then you will discover also a breathtaking plot.”

Brand Identity provides the cover to a company, an organisation, a product. So that you can focus on your mission.

Here, some of the key steps, to approach the construction of a Brand Identity (and this is just the first phase!)

  • Naming: words counts more than anything. We weight words because we know words have power. Nobody says that we want to change the name of a company or a product. With “naming” we start creating awareness of the meaning of your name and what it can evoke. Then, we start building a set of exact keywords that help people in the process of identification.

Words have a connotation too. If you are approaching the entire French population or the inhabitants of Easter Island, the name needs to be specifically understandable for your current target and, in the meantime, it should meet your future need of moving to Easter Island.

This expresses also our idea of circularity.

  • House Style: This house is made of fonts, colours, emotions and all the values these elements transmit. As we all know, colours are coded and bring different meanings in different cultures. And so is a font: rounded, square, linear, geometric, humanist, with or without serif, they all transmit feelings, don’t you think?

The house style takes into consideration a wide range of variable elements in order to define/circumscribe/contain the emotional values related to the meaning defined at the beginning of the process.

To do this, we need to be emphatic, we need solid know-how, we need responsiveness and understanding and we do need analysis. We need to study the brand to reveal “that something” that makes the product, service, company, unique. This is about psychology, about the sociology of communication, about meanings. The perfect project of Brand Identity ends into the perfect combination of meaning and beauty. Users, potential customers, stakeholders will say “yes” apparently without any reason. Their choice instead, is led by colours, messages, shapes.

You may think that everything was already done, and seen. In your field, there are hundreds of competitors. If you sell diamonds, the shape of diamonds could be beautiful and meaningful the represent you. Well, all the other players have the same logo you have. The secret lays in how you are going to use the elements you have at your disposition to make your brand unique and memorable.

Every time we work on a project, we confer the value of uniqueness. It doesn’t mean that we are going to use an apple instead of a diamond (which, as we know, might be perfect too). We might go for the diamond shape, but that logo needs to be unique and this is possible only via a codification of mission and vision and the identification of USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

Ok, now we got the logo. Great, you can keep and push it all around. Wait. Do you have all different versions of the logo, declined in a meaningful way in order to make it look great on all supports? And above all, are you sure that it will still be your logo?

Your logo needs to be suitable for different “covers”. Online or offline, on a business card or on a billboard. Your logo needs to be adapted but it needs to keep the identity.

To build a Brand Architecture means all this, and much more, but this is your agency’s work. Then, all you want to say is “please, judge me by my cover”.