Still with me? We're on part 4 of a 7 part series on how to build a better brand using Syrup's clarity framework. So far we've covered IdentityPurpose, and Uniqueness; the building blocks of a great brand. Now, we move from the philosophical to the tangible as we start to look at the visual attributes that help make a great brand.

Coming from the music space, some of my favorite bands have clearly seen the value in investing in a consistent visual identity. (AC/DC, U2, Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Nine Inch Nails, The Red Hot Chili Peppers.) Chances are, you can picture their logo in your mind just by hearing their name. For The Rolling Stones, just their mark alone, without any words, is enough for you to instantly think of the band and even have a song start playing in your head. What a strategic advantage for an international b(r)and.

I always wanted a consistent brand mark, logo and singular typeface for Third Day that could run across all of our merchandise and album covers. I wanted a logo and typeface that united our fanbase. However, we just didn't think about it till we were already established, and by then we could never get all the stakeholders to agree.*

If I was guiding a new artist's career today, I would encourage them to invest in their branding early and build a consistent visual system that touched everywhere a fan, their crew, and their business partners might interact with their brand.

(*We did start using what a symbol we called the "Come Together" logo in 2003, and I worked hard to have it show up on as much album artwork, merchandise, and stage design elements as possible through the years. However, I'm not sure we were consistent enough to really establish a visual system more than a wink to our diehard fans.

Honestly, when it comes to building an entire visual system for a brand, I feel like I'm stepping out of my element. I can recognize it when I see it done well, but I'd be pretty clueless on how to translate a brand's identity, purpose, and uniqueness to a great visual identity. Fortunately, I work with some experts in this arena. I've enclosed a link to an excerpt from a podcast (my first) with Benj Miller where we talk about his key component to building a better brand. 

 Some highlights...

  • 2:00 Flavors, the emotional adjectives you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand.
  • 3:58 Line Theory. Triangles = excitement. Horizontal lines= longevity. Vertical lines= aspiration.
  • 4:37 How the lines interact with each other. 
  • 5:00 Color Theory. Red= passion. Blue=Credibility. Green=Growth. Orange=creativity. Mixing together should match the brand flavors. Must all work together with lines and colors, that apply audience filters.
  • 6:00 Does it tell the story?
  • 6: 15 An overview on fonts. Simply, just ask, "How does this make me feel?" Fonts mimic the line theory.
  • 7:29 Thoughts on timeliness.
  • 8:04 How many fonts are too many to be using? Less is more.
  • 8:33 Why Comic Sans does not make your poster fun!
  • 9:40 An introduction to Part 5 - Story.

Are you starting to get the picture? I know I learned a ton from the interview. What do you think? Did this post and audio help you to see how the philosophical can become the tangible? 

Part 5 - Story  is now available.