Good branding makes products memorable, and art direction undeniably contributes to its success. Sometimes just by mentioning the name, we can think of the logos and all the colours associated with the brand in our heads. If implemented correctly and consistently, it becomes the entire image consumers remember about the product or corporate for their whole life. This concept is called 'Corporate Identity'. It is not something that comes up on its own. A business owner has to build it from the ground up. And of course, this process takes time.
But let's be clear, building a corporate identity is not just about designing a nice logo and choosing a good colour palette. You have to know exactly which direction your brand's whole graphic design identity will look like. It's also one of the keywords in branding terms that is essential to the success of your brand. So, today we will be talking about Corporate Identity and why Art Direction matters.
What Is Corporate Identity (CI)?
Corporate identity (CI) is the set of brand’s design rules which covers all of a company’s visual aspects and creative elements. The term ranges from logo design to social media assets, stationery to staff uniforms, blog posts to product packaging. CI covers both visual and textual elements, as well as the communication style on any media, events and billboard. Brand image is instantly recognizable due to a strong corporate identity, and this creates a lasting impression for customers. If a brand really puts effort into keeping CI consistency, you will see everything associated with it in the same direction.
While branding and CI may sound similar at best and often mentioned interchangeably, they are a tiny bit different in reality. Branding is one of many processes under marketing strategy to make the brand recognisable and memorable, using CI as the rule to follow. In other words, branding is utilising Corporate Identity to marketise the products or services.
Ensuring that a consistent look and feel is experienced at all communication touchpoints puts you in the strongest possible position to influence how your brand is interpreted and best remembered by customers. This is why ‘consistency’ really plays a big part in CI building.
Corporate identity (CI) is the brand’s design rule which covers all of a company’s visual aspects and creative elements.
Corporate Identity & Art Direction
One of the first questions our graphic designers ask the client before each job is “What does your CI look like?” Because graphic designs are the most recognisable aspect of corporate identity. If your company has no clear ideas of their CI direction, the works that come out might be all over the place and not as easy to create brand recognition.
By brand recognition, we mean when people see advertisements or online content for just a glimpse and instantly associate what they see with your brand. That is what successful branding and CI usage look like.
You might need a detailed Brand Manual, which is a guide to help designers and copywriters understand your company’s CI better. Including anything from the photography direction, colour palette, primary and secondary logo, greyscale and colour, the font in English, Thai, and any other languages that you need to use, to usages and restrictions of each element. All of this will help the designer know your brand well before the project commences.
If your company has no clear CI direction, the works that come out might be all over the place and not as easy to create brand recognition.
Corporate Identity & Social Networking
With an increasing number of users in Thailand and worldwide, social media can be the most effective platform for brand building in the digital era. It is true that the post design should still follow the CI, but sometimes it might be hard to keep using the same style over and over. Don't fall for that trap.
Setting an art direction for each campaign can help designers learn which direction they should look for, whether the mood and tone, image usage, typography up to tiny details that the brand wants to include. Don't you just love it when everything is well organized? There should be a person to overseer the creative direction, information, and QC all job whether it follows the art direction before they get published. This could help the design team work with less effort and minimise mistakes in the project.
Another CI aspect that’s as important as the visual element is the language. If you look closely at big companies Facebook pages with millions of followers, their style of writing will look consistent thanks to Language CI shared between content creators. An agency blog page would talk in a more appropriate manner, while an entertainment page might use sassier, sarcastic tones. From content on the feed to inbox messages, the tone is kept consistent at all stages of the audience’s journey. This was dictated by the CI to fit the brand image and the target audience the brand wants to communicate with.
If you look closely at big companies Facebook pages with millions of followers, their style of writing will look consistent thanks to Language CI shared between content creators.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main purpose of corporate identity?
The purpose of a corporate identity is to make the company stand out from the crowd. The concept needs to be planned and implemented strategically.
What are the three main components of corporate identity?
Powerful identities are made up of three elements: the value proposition you offer your customers, the capabilities system that allows you to create that value, and the set of products and services that leverage those capabilities and delivers against your value proposition.
What are the 4 main components of visual brand identity?
Some companies use style guides to keep their brand consistent. Nevertheless, it's okay to take a more casual approach if you're just getting started. The main elements of visual identity are a logo, color, and images.
What is the difference between corporate image and corporate identity?
Corporate image is how a company looks in terms of its logos, colors, design and other visual stimuli. In relation to the way it reflects on the company, corporate identity includes the effects of organizational culture at the corporation.
What is the difference between art direction and creative direction?
There is a slight difference between art direction and creative direction. By definition, an art direction is focused solely on aesthetics, whereas a creative direction consists of strategy, campaign execution, art direction, and more.
What is art direction in advertising?
Art direction in public relations and advertising makes sure that the brand's message is conveyed to consumers. It helps coordinate the work of other artistic or design staff, such as graphic designers, and are responsible for the overall visual aspects of an advertising or media campaign.
Need Help With Planning Powerful, Recognizable Corporate Identity?
If your company needs to find a memorable brand CI strategy and tips, our team of experts at Sphere Agency is here to help you refine your corporate identity and branding into something much more than you can ever imagine. We guarantee with years of experience in branding and rebranding for various big names in the industry. Still wondering how far can our branding services take you? Contact us and see for yourself!