Aspiring to Achieve an Identity System as a “Normal” Business

February 28, 2020

Mat Seibert

It’s pretty obvious that most businesses when they start or redirect in the midst of operations want to establish a true brand. Something that stands the test of time, connects with consumers and makes those involved to be a part of. But the reality is a lot more “murky”. Knowing that almost all clients would opt to build an “identity system” over just a “logo”, we talk more in-depth about how that might become a reality. For more context on the topic of logo vs identity, check out our previous discussion in which we talked on the difference between a logo design and an identity system.

Tony: I think it would be safe to assume almost every person that is a part of a company or a company owner aims for the ladder, the identity system, the brand, the Apple, if you will, to be that clichéd.

Mat: Yeah. I mean, you know, Apple has really clean packaging. A really sharp mark, I mean, they’re not throwing a million colors at you. It’s pretty much white and silver. And you know, they are clean, to the point, whether you’re opening up their package, or opening up your computer for the first time, or seeing their pitch at a conference, it all has the same kind of tone and professionalism.

Tony: So how, and how realistic is it, as a normal business, right? You know, whether it be a mom and pop shop, or let’s say it’s a mid-market business. They might be doing twenty, fifty, a hundred million dollars in revenue. How do they get there?

Mat: Well, the larger you get, the more you have to lean into this, you system. Because you know, if you walked into Target and the shelves weren’t red, you wouldn’t know what store you were in. You can see one of their ads from a mile away. They use strong reds and white, and that makes, you know, the full color elements pop when they’re there. But it just, it all points toward the same message. You don’t need copy on screen. You don’t need a tagline or the company name. Just the red and the white tell you what you’re about to see.

Tony: Uh-huh. So do you see any common mistakes being made, or just easy things to fix, that these companies are aiming to strive for, like, how do they achieve that?

Mat: Well, a lot of times, it really helps to predefine these elements, and define the rules that you’re going to be using. So you know, when they’re all disparate and separate components, it’s easy to take a logo and you know, stretch it or skew it or use it in some misinformed way. But when you have all those pieces and rules built out ahead of time, which can scale. You can start with just: what does my type look like? What does my spacing look like? And what are my colors? And from there, you can grow. So an identity system isn’t unapproachable for a small business. It’s actually somewhat essential, if you want to look like a big player with a small amount of money.

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