If you think it is becoming harder to make an impact as a person, imagine how much more difficult it must be for the proliferating number of companies seeking to promote their brand in an ever more competitive, globalised world. For an identity is more than just a brand-name that will be remembered, or a logo that is instantly recognisable. It is the whole intangible feeling that a product or service produces in a would be customer, giving them the confidence to go ahead and purchase it.
This is something that designers aim to create by a variety of technical means – colour schemes, fonts, artistic approach (minimalist or “busy”), size, story-line – but equally restricted by various technical limitations, such as the need to encompass a widely differing set of end-uses. At the heart of the identity, though, is an emotion that – with the client’s agreement – must be conjured up out of all these factors and which is by definition abstract. Hence the enduring attraction of the challenge.
Interestingly, almost all of the 53 graphic designers on parade in this issue, all with solid reputations as identity specialists, were only too keen to respond to our request that they pick an existing brand that they would love to re-brand – and briefly outline how they would go about it. We suspect that they will be as fascinated as our readership at large to see what other brands were chosen and what concrete suggestions were made for improvement.