Sunday, January 28, 2018

Unity and the brand experience

In the commercial world, unity isn’t just important within a single print or online piece. It’s essential across the full range of print and interactive media, as well as any physical spaces associated with the brand.

When Harvest Market opened in late 2016, it was an entirely new retail grocery concept in the Champaign-Urbana market and for its parent company, Niemann Foods.  
They created a new brand from scratch, and thought through every little detail to get things right and distinguish themselves from all other food stores in the minds of their target audience. The result is branding that conveys the idea of freshness, quality and transparency in the farm-to-table supply chain.

Visual unity and variety are effectively used across multiple media and within the store itself. Carefully chosen and consistently used fonts, colors, logos, white space and other elements create order and help the consumer make connections. Farm-to-table storytelling is a big part of their branding, and the graphics support the stories. Whether you're looking at one of their ads, shopping in their store, or reading a farmer’s story on their website, you will know you're experiencing the Harvest Market brand - not Walmart, IGA or Aldi.

Brand unity – similarity, oneness, togetherness, cohesion – is apparent from the parking lot (where the diagonal shapes on the edges of the cart corral signage are repeated from the tractor tires in the Harvest Market logo)...
To the main entrance (with an antique John Deere tractor, just in case you missed the tractor suggested by their logo)...

To their print ads (note the distinctive fonts; you saw them above, and you'll see them again below)...

To their website...

And throughout the store.

Repetition of several different, but well-coordinated fonts ... earth tones (lots of rich greens, browns and sky blues) ... and snippets of shapes that make up the logo ... lends unity across different media and messages.

Overall brand unity means much more than slapping a logo on every print piece that goes out the door, or every webpage that's put online. It's a matter of considering how every design element and customer "touchpoint" can build and reinforce people's impression of your brand.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Variety:  Too much of a good thing

 A wise teacher told me once that if everything is emphasized, then nothing ends up being emphasized.

(The conversation might have taken place in the context of using too many exclamation points! No!! Really!! That's what he said!!!!)

Once my mind has processed "oh, yeah; this is an ad," my eye starts in the upper-left with the photo ... and then it sort of knows where to go next, but it it isn't really sure it wants to make the trip. 

It looks like the blocky serif type of "Man's Best Friend" might be this company's logo - note the repetition in the lower-right corner - and I see what they were trying to do with carrying the same font from the photo to the headline over the right column. But the odd gap between the two bits of display type just makes me want to look away. As does the frequent use of ALL-CAPS within the body of the ad.

Not the worst ad I've ever seen, but - in spite of the cute baby and the dogs - it just doesn't deliver a powerful visual message.

Hi. I'm Kathy Reiser and this is my blog space for Parkland College's GDS 108 - Design Media and Principles - during the spring semester 2018.

I chose to call my blog "LOGOS" for a couple of reasons: First, I've always been fascinated by the power of simple visuals that help create and reinforce brand identity.  Plus, the Greek word "logos" is used to express several concepts related to branding; depending on the context, it can be translated as "word," "reason," "study," "discourse" and/or "story."

Why do we suddenly feel thirsty when we see a Coca-Cola logo - and why do the hairs on the back of our neck stand up when we see a red flag with a black swastika on it?  That, dear reader, is the power of branding - and LOGOS.