As designers spread themselves and their talents thinner, they could be negatively impacting the brands on which they are working. Without visual Storytelling, brands can lose their focus and how they want to be perceived.
Unfortunately, many brand designers spread their designs in a way that do not have the consumer in mind. When the brand designer, the brand itself, and the consumer start seeing the brand differently – the brand will lose its essence and what it stands for.
As a brand designer who has worked on brands over the years, I firmly believe that we can step back and adopt a new role of taking responsibility based on collaborative efforts, clear briefs, and effective execution of said briefs.
Here are ways brands can change the way they think about designers, and what you as a brand designer can do to be relevant at every touchpoint.
1. Brand designers’ responsibilities are growing.
From experience, brand designers focus on execution of a brief and the details concerning the brand – logo size, colours, copy and design, which shape the consumer’s mindset to react. But I also think the brand designer role is too important to get fixated on just execution.
2. Managing a brand effectively.
Designing for a brand means the ability to coordinate and manage the brand narrative across every touchpoint effectively. Telling a story using visuals as a designer across touchpoints is very crucial to how consumers interact with a brand. So, a brand designer must work to regularly put the consumers in mind and be in a position to lead with coherent Storytelling.
As a designer within the travel and tourism industry, I understand why this change is essential and the call on designers to be a linchpin within their industry.
I have come to understand how the place of a brand designer is vital in strategic thinking for consumer reaction.
Let us consider three essential responsibilities of a brand designer:
1. Perform actions consistent with who you are.
A brand designer’s roles often focus on what the brief says, but that role also has a higher responsibility. Design can shape the perception of consumers and elicit a reaction.
For me, I think that the way a brand visual story is told and how the consumer responds to it cannot be separated – these two are very crucial in shaping the tone of the brand. As a designer, you must continuously submerge yourself in the brand until it becomes you – which means you need to experience the brand. And your designs must reflect that with compassion in your Storytelling.
As a brand designer, you can tell your brand story in a way that will help the brand reach its goals. To do this, you might research projects related to the brand you are working on to gain more insight. And over time, you can help in really shaping the consumer experience.
Working as a brand designer within the travel and tourism industry has helped me add value to the industry by creating visuals that align with the goals of clients.
2. Consider every touchpoint as a perspective shaper.
One of the most crucial responsibilities of a brand designer is to ensure that client’s expectations are met, and the client’s client has an experience that encourages them to act.
As much as one cannot control the way consumers react, it is still within the duty of the brand designer to continually find ways to create visuals that will help shape their perspective. Every brand has challenges, and it is the responsibility of the designer to create visual solutions that will meet the consumer’s expectations.
Upskilling is also very pivotal to creating skills needed to be able to adapt and align with current design trends while adjusting to understand consumer behaviour, which is constantly evolving.
For example, Stellenbosch launched an initiative to drive swift recovery of local business. Support Stellenbosch will include a special Showcase of the town for locals in the last weekend in September, October, and November, providing locals with special offers.
From a brand designer point of view, the logo adopted for the campaign is about improving the customer’s experience. Each touchpoint is a chance to strengthen the Stellenbosch brand with an experience worth sharing.
3. Visual Storytelling for brand identity growth.
Every brand designer knows that identity is what shapes a brand. Telling the brand story through visuals must be a continuous process.
A brand designer is responsible for making sure the brand identity remains relevant at touchpoints even as the brand grows.
The smartest decision any brand designer can make is to continually put the consumer and the community in mind when designing, and this will improve the brand drastically.
Three skills that will help you as a brand designer
The following tips are not cast in stone, but I believe they are essential if you want to succeed as a brand designer.
1. Add Storytelling to the mix.
This can be tricky; you need to learn how to visually tell your story in a very compelling way that will trigger consumers to act. You’re not there to sit and watch; your role is to bring briefs to life. Your ability to take a brief and turn it into a compelling visual is a must.
2. Develop skills in design thinking.
Do not just sit and wait. Dive into design thinking to understand how you can systematically extract, teach, learn, and apply these human-centred techniques in solving problems creatively and innovatively.
3. Spread your jam.
A consumer-centric brand designer knows how to translate a brief into a visual for the right audience. Your client’s clients are the primary active ingredients that help to spread your jam – your client’s voice and goals – without shifting away from the messaging.