You are here

Branding Blog

Last summer at the Boston Design4Drupal conference and again at DrupalCon Chicago I had the pleasure of watching Jared Spool speak about web usability. He is the kind of presenter that sneaks up on you with a dry subject matter but leaves the crowd rolling with laughter as he quips his way through examples of UX failures. Among the lessons learned from Spool was the idea that there is sometimes a gap between what users know, and what they need to know to operate your site. That is where we call upon design to bridge the gap. Unfortunately, I feel that many have simply opted to eliminate the... More
When visual communication was rendered through oil on canvas one would not have a hard time arguing that it was the oil, and not the canvas that mattered most. While a well-crafted substrate was essential it was also something to take for granted. The great masters were painters and the skill with which they applied their medium was the measure of that greatness. Today’s canvas of choice is the web. It is so powerful, dynamic and ubiquitous that it has devoured all other forms of media. Music, theater, film and even traditional art are now most commonly seen on the Internet. Often times... More
For the uninitiated, last month I produced an unofficial design exploration in an effort to rebrand the Drupal Association’s membership badges. I want to thank those of you who offered feedback and voted in my poll.  It turns out while I was working on my exploration another effort was underway to address Drupal’s subbrands. As of this post, their pairing of the official wordmark with Helvetica Neue Light can be seen gracing the pages of the Drupal Association’s site, among others. That said, it was obvious that I should recook my exploration to leverage the wordmark as well as Helvetica Neue... More
Brands are like people in the sense that they can be related to each other.  And like people, those associations can open doors or become a burden. I feel like this latter point if often missed when organizations consider rolling out a new product as a brand extension. I recently put together a strategy presentation for a client to explore this topic using Coors Brewing Company as my example. I thought it might be of interest to those considering extending their brand. Let me begin by explaining the concept of a brand extension.  It is essentially just adding another member of the family.  In... More
UPDATE: Take a look at Part 2 of this post where we make some revisions and incorporte the wordmark into our exploration. The other month I finally got off my can and became an individual member of the Drupal Association. I’ve been using the CMS increasingly since ’07 and the Chicago registration process reminded me that I should chip in. Beyond the sense of goodwill one feels from giving some money back to the community, Association members are provided a selection of seals they can place on their site promoting their contribution. Unfortunately they are ugly. Drupal has a branding problem.... More
By now, most of you have probably seen the hugely successful Christopher Nolan film Inception. It is a movie that explores that possibility that an idea can be planted in the mind of a person without them knowing it. From Hollywood’s standpoint, it is a science fiction twist on an old-fashioned heist film. However, from the standpoint of a marketing communications professional, it is something much closer to pornography. For decades these folks have sought to plant ideas in the minds of consumers. Albeit, less dramatically. While Inception is a work of fantasy, it seemed to me in watching the... More
When an organization or initiative is born, one has to look at the competitive landscape and attempt to define a new brand. This is exciting, challenging, and often much easier than attempting to renovate an old brand. New brands are new construction, and they are free from the burden of legacy. With existing companies, you are looking at a more delicate process. Perhaps some thought was given to their logo many years ago when they were starting up. For many small businesses, it is an afterthought as they focus on other priorities. Leaving the company’s image in the hands of their niece/... More
For the past two years I have attended the Boston Drupal Design Camp at MIT. Understandably for a Drupal camp, most sessions focus on the technology but with a unique slant toward its use in the service of aesthetics. I guess you could say it sprang from a movement that began at DrupalCon DC, where many designers gathered to set an agenda during the code sprint. I was a fly on the wall of that meeting and I saw many leaders voice concern that their presence within the community was undervalued. As I sat down to an early session of the Design for Drupal Camp I could have sworn I recognized the... More
During a recent conversation, a friend of mine in the business said that a particular company would not make an interesting client. It was a statement that stayed in my mind long after we spoke, as I had almost the opposite reaction. I don’t think what I observed in the company was any different than what my friend saw. Which is to say, they were a small business that was relatively unknown. Though they had been in operation for some time, their branding was unprofessional and belied their experience. That said, the difference was clearly in how we interpreted the aforementioned. After some... More
I am one of those people whose mind is always churning about something. Count me among the poor souls who lose sleep ruminating on the events, conversations and ideas of the day. You can imagine that design and branding would be among the topics I favor having made it my vocation.  Nothing high minded, but I often consider the challenges my clients face. Despite the diversity of their services, I’ve found they tend to have a lot of the same issues. Most of them are small and medium size businesses or initiatives. Many have only made modest investment in their design and brand communications.... More
RSS feed