What is a flexible brand identity?

It’s the critical investment you need to make in your brand  

Everybody loves the LemonTop logo (or so they tell us). No matter where you see the lemon-yellow speech bubble it is instantly recognised by those who love us, and often commended by the wider business community. Like many brand designs we have created, right from the beginning, we were always rigid and consistent in displaying our brand. It was always our “LemonTop” Word Mark inside the speech bubble and never wavered. And there lay the problem. A good visual identity should conjure up the images and emotions associated with your brand’s personality even when the logo design isn’t visible. We now know that rather than being static with your identity, having a flexible brand system means that your brand design and strategy can be constantly evolved to reflect changing values, business focus, and customer needs in a continuously changing landscape. 

Static and inflexible brand design is no longer the way forward.  

Over the last couple of years, we have come to realise that, for your brand to evolve and move forward you must give it the creative freedom it demands. Our world is now fully responsive, and brands communicate across a multitude of different platforms, using different devices, accessing an array of printed, digital and social media. Brands must still attract attention while being instantly recognisable and consistent but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands that are based on a static logo or symbol to communicate their message and tell their story across so many different channels.  

To fully connect, your brand needs a system based visual identity 

We are now seeing a major change in the communication between brands and their customers. It’s no longer commercially practical to communicate with a logo-based visual identity, portraying the same messages over and over again. Everyone is questioning, challenging and engaging with brands on a personal level, so your visual language needs to reflect this. While it’s still extremely important to remain consistent, this new language requires a system-based visual identity where you encompass everything from colours, typefaces and icons through to photography and graphic elements. They all work together to produce the look and feel of your brand without having to actually display your logo. Many of our clients now refer to yellow as LemonTop Yellow. Just by seeing a simple colour conjures up the images and emotions they associate with LemonTop as a business. The same goes for our uniquely unusual typeface and Larry, our company mascot. These dynamic and eye-catching elements are where the emotional connection to our brand lies.  

 Is your brand ready for this new world of freedom and expression? 

Since the explosion of social and digital media platforms, customers’ brand values have changed dramatically. The traditional need for stability and rigidity in a brand has morphed through a period of durability and now customers are demanding we give brands the freedom to communicate with creative expression. Brands are beginning to see new communication channels opening from every direction, but this is nothing new. It all started with MTV, the music video channel that developed its own, new and creatively explosive visual language in the 1980s. They had to cater for a myriad of different musical styles, genres, and age ranges so a single static logo was never going to be enough to target their vastly different consumer ideals. They were extremely fluid in their brand presentation, but they were the punks of their generation, casting the rules aside and inventing new ways to shock and disrupt a stiff collared society. This flexibility worked for them, and it is still working today. Look no further than Google, with their icons and favicons being flexed around different services they offer, and their corporate word mark being flexibly used every day to celebrate dates and anniversaries. Virgin’s red colour, Vodafone’s speech mark, O2’s animated bubbles, they all flex and morph with great freedom and creative expression. 

What are you doing to give your brand the freedom it demands? 

For a long time, brands were doing all the talking and having one-way conversations. Now, customers are demanding that brands listen and learn from them, support their values, and communicate with them on their own personal level. This is turning the design world on its head, and your brand must evolve into a fluid and flexible entity to ensure that you are seen clearly from every new angle and across every new channel. We have chosen to embrace flexibility in our brand and are reaping the rewards of having conversations instead of creating monologues. We are helping others who are struggling with the misconception that they will lose control of their brand. By not embracing flexibility they are running the risk of cutting conversations dead and losing the customers they worked so hard to find. 

Is your brand as flexible as it should be? 

Remember, your logo is the cherry on top of your brand cake, but your brand’s visual identity should run through everything you do, even without your logo. A flexible, system based visual identity is fast becoming a critical investment you need to make in your brand to carry on building familiarity and recognition in this new digital world. From your products and services, all the way through to your creative culture, it will help you communicate in a whole new language. 

To find out how LemonTop can help you develop your flexible brand system, give us a call on 01642 969222 or email hello@lemontopcreative.com 

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