How Brand Identity influenced my career

by SuePHdesign

       When I was first starting out in graphic design with a Chicago marketing firm on Michigan Avenue my creative director was always inspiring the design team to focus on brand identity. She wanted us to come up with a corporate identity campaign for our company. We had an existing logomark but we needed to develop a corporate brand design concept for every in-house publication we pushed out. This was before the age of social media so we relied on print and email advertising.
She inspired us with the work of Paul Rand who is, as some say, the grandfather of corporate branding. Pushing our boundaries, she was adamant about research and developing simplicity in the esthetic of the art already created and build on that. Good brand design stems from a process of thoughtful insight about how to best communicate what the client represents. She wanted us to write about the logo not design it first and that is much more difficult. It was like dissecting a frog.
Taking Rand’s client Morningstar for example, his process took months, however, he produced a final production piece to simplify it into a quick and powerful read for them. “A Signature for Morningstar”

He almost singlehandedly convinced business that design was an effective tool. [. . .] Anyone designing in the 1950s and 1960s owed much to Rand, who largely made it possible for us to work. He more than anyone else made the profession reputable. We went from being commercial artists to being graphic designers largely on his merits.  –Louis Danziger, graphic designer

Why is Brand Identity Important?

Joe Mansueto says it best with his intro statement on the Morningstar websites’ “About” page:

When he founded Morningstar, Joe Mansueto recognized that investors don’t just need financial information—they need it in a form they can understand and use. Effective design is a core strength of our products. Considering everything from how we present information online and in our publications, to how people interact with our software, we work to create experiences that enlighten investors by using thoughtful, precise, and logical information design.

The origin of our logo
After five years of successful growth, Joe felt it was time to rethink how we visually communicated our brand. He decided the logo was the first place to start. He’d read Paul Rand’s A Designer’s Art and admired the impactful logos Rand created for IBM, UPS, ABC, and other established companies. In 1991, Joe contacted the 75-year-old designer, who finally agreed to do the job for $50,000, with half paid up front.

Four months later, Rand sent back his sketches along with a final design that played on the source of the company’s name—the last line in Thoreau’s Walden, “The sun is but a morning star.” To this day, Joe considers the logo the cornerstone of our corporate identity and one of the best
investments he made in the company. (1991)

The true value of a brand is immeasurable if the client sees it. The artist will always see it if executed to its full potential.

SuepHdesign 2017