For graphic designers, one of the most interesting and rewarding projects they can take on is helping a new company develop its brand identity. It can be challenging to come up with designs that are memorable, but with the right investigation and market research, you can produce a visual scheme that will help you stand out. There are some differences between branding and identity. Branding is the overall public perception of a company and can have as much to do with slogans, market activity, industry standing, product quality, public relations events as it does with advertising. Identity, on the other hand, is all the visual components that represent the company. Both branding and identity must be covered with your business to be successful. The key is knowing how to appropriately handle both aspects with excellence. Creating the Identity An identity system usually follows the creation of a company logo. The logo is only a symbol, but color schemes and stylistic elements could set the tone for the overall brand identity. Building an identity involves developing a systematic visual personality around the logo, one that compliments the company’s brand image yet integrates with marketing practices. Many creative brands use their logo and identity to compliment their type of service or their product. Identity Style Guidelines in determining the stylistic approach include usage rules for typefaces, color palettes, size and resolution criteria, and more. But these must be clearly defined to orchestrate a graphic library having a cohesive look and message. Style guidelines typically are produced as printed or online PDF files. They represent the rulebook on identity graphic and generally include representations of the logo, templates, font lists and sizes, and other graphical elements packaged together to ensure the identity follows the brand and logo. Style guidelines can be very detailed rules on color schemes, geometries, ad layouts, logo placement, and a wide variety of aspect to control the final look on all materials. Digital Imaging This is really a broad concept covering electronic imaging, computer graphics, image processing, copying, photographs, website elements, and more. Anyone with a computer, scanner or camera, and basic photo-editing and drawing software can create or alter digital images. The key to remember about images is that they are the key to capturing people’s attention. Thus, if done right, they can have a lot of social impact. It’s important to treat every image carefully and to go to extra efforts to help them look professional. Amateur images often speak that you don’t care about your business. Modern program for professional graphic design artists, such as Photoshop, open up a world of creative possibility, but digital images whether online or from disk also involve the possibility of legal infringement or invasion of privacy. Imaging software can allow us to restore or add artistic touches to old photos, documents, and even classic works of art. Editing tools can remove scratches, restore fades to bright colors, increase lighting, and age original images to look like antiques. In most cases, this is a positive thing, as people all over the world can bring up photos from the past and restore them within a few minutes. Legalities But the capabilities of graphics programs, which have continued to evolve, also open up more possibilities for the unscrupulous. “Fixing” photos through air-brushing or other techniques have been a common practice for movie stars and models, but to do so without the knowledge and consent of the owner could be illegal. Scanners and digital cameras – now in most smart-phones and tablets – make capturing images easy. While “good” counterfeits are rare, anybody with rag paper, a camera, and a good color printer can make their own money. Given the millions of images that are saved and distributed in digital formats, it can seem like a sensible shortcut to copy and use just a few of the images out there. The laws on fair use state that only 5% of an original document may be reproduced without infringing on copyright, but that 5% can be difficult to determine in a digital format where it’s possible to change every pixel. Image searches are now common on the major search engines, so image theft is also getting easier to detect. The headlines of late have shown that unlawful use of video, audio, and images can lead to multi-million-dollar damage awards, so using protected images is not a risk you should take. Let Us Design For You Your business must have a great first impression. And ultimately, this first impression has to do with your “image” as a company through your website, logo, and brand design. We are used to helping local businesses in the Tulsa area. If you need web design or any other type of branding upgrade, please let us help you. Contact us today by calling our office in Tulsa at (918) 379-9400.