4 Common problems with translating brand identity into visual product design | Innerbrand
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Common problems with translating brand identity into visual product design

14/12/2010 by Roel Wessels

Many producers are trying to implement brand values and brand identity into their product design. Therefore, Visual Brand Language is definitely a hot topic. However, very little producers succeed in defining their brand’s design language. Most producers only have verbal descriptions but no idea of their design language.

Several different design perspectives and brand perspectives can be observed. The majority of producers still see design as a short-term selling argument only. These producers often use signature designers* who they believe to match their brand identity and the current market trend.

Outsourcing of visual translation

The producers often outsource the actual visual translation of their values and identity. This means that their important projects are actually interpreted and translated by a ‘stranger’ (the outside designer). When producers are asked why they leave this process to the designer, most producers say they have no other option. The producers believe they can´t do the visual translation themselves because they don´t know how to do it.

Communication problems

Producers therefore often receive finished designs that do not meet their expectations. Most of these designs need to be redone. The producers claim that this inefficient process is caused by communication problems. The producers and the designers do not communicate in way that creates an understanding between them. Problems like these can be expected if the producers brief the designers only using verbal descriptions. Some producers even blame the designers by saying that the designers aren’t asking the right questions.

Producers put their selves in the dark

Sometimes producers do not state their wishes clearly because they are afraid of constraining the designer’s creative process by telling too much what they want. The producers think they need to keep their distance from the creative translation process. By acting this way the producers put themselves in the ‘dark’.

Producers ACTUALLY want to be in control

The above is actually quite strange, given that producers usually hate the fact of being left in the dark during the translation process. Although they think they cannot help in the visual translation process, they want to know where things are heading. Most of producers force themselves in the design process loop by monitoring every step the designer takes.

Producers DO know what they want

Producers usually find themselves being capable of judging whether the delivered design communicates their brand values and identity. This must mean that producers DO know what they want the designer to deliver, otherwise they could not tell a design is wrong?


Producers do not know how to translate their brand values and brand identity into a design language. They believe a designer has to do this job. However, they often feel a designer does not understand their brand. Therefore producers force themselves to be in control. In fact, they actually DO know what they want visually. They want to know if that is what the designer will deliver.

* A signature designer is a designer who has a unique style of his own. Signature designers design according to their own style and design language. Examples of well-known signature designers: Philippe Starck, Marc Newson, Jan des Bouvrie.

seemingly contradictory


  • what I was looking for, thanks

    25/07/2010 @ 22:43
  • Salut! checkonetwo

    09/08/2010 @ 08:46

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