Using Design As a Communication Tool

Written by Courtney Raguso, Social Media Content Creator

In order to stand out in today’s world, a brand has to be unique and recognizable. Part of what makes a strong brand identity is design. Effective design triggers an emotion with their audience and is used as a form of expression. It gives brands a face, credibility and quality. 

So what is branding? It’s a process that takes time to evolve and is essentially your promise to the customer. It’s made up of a set of elements that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors including design, sign, symbol, and words. Every brand is unique and is derived from the creator of that brand, representing who they are as a person, who they want to become and how they want to be perceived. Remember, people like to talk to people, not companies, and that’s what a good branding is. However, if you don’t first create a strong identity, you won’t be able to create meaningful design. You’ll first need to channel your business’s goals as well as do research on its target audience. You’ll also have to have a clear set of priorities and values because it’s what makes up your brand’s personality. This is all important to know because it affects the visual look of your brand. People are responsive to visuals and storytelling, so make sure to effectively integrate design into your marketing. Make it interesting but stay close to home and keep your identity consistent with who you are. Design is a strong way to communicate with your audience and can be used to sell, explain, evoke emotion or action, improve the look of things and possibly even change the world every once and a while. Design means nothing if you don’t pour meaning and purpose into it.

Once you have your identity figured out, now it’s time for your first, and biggest, step: your logo. When it comes to creating it, there’s a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. People might mistake it for a brand but it’s only one stage in the branding process. Your logo is where it all starts and is the most prominent element of your brand. It promotes brand awareness and is the symbol people will remember and recognize. It’s the foundation of effective marketing and is what enables that connection with your audience. There are generally three main types of logos. One being a wordmark like Coca Cola or Disney that specify the name of the brand. What makes each one unique is its typography and color palette to make it identifiable as that brand it is named. Pictorial logos are the second type, and they are logos like Apple or Target. They depict both the symbol and name of the brand, and are meant to be so recognizable that the mark alone instantly resonates. In fact, MSM DesignZ is another example of this! Abstract iconography is the third type that represents your business in an abstract way like Chase or the Nike swoosh. They tend to work really well because they are versatile and condense your brand into a single image. However, all these logos are nothing without strong meaning and purpose behind them. Take Nike as an example. It was nothing the day it was drawn, and the symbol wasn’t really resonating with consumers right away. No one really liked it at first but as they further associated the product with their value of athletic achievement, it became something much greater. That’s when the true brand Nike was born and became what it is today. Brands take time to evolve and grow, and they evolve visually too. Coca Cola has been around for over 130 years and the use of design has helped evolve the brand for as many years as it’s been around, while staying in touch with its heritage and history. Although logos are the first impression of your brand, when it comes to design, they aren’t the only form of visual representation you can use.

The visual elements of a brand go far beyond logo design and focus on all aspects of your brand, including your website, social media, emails, and typography. All of what makes your brand visually is design. Anything from business cards to advertisements, design is an excellent tool to use in marketing. As long as you stay consistent, people will be able to start to associate with your brand and recall it even if it’s not right in front of them. If you are working with a designer, you’ll want to provide them with the necessary information about your brand including it’s attributes and values. You might know your brand identity, but they’ll need your input in order to portray the right message for you. Designing a brand without this knowledge is like drawing a portrait from a photograph. In order to bring true life into a brand, it has to contain substance that resonates with your audience, and visuals are a great way to communicate that. To make a good impression, you will need to understand your audience and competition. Know where you stand and make proper adjustments along the way. By having a better understanding, you’ll be able to create an identity that will stand out from the rest. Although it does take time, it will still take less time than having to do the job over. When it comes to designing anything it’s helpful to know the 6 principles: balance, contrast, dominance, movement, scale, and unity. All these principles apply to design in practice and create an effective visual. When done right, they can really make a significant difference for your brand. It takes time and effort, but the benefits are worth it. 

At MSM DesignZ, we put in the time and energy needed for success, so you can ensure you are using every dollar for maximum return. With over 20 years in the business, we know a thing or two about design, just look at our name! We do the leg work and research needed, so you don’t have to. There are no short-cuts for success, so that’s why we’re here to make it easier for you!  We will always continue to place our clients’ needs at the heart of our operations. From web development to social media management, we’ll work directly with you to build a personalized strategy to not only retain but also gain business. We are assisting in all areas for our clients. Visit our contact page at, and we’ll work with you to devise a custom plan that will keep your brand alive and well. We look forward to working with you!