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The Role of Design in Branding

Monday, June 05, 2017
By Saurav Roy

Saurav Roy
Design Director, Idea Spice Design

As a discipline, a process and as a tool, design today is helping shape the brands of tomorrow. Today as the modes of communication and engagement become fragmented and more complex everyday - good design is no longer an option - it is a necessity if you have to survive. A modern urban consumer in India today expects the world and if the global brands of tomorrow have to emerge from India, then design has to be a primary driving force in the organisation - regardless of the industry.

Branding today is an all pervasive word which we encounter everywhere. From a specialised discipline it has entered into our everyday vocabulary. A brand very simply is the unique space that a product or a service occupies in the consumers mind. It is a sum total of several levels and layers of communication and experiences across varying consumer touch points. A successful branding program involves various disciplines to come together and work in sync - from strategy to research to marketing.

Design plays an instrumental role in bringing the brand to life. The successful brands of the 21st century are all design led brands that focus an enormous amount of their energies on creating engaging experiences with their audience.  Whether they are product driven - like Apple or virtual like Facebook, design thinking and a keen understanding of their audience have propelled these and several similar brands to an exponential level.  
Design functions in three critical ways that contribute to a brands success:

As a process, design becomes the central DNA of the brand and the driving force that ensures all the moving parts work in sync and towards a common goal. As steve jobs famously put it “Design is not just how it looks and how it feels  design is also how it works”    

As a tool, design thinking today enables every layer of an organisation to think in a holistic manner and understand the larger impact of what they are creating. The successful brands of tomorrow are not just highly profitable but they also add enormous value to our society at large.

As a discipline, design enables brands to innovate. Needless to say we are living in the age of hyper innovation - If you’re not innovating today, you will be outdated. The graveyard of brands that remained static and failed to see beyond the horizon is only going to expand.

As we head into an exciting and uncharted course where paradigm shifting technologies are reshaping our future (think of the impact A.I. will have on every aspect of our life), design through these three functions - as a process, as a tool and as a discipline enables brands to fulfill their most basic function - remain human and  creates experiences for the brand to connect with its audience. Most importantly design.

The challenge that most brands face today is that we are living in an era of dramatic changes and upheavals. Almost all industries are facing tectonic shifts in the way they operate. For brands to be relevant today - they are need to constantly innovate and engage with their audience. Design is a powerful tool, process and discipline that can guide organisations to stay on top of their game.

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