Superheroes of “Digital First” branding
Superheroes of “Digital First” branding

Tom Windsor, Head of Design

Superheroes of “Digital First” branding

What is “digital first”

A digital first brand approach is a visual identity designed to adapt to the multiscreen, multi platform, multi audience, multi environment world we now live in... it's making your audience experience your brand look and feel in a consistent manner whether on a billboard, a connected TV or a smart watch.

This doesn't just mean scaling the logo, you may need to scale it down, but you may also need to think about the pixels and how the sharp edges of your logo might blur or break up on some displays. Or creating an optimised version of the logo to work better at smaller sizes so the edges are sharper. It's better to have an accessible, consistent brand that's seen and recognised by more people, than a logo that's peppered everywhere in the same way but unidentifiable on mobile.

 

A successful digital brand is one that survives and reacts to changes in tech.

 

In fact, there's quite a lot of elements of the visual brand and the brand tone of voice that impact how successful your brand is in the digital space. If you could rebrand with this in mind, then you could build a brand that is completely equipped to evolve to new technologies, screen sizes and spaces, making your brand reactive to the fast paced digital landscape.

 

Who are our heroes?

UX

Start with your users. Developing strong personas and user stories will tell you who your audience is, what they want and how they will experience your brand. A strong digital brand isn't just about adapting to screen sizes and technologies. Before you build a brand around tech, you need to know where your audience is, what they want and the best way to engage them.

Anchor your visual brand from a positioning that is rooted to your users, and you'll find that they get behind it and could even help evolve it for you. There’s nothing more engaging than a user-generated brand campaign on a platform like Instagram. 76% of users find content posted by other consumers to be more honest than brand content¹.

A successful digital brand is one that survives and reacts to changes in tech. For a visual brand to be flexible and responsive to the digital world we need tech to enable it. Below are a few favourites of ours that help us create strong adaptive digital first brands.

 

A graphic device needs to work great on screen.

 

Webfonts

Typography is a great opportunity to extend your brand identity. Brands are moving away from Helvetica and Arial and standard body fonts online and opting for more impactful, distinctive fonts because of the evolution of webfonts.

The choice and range of webfonts that are now available is a dream for digital designers. Gone are the days of choosing a primary and secondary font that are perfect for the brand and having a digital replacement that doesn't quite cut it, but will be 'fine' for screen.

Webfonts are also becoming more crafted to different screens and more customisable and flexible for the designer. Because of this digital designers are becoming more skilled in traditional typography techniques - what a fantastic thing that is, tech enabling traditional typographic principles for websites that need to be accessible.

 

SVG based graphics (graphic device)

There's no doubt that photography and how we handle photography online is getting better. The way we shoot photography for web is improving and becoming more thoughtful and responsive.

However, with the rise of brands taking the approach of evolving their visual brand by strengthening it with a graphic device, over a complete rebrand, the graphic device plays a much more important role in how a brand expresses itself online. Therefore a graphic device, like the other core components of a successful visual brand (logo, colour etc), needs to work great on screen. And vector based shapes and patterns is a trend in branding because of SVG support that enables vector shape handling online. One real benefit to a vector based visual language is that you can recreate it without exporting it as heavy, pixelated images. Another, more crucial, benefit is that the graphic device can be responsive and scale to different environments.

 

Motion can help to tell you more about the personality of a brand beyond what the visual identity is communicating.

 

Motion (microinteractions)

Microinteractions are becoming a new core expression of digital brands. Netflix and Google are great examples of how a brand can define a strong way to move that becomes recognisable to its audience. Motion can help to tell you more about the personality of a brand beyond what the visual identity is communicating. Whether a loader on an app 'pops and jumps sharply' or 'spins and bounces smoothly' can say more than colour or copy combined. It is also becoming an integral part of guiding the user through an interface. Motion, and in particular, micro-interactions are now a tool in good user experience giving feedback to the user on an interaction or guiding them through a user flow.

 

Copy

Digital designers are taking a more content-led design approach and “lorem Ipsum” is a thing of the past. That's because UX is more important than it’s ever been, but also because brands are investing in great copy and seeing the importance of a strong tone of voice and consistent, simple communication style. This is great for designers because copy is shorter and more impactful, typography is given more of a centre stage and we can design content and messaging, knowing how it will respond to different screen sizes. Also, copy has the ability to be responsive, changing in quantity and tone of voice, based on device and audience.

So those are our picks, but what are yours? We'd love to hear your challenges with your brand in the digital space or if you've got your own brand project to roll out, get in touch.

As your brand and technology partner, we’ll help you discover what’s possible.

We’ll make sure that the way we work is the right fit for your business, and we’ll ask the right questions to make sure you’re set up for success.

We can help build your brand through technology, email info@thetin.net

Sources:

¹ https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/infographic-how-millennials-and-baby-boomers-consume-user-generated-content-175307/



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