Red&White is at a pivotal point in its development, with big plans for the coming year. This is my first job after graduating from Oxford studying Geography, and I’m excited to be joining at a time where so much change is happening. At Red&White, my time is split between brand strategy and business development. As a newcomer into the branding industry, I’m going to share some of things which have struck me most in the two months I’ve been at Red&White.
Businesses have logos, names and mission statements in order to let us know what they do, how they do it and why they do it. These are chosen specifically to express particular aspirations and services of the business. However somewhere between expressing what they stand for and their actual interactions with consumers, business’ brands can get very confusing and tangled.
As a result, my thinking about businesses has changed considerably. I now approach each business with the knowledge that it possesses its own personality, much like a family unit. When a couple decide to start a family, they might have a few strong beliefs they wish to instil into their children and household. And just like our own families, these idyllic notions of ‘family’ found on the About Us page are soon usurped by dysfunction and peculiarity. Life happens: bills need paying, house chores are divvied up unfairly, there’s occasional scrutiny from the in-laws. The way this family deals with these circumstances establishes unvoiced paradigms which often become more entrenched than formally stated beliefs. It’s exactly the same for businesses and why they need good brand architecture.
This is where Red&White come in, straddling aspects of consultancy and creative design to help companies understand and articulate their individual brand. In our strategy sessions with our clients, I love moving from ambiguous sentiments into structured and robust brand models and visual identity systems. Sometimes this means being an impartial arbiter for the client, where we prod problem areas to find out what’s really wrong, and how this can be rectified using strategy and clear design. A few weeks ago I naively asked a designer how she differentiated design and art. She said good design sought to solve problems, and this explanation highlighted the affinity between design and strategy for me. You can actually see this trend across the industry, with branding agencies partnering with consultancy firms.
Overall, I have been most struck by the fact that if a business cannot adequately distil its essence and purpose of existence, the entire business, from employee morale and consumer interactions, are at risk.