Developed by Brian Hanley, Master's of Engineering degree candidate at Lehigh University


How do we define branding? A brand isn’t a logo. It’s not a product, and it’s definitely not an identity.

According to Marty Neumeier, a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.

So why do we care? Why do brands matter? Well, the marketplace is flooded with myriad choices. Consumers tend to make choices and purchase products based on trust. We prefer Coca-Cola to RC Cola because we’re more trusting of the former. Brands, in general, should be predicated on trust.

The first step of branding is to encapsulate the essence of your brand.

“Who are you? What do you do? Why should I care” (Professor Marc de Vinck)? If you have trouble answering these questions, start from scratch.

The next step is to identify the visual elements (color, design, symbol, name, logotype) of your brand.

These elements are unspeakably important to how customers will respond emotionally to your company.

Brand names should be short, distinct, and easy to spell/remember.

Color affects emotional responses.

Use contrast.

Symbols serve as brand identifiers.

Logos are easily recognizable, graphic representations of your company. Make them simple and memorable.

Below, please find three examples of effective and three examples of ineffective branding. 

Effective branding 1) Subway – Vibrant colors signifying life and healthfulness combine with solid contrast and simplicity to complement Subway’s “eat fresh” slogan.


Effective branding 2) Horns – Clear, terse, and easy to spell, this boldfaced yellow font is fitting for a restaurant obsessed with friendly vibes and fresh ingredients.

Effective branding 3) Sands Casino – This sharp, masculine design captivates the feverish energy, risk, and excitement attached to Bethlehem’s premier gambling destination.

Ineffective branding 1) My Weekend Kitchen - In 2009, 74% of the top 50 brands designed logos with a single color. The logo below features four; it’s crowded, tacky, and chaotic. Keep it simple.
my weekend kitchen

Ineffective branding 2) The Foo Foo Shoppe - The logo below is targeting women, but it shouldn’t lead men astray. Men might too enjoy bubble baths. Gender-neutral colors prove far more versatile than the pink logotype below.
the foo foo shoppe

Ineffective branding 3) Artfully Elegant - Don’t claim elegance; prove it. The spiral design below isn’t stylish it’s distracting. The company name appears to be (S)artfully Elegant. This is a serious problem. Font styles should be clean, clear, and uniquely identifiable.
artfully elegant

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