I think creatively, and I also love metaphors. Sometimes it’s difficult to communicate my ideas to others who don’t think like me, so often times I use metaphors to help explain my methods. Take for instance brand cohesiveness. Not everybody understands their brand, but everyone understands clothes; we wear them everyday. Let’s say you hire someone to purchase your outfits for you. You now have a new wardrobe to wear and play with to make interesting combinations, right? Well, if you know what you’re doing, maybe you can successfully mix and match the clothes someone else bought for you, if you’re creative enough. The problem is, sometimes people take creative freedoms that they should probably leave well enough alone. And here is my metaphor.
If you have a brand that you hired a designer to create, you need to understand the rules, guidelines, and suggestions that your brand was created to follow, otherwise you can potentially make you and your brand look foolish. Clothing is relatively easy compared to a brand; you’ve got shoes, tops, bottoms, and accessories to work with. But a brand can have a logo, business system, website, online marketplace, custom programed applications, social media outlets, merchandise, printed packaging, vehicle graphics, even clothing. If your fashion designer selects some formalwear and workout wear for you, and you take liberties matching your dress shoes with your athletic shorts, and you step outside for a stroll, you’ll probably get some dirty looks, laughs, maybe even a selfie. But if you muck-up your brand by, for example, posting cell-phone pics of your products in bad lighting next to your designer-selected/photographed professional product shots, your brand will start to diminish, and you will notice it by fewer sales, less calls, and possibly poor reviews. Another example might be if your content doesn’t match your visual style; say if your iconography looks clean and professional, but your content reads like a high-schooler wrote it, your readers may be a bit hesitant to give your business a chance. Remember, everything associated with your brand, whether written, photographed, designed or otherwise, makes up your brand identity and should not be taken lightly.
It can be scary and unforgiving in the world of businesses. It is important that you have professionals to back you up, give your brand structure and function. An experienced designer can give your brand a solid foundation, as well as provide you direction on how to best utilize it. Without branding standards and guidelines, your brand can get abused by your employees, or worse, yourself. In my professional opinion, if you have an expert designer at your disposal, and they have created a brand for you, or enhanced your brand with a cohesive structure, follow their advice. Listen to them, just as they have listened to all your suggestions and ideas, and incorporated all your goals and aspirations into your brand. You have to place your trust in their experience because that’s what you hired them for. And once you completely understand the purpose and function behind their design choices, only then would it be safe to take liberties with what they’ve created.
In the world of high fashion, clothing is an art. You don’t walk into an art gallery and paint over other artists’ work, do you? Please don’t. If you have chosen to allow someone else to produce a creative collection of items for you, take some time to understand their motives and motivations. It’s okay to have an opinion, and you’re opinion matters most because it’s your brand. When you follow the guidelines, you’ll be set to experience what it means to have a fully functional brand experience.
Creative Lead, LOJO