A strong, recognizable aesthetic is one of the most important decisions a company can make for their products. This is also true for a company’s marketing and documentation. Every major brand has a strong aesthetic, even if someone thinks it’s a bad aesthetic. For example, Loblaw’s No Name food brand features questionable, but effective, branding. Using visuals, they successfully let customers know that their product is an affordable generic brand.
Graphics and designs can drive content and increase readers’ intuitive understanding of the material. However, bad graphics can distract from and convolute the main message. Of course, design principles change over time to suit ever-changing sensibilities. Look at the examples below to see how brand images can evolve over time.
The above images can tell us two important things about branding design trends:
-The core design principles of brands generally stay the same once a design is agreed upon. For instance, we can see that Apple’s logo underwent a dramatic change in 1977, but has pretty much remained a variation of the iconic apple since then. We can also see that Pepsi changed their font significantly, but they have kept the same color scheme for over a century.
-There is a distinct movement towards minimalism. This shift is present not only in branding images, but also in documentation. Minimalist designs reduce clutter on the page, increases readability, and allows the page to “breathe.” For branding, minimalism allows people to quickly recognize brands. For manuals and websites, minimalism helps users process information more efficiently.
How we apply aesthetics is important for promoting a brand, but it remains important when delivering key information. Since there is more information for user guides than for brands, we need to take a different approach. Visual elements remain important, but minimalism is not a possibility outside of a wordless manual. For websites, presenting information in a reasonable, effective, and attractive way can be more challenging that presenting information in a user manual. Take, for example, the website below:
The design of the above website is very utilitarian, but not very attractive. There are a few problems we can very quickly notice:
At face value, the site seems to contain all the necessary information, but the absence of submenus and the illogical arrangement of the content could potentially slow users down. When asked to redesign this site for Canon, we took steps to improve the aesthetic appeal of the site and to direct the reader’s attention towards essential information. The dark gray menus stand out as the most striking element on the page. Each menu contains multiple submenus, allowing the users to quickly access the information they’re searching for. The revised site contains more appealing visuals and presents information in a logical way.
One of our designers, Jinwon Choi, simplifies it by saying “Content must be logically arranged by importance. The most important thing to remember when designing a layout is to emphasize the core content.” The above revision is a perfect example of why it’s important to take a holistic approach to design. Being able to recognize what a situation or product calls for is essential when designing a brand aesthetic or a manual. At Hansem EUG, our talented designers have the skills necessary to help you deliver information to your audience as effectively as possible. For more information on our design services, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org