What attracts you to a brand? Take the brand Apple, for example. People from all over the world are enticed and buy into this brand.
How does Apple control the gadget-tech world? My short answer - good design. After all, most designers have Apple everything, including me. What about Apple is good design and how can we learn from their visual choices to improve our design know-how and process?
Don’t overcomplicate, change one element like flipping a capitol letter backwards and stick to it or one object that has been abstracted and simplified.
Ever notice how Apple only uses one font? Each font weight has its own role to play; a light font weight in a large point size is for lifestyle messaging, regular is for body text areas and links, bold is for section titles. When in doubt, make headings twice the size of the sub text or body copy (Example: Title: 32pt, Body text: 16pt). If you have a lot of weights to choose from when using a font family, always skip a font weight when selecting fonts that are next to each other to create contrast.
Apple could portray their logo and brand name big and bold while screaming for attention, but they don’t! The use of subtle neutrals and having the logo small show restraint. Having control to not have large logos and over-the-top branding shows refinement and taste by being selective. Industry leading fashion brands practice this same method: Burberry, Chanel, Dior, Stuart Weitzman, Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton etc. Notice that all of these brands have similar websites by using the technique of restraint. Each utilizes natural colors, ample spacing between objects, white space, and imagery that speaks to the personality of the brand.
Apple’s branding positions itself to look effortless. The shapes of their products are sleek and simple and the packaging is a white box, but the material feels opulent.
The goal is design that ages gracefully. By creating a brand that encapsulates minimalism, it will stay current longer, especially if neutral colors are used because these colors never go out of style. This does not necessarily mean boring! The brand can speak for itself through imagery, its logo, and layout in the case of a website or print design. The less color that is applied to the site the better because when used it will draw attention. For example, a white and gray website that has a product image as the hero image, in bright brilliant colors, will say “look at me!”
Another key to good design is keeping in mind that the design is for someone else. This will create empathy and ultimately assist you to imagine client design solution and/or what the user needs. Taking yourself out of the process opens your mind to unbiased design that supports the client and their particular needs. Plus, when the client or user loves the design, you’ll feel like a rock star!
Go forth and create! Analyze, critique or change your branding/project to be timeless using simplicity and restraint. Less is more, as they say! Produce a vision, empathize with the user, create the design, and evolve, evolve, evolve. If you are not a designer, you can apply these to visual critiques or to yourself by having better taste both professionally and personally. Keep good design in mind!
View some of Americaneagle.com’s examples of good design:
https://www.discoveryclothing.com, built on idev
http://www.ctia.org, built on WordPress
http://www.soletrader.co.uk, built on idev
http://www.metlifestadium.com, built on Sitefinity
http://www.broadwayelectric.com, built on idev
http://www.kaufmancontainer.com, build on idev