Brand Fluidity: The Growing Faces of an Identity

Each brand is an experience; it’s a construct of how a company wants their audiences to perceive them, creating a story. Consistency helps a brand relay this story whilst ensuring it becomes identifiable and own-able. However, brands have to evolve, as being static or rigid restricts innovation, functionality and personality. To do this successfully, brands must find a way to evolve and retain their brand distinction. But to what extent? A rebrand, a sudden change? Or can a brand evolve continuously?

A brand’s make-up, such as its logo, colours, typefaces and tone of voice forms a distinction. Transformative identities, a trend becoming more prominent, break this consistency of identity by adapting the logo for each use.

A logo needs a parameter of flexibility, for instance, to be able to work in black and white, be adaptive to restricted spaces and lock-ups to sub brands. But some brands push this to a whole other level by adapting in every application.

This may not be the right solution for some, as it depends on the customer engagement with the brand, the applications and the aim of the project.

An adaptable logo, used consistently

City of Melbourne rebranded to reflect the city’s vibrancy and cultural diversity. This has then become an identifiable yet adaptable shape that City of Melbourne focuses its designs upon.

Does ‘anti-branding’ hinder the growth of brand recognition and loyalty?

Coined ‘anti-branding’, restaurant chain Byron pursued non-branding even further, with no consistent elements to their brand; no logo, no colour palette or font hierarchy. The designer, Ben Stott, said: “With nothing to say and nothing to show, my approach was to treat each restaurant as if it was the only one” which has made each restaurant a new experience for the customer.

With that being said, it’s a bold move to have no identifying features other than a name. Success is built from awareness, which is why it’s unusual for a brand to only present a name. The eclectic nature of the Byron designs has solely built the recognition. However, in recent years the company has struggled… which prompts the question: was anti-branding was the best direction for the brand to take?

The brand with no name

A less extreme example is Mastercard’s recent rebrand. The corporation has dropped its written name – purely identifying as a circular logomark. Being a staple household brand for over 50 years, the overlapping circles are known globally without the need for the qualifying name. However, designer Michael Bierut explained that the logomark will only be used in select applications rather than dropping the name completely. This suggests that a logo cannot survive in isolation as an abstract shape – no matter how iconic the brand.

ITV launches a creative project to push its brand

Another recent example of a brand pushing its form and recognition is ITV. A brave leap into a creative realm, somewhat similar to the thinking of Channel 2 and Channel 4’s playful iterations and deconstructions of their logos, ITV has challenged creatives to reimagine their logo for new idents, released in recent months. This completely throws out the rulebook. But why does it work? Because the audience is already in their brand realm: their channel.

Should brands strive to be more fluid in their appearance? The need to make a product or service experience-driven is increasingly influencing branding experts to question the rigidity and functionality of the classic brand structure.

Let’s talk branding

At DS.Emotion, we develop successful brands through careful direction coming from unified creative guidance. Take a look at our previous projects and get in touch to find out how we can help your brand can evolve.