case study: branded design – the genetic code / part 1

The brand and “its body”

I often get asked how we develop retail design concepts for brands that need to retain their identity in multiple formats and locations. “What is your approach and process?” I’m asked.

The first part in the design process is finding the brand’s genetic code – the identity – so that we can build the design around it. Our task is to develop a “face” for a brand in the beauty and luxury industry. We then use the “face” of the brand to develop concepts for environments – concepts that can be translated into multiple retail formats, from small department store kiosks to full size retail stores.

Example: smashbox cosmetics was born in a photostudio. The esthetic of a studio set is the driving DNA behind the brand.Example: smashbox cosmetics was born in a photostudio. The esthetic of a studio set is the driving DNA behind the brand.

A brand’s DNA, the genetic code that created the brand, is what defines it and sets it apart. Often, this code has been altered or watered down over years of brand development. This comes naturally with management changes, brand extensions, and global expansion. If you dig hard you can usually trace the origins of the brand, which are the key elements that made it unique in its origin and eventually made it successful. To create an effective physical design to represent a brand, which can live independently of size and location, it must be close to that original DNA.

Think of it this way: the DNA code is in the brand, and the body is the physical retail space created by the brand’s code. The code is the smallest common building block that is embedded into any design expression. It becomes the common thread in all the design formulations to come.

The power of a brand is in its core message and we use it as the driving idea behind any aspect of the branded design.

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One thought on “case study: branded design – the genetic code / part 1

  1. marketing says:

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