Visuals are a shortcut to brand identification

Letters to the Editor should be sent to Design Week, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX. Fax: 0171-970 4197. e-mail

Your recent editorial on branding (Comment, DW 28 November) raised some fundamental questions about the definitions of brands.

A brand is that which differentiates an entity from other similar, entities. Differences which are recognisable and consistent can form the basis of trust and loyalty (or the opposite) to the branded object. The potential for this relationship is the feature which makes brands currently so beloved by marketers.

The essence of a brand is contained in its total personality – its culture, values, attitudes and behaviour; what it feels like, as opposed to what it looks like.

Visual manifestations serve as a shortcut to brand identification and understanding – but remain communication veneers which can only enhance (or confuse) underlying brand qualities. Which is why it can be so dangerous to entrust the future of brands to graphic designers.

Bill Webb

Executive director

Institute of Retail & Distribution Management

London W4

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