Relations of Branding and UI DesignRelations of Branding and UI Design Fresh post answering actual questions about design. This time it is focused on the role of branding elements in UI design and ways of their mutual support.
This issue of FAQ Design Platform in Tubik Blog is concentrated on the role of some visual elements of branding for creating efficient and high-quality user interface design. The answer is based on the thoughts we have provided for the question on Quora which you are always very welcome to read and where we are happy to share our ideas, knowledge, and experience.
So, the original Quora question we are answering today was the following.
Why is branding essential in the user interface?
Let’s start with clear definitions of the core term here to specify what will be meant behind it in the answer. So, branding, in general, is the set of marketing and psychological techniques and steps aiming at the promotion of a product, service, persona, etc. first of all via setting a brand.
Brand in this case means a sort of image created via a set of distinguishing features and promoting awareness and recognizability of the product or service on the market. This image can be created in tons of diverse ways which can be visual, verbal, touchable, etc.
In terms of graphic design assets, branding can be realized via a set of visual elements, the most widely used of which are:
- brand colors;
- typography: lettering as a part of the logo or full representation of the logo (wordmark); types and fonts used via digital as well as physical products representing the brand;
- graphic elements such as, for example, illustrations, design of letterheads, business cards, and other print assets;
- templates for corporate presentations, etc.
Interface for Ribbet project featuring logo lettering
In the discussed question covering the aspect of branding in UI design, branding supposedly means, first of all, a set of visual elements defining brand style which can be applied to the interfaces such as logo, typography, brand colors, and the like. All of them together are a powerful tool for creating visual recognizability of the product as well as its style. Being based on the analysis of target audience and marketing/ customer research, branding in this sense plays a vital role in product promotion as visual perception is very fast and easy for most people, much easier than reading the text and much more memorable than listening to speech.
Path 1: From branding to UI
Answering on the basis of the practical experience of work in UI/UX projects accomplished by studio team, we could confidently say that branding IS essential in a user interface, especially in case if you want to use the interface as the additional flow of user attraction as well as the way to increase brand awareness. If you take the time on proper marketing and user research, define your target audience, analyze competition and on the basis of all that data have branding elements, first of all, logo, created by a professional designer before launching the process of UI design, your product immediately gets higher chances of getting recognizable faster and easier.
The reason is simple: UI designer working on the interface, its color palette, shapes, types and fonts, illustrations and icons, will consider design solutions appropriate and corresponding to the general branding concept of the product that will make them mutually supporting each other. It provides a more natural and harmonic feeling of the brand in general and the particular interface as an integral part of this brand.
Providing you with practical examples giving real experience, we could mention case studies by Tubik Studio designers on branding and UI design process for the Saily App and Passfold. Working on branding style and then UI solutions for e-commerce and mobile application, studio designers understood how beneficial strong mutual support between branding and general interface design can be for the product and its further promotion. Practice proved that this strategy was completely right. Welcome to run through the details and graphics of the design process following the links below:
Both cases have proved that in brand positioning and promotion, using the concept of strong corporate style and applying the elements of branding such as logo, lettering and illustrations consistently was an effective strategy. It is important to remember that the user interface of an application or a website is not just a sort of static or moving image – it is the field of active interaction. Interaction with the product via the interface enhances much higher memorability potential of brand elements as well as a general stylistic concept.
Path 2: From UI to branding
One more important question to ask here on the basis of everything above mentioned is the following: is it possible to create an efficient UI design without particular branding elements designed beforehand? The answer is certainly positive. Yes, it’s possible and there are lots of examples. However, in this case, UI will not work on brand recognizability as effectively as if with branding elements included. These two different powers of attracting and engaging customers will somehow work separately, not supporting each other.
However, if UI is really amazing and the product is useful, in case it gets popular there can be a reverse process: UI itself becomes the strong element of branding due to its popularity and determines all the further solutions on branding design. For example, it happens that customers cannot afford the design of branding and UI design for a product simultaneously, let’s say when it is a startup with limited budgeting. Certainly, they will start with UI design and the general stylistic concept will be accomplished right in the process of interface creation out of thin air, not being based on previously made decisions about branding and promotion. If the product, being useful, usable, and well-designed, becomes popular and at the later stage its owners decide on creating particular graphic assets for branding, it is highly probable that this sort of solution will be based on already existing UI graphics as soon as it already represents the product and is the basis of brand awareness and brand image.
The concept of landing page forming a strong feeling of branding via graphic design solutions
There are also cases when general branding elements such as logo, corporate colors, fonts, and the like are totally different from the stylistic concept of UI for the product. It is sometimes done purposefully in a case when marketing strategy for some reason presupposes that there shouldn’t be the visual connection of brand image with the product and an application or a website should not be strongly associated with the brand in general. However, in cases when this kind of difference is not part of the well-thought-out strategy but just a lapse in general design and marketing process, it can have a really negative influence on promotion and conversion rates.
Here are some handy articles to continue plunging into the theme of web design and graphics for user experience.
Originally written for Tubik Blog