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Brand Identity Explained

billboards showing different company advertisements

Brand Identity Explained

What is Brand Identity?

The term “Brand Identity” refers to how you want your consumers to perceive your brand when they interact with it. It is essentially your company’s aesthetic and if you want it to work your benefit, you need to have a clear plan and strong principles to follow. Your professional image is extremely vital to the success of your business as it is pretty much your customer’s first point of contact when they consider doing business with you. In the professional word, appeareances are everything and can seriously make or break whether your company can last. Your product or service can be the highest quality available but that won’t matter if your brand image turns people away at first glance. As humans advance our attention spans seem to diminish, this means that you only have a very miniscule amount of time to grab a prospective client’s attention and convert them into a paying customer.

Good Brand Identity VS Bad Brand Identity


A strong brand identity shows your clients that you are confident in your business and your ability to keep them coming back and that you take your business seriously. Here is a perfect example : John makes absolutely delicious burgers at home that all his friends and family absolutely love (you will notice I use a lot of food analogies, this is no coincidence). He only uses the finest ingredients he can find to ensure his burger is the best tasting burger he can produce. John and all his loved ones think his burgers are good enough for him to make a living off of so john decides to go ahead and open a burger restaurant despite the fierce competition from other restaurants and fast food joints. After filing all that registration paperwork, John has his teenage nephew design him a quick logo for his new business. He also begins ordering generic baskets and unbranded paper and foil for serving the food in. He rents a space that has all the equipment needs however he doesn’t put any funds or effort into any décor because his burgers are so good they are going to sell them selves right? Lets fast forward a year, John is barely scraping by, he has a few local regulars but hardly any foot traffic even on nights and weekends when a restaurant should be at its busiest. 

Down the street the famous Mcburgertown chain has opened up a new franchise that has been packed since it first opened a few months ago. Poor John is now stuck wondering why so many people would rather flock over to the cheap fast food burgers than taste his juicy delicious hand crafted burgers. Can anyone guess why John’s business is in such poor shape even though his burgers taste better than Mcburgertown? If you guess poor brand identity you guessed correct! 

If your business was a person then your brand identity would be your public image. If your hair isn’t just right, or your outfit is wrinkled and dirty then you will not have the right amount of confidence to present yourself publicly. A successful brand is one that is appealing, consistent, and unified. Your brand identity should serve as a strict guide for how all branded materials and merchandise should look. That means business cards, logos, websites, advertisements, etc. should all utilize the same color schemes, typography, themes and so on. When your image is unified and consistent across the board it shows consumers that you take your business seriously. Now I’m not saying had john sacrificed the quality of his product to divert all his funds into branding that he would be able to have prevented a chain restaurant from popping up. However, if he had just put a little more effort into his brand identity he would be able to distinguish  himself and sit at the same table as Mcburgertown (so to speak) instead of just brushed off and never reaching his full potential. Never settle when it comes to your image, you will regret it in the long run.

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How Important Is Logo Design?

logo design sketches

How Important Is Logo Design?

Is A Logo Really That Important?

starbucks logo on cups

Yes, it is undoubtedly important. If you are a business owner you may be asking yourself, “Just how important is my logo to my success?” and chances are you are leaning one of two ways. You either underestimate the scope of how your logo will be utilized, or you are probably on the other end of the spectrum thinking “I’ll just use some online logo generator or hire a $5 “designer” off of a generic freelance marketplace”. If you have huge aspirations for your logo such as many fine details or colors, you may not be considering the efficiency of your logo. If you are leaning in the other direction and just looking for the quickest and cheapest service you can find, then you are overlooking a crucial step in ensuring your brand survives in a corporate setting. In this article I will discuss both of these mind-sets and how self destructive they can be to your brand identity as well as some important principals to think about when approaching your logo design project.

“My Logo Needs ALL THE THINGS”

Working on your business’s brand can be one of the most fun and exciting experiences a business owner can go through, whether they are starting their first company or their fifth. It can also be one of the most dreadful and headache ridden experiences if you get too excited and let yourself get out of hand. I often hear clients and colleagues discuss their vision and they tend to either obsesss with or completely over look minor detials. Something as simple as limiting the amount of colors you choose to use, or toning down the amount of details in the logo can seriously make or break your brand’s effectiveness. If you are discussing your vision with your designer and you notice that they start to recommend scaling back on some elements, try to keep an open mind and hear out their suggestions. It may seem like they are just trying to do less work while charging you full price for logo design, which is understandable (and in a sense is true, but on a more long term scale). It is more likely that the designer is making these recommendations based on your logos branding and marketing needs and is offering advice that could be cost effective for you in the long run. Your highly detailed multi-color logo may look nice on a flyer or a social media post, but what about when you try to get it embroidred on a shirt or hat?  Think about your industry and where your logo is going to need to go, if your logo needs to be implemented into something like an LED sign for your store it will be costly to incorporate so many colors and fine details. Branding and marketing materials such as these become extremly expensive when they have to account for so many variables and even then the logo may still need to be adjusted for certain vendors. This now results in more money out of your pocket and more work on your designer’s plate. Don’t be afraid of simplicity when it comes to your logo, there is strength in subtlety.

coca cola logo on machine

“Who cares what my logo looks like, my product / service should speak for itself”

nike logo on shoes
logo design sketches

You should always focus on cutting cost and maximizing profits in order for your business to thrive, but being cost effective does not always mean that you should go with the cheapest option possible. For example, you can go through a drive-thru and get a quick meal for $5 and it will do the job for the most part (heck, it might even be exactly what you were craving) but is it good fuel for your body? No, you wont get any nutritional value, your order is probably incorrect, and chances are you will just be hungry a lot sooner than if you had paid a little more for a professional chef to prepare one for you at a better quality restaurant. The same logic applies to graphic design. Yes, you can go on any freelance board or marketplace and hire the least costly designer or use a generic logo genertator, but you are not setting yourself up for professional success by doing so. Services like those seem appealing at first because their profile page on the the site where you found them is full of shiny vibrant examples that look beautiful and may even resemble slightly what you’ll receive, but your final product will still not thrive in a corporate enviornent (kind of like how burgers and fries look better in the commercial than they do when they come out of the wrapper). 

When you pay a designer you are paying for their time, thought process, attention to detail, expertise and much more. How much of that do you honestly think they are going to invest in a project that pays $5? Often times these low cost “designers” will give you exactly what you ask for without any consideration for your brands needs, and skip essential professional practices that would ensure your brand can hold it’s own in the corporate world. If it sounds too good to be true…well you know the rest. Your logo is essentialy the face of your business, and one of the first points of contact your customers have with it. Now I’m not saying go out there and find the most expensive and prestigious designer you can find either. Not settling for less does not mean you have to burn a hole in your wallet as there are plenty of fair priced designers and agencies out there. It is all just a matter of doing research and determining which designers are qualified to give your brand what it needs for a budget you can comfortably afford.

Hopefully this article shed some light on some of the practices and difficulties you may face when starting your brand identity journey. It is certainly an interesting process and it will teach you a lot about yourself and your business. Picking a great graphic designer that fits your needs and budget can be tedious, but your business and future self will thank you in the long run.

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