Unit 10 – Brief 2: Authentic Visual Identity – Research: Identity, Authenticity, Rebranding & Processes

This post focuses on my initial background research for this project, it is the basic who, what, why, when, where, etc questions. Currently I have little knowledge on identity as well as knowing the difference between identity and branding. Hopefully by the end of this post I will have a greater understanding of the subject.

This post will be split up into many sections such as Identity, Authenticity, Rebranding, and the processes within creating an identity and rebranding a company/institution.


What is identity? I think the best way to understand what a term means, is to look at a dictionary and find out the different definitions.

Oxford Dictionary

Identity – Pronunciation: /ʌɪˈdɛntɪti/

noun (plural identities) – Definition of identity 

  • 1the fact of being who or what a person or thing is: he knows the identity of the bombers [mass noun]: she believes she is the victim of mistaken identity

  • the characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is: he wanted to develop a more distinctive Scottish Tory identity

  • [as modifier] (of an object) serving to establish who the holder, owner, or wearer is by bearing their name and often other details such as a signature or photograph: an identity card

  • 2a close similarity or affinity: an identity between the company’s own interests and those of the local community

  • 3 Mathematics (also identity operation) a transformation that leaves an object unchanged.

  • (also identity element) an element of a set which, if combined with another element by a specified binary operation, leaves that element unchanged.

  • 4 Mathematics the equality of two expressions for all values of the quantities expressed by letters, or an equation expressing this, e.g. (x + 1)2 = x2 + 2x + 1.

Oxford Dictionary

Brand – Pronunciation: /brand/

noun – Definition of brand

  • 1a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name: a new brand of soap powder
  • a brand name: the firm will market computer software under its own brand

    it takes a long time to build a brand
  • a particular identity or image regarded as an asset: you can still invent your own career, be your own brand
  • a particular type or kind of something: they entertained millions with their inimitable brand of comedy
  • 2an identifying mark burned on livestock or (especially in former times) criminals or slaves with a branding iron: the brand on a sheep identifies it as mine
  • archaic a branding iron.
  • a habit or quality that causes someone public shame or disgrace: the brand of Paula’s dipsomania
  • 3a piece of burning or smouldering wood: he took two burning brands from the fire
  • 4 literary a sword.


[with object]

  • 1mark with a branding iron: the seller had branded the animal with his grandfather’s name

    (as noun branding) regulations concerning the branding, movement, and sale of cattle
  • mark indelibly: an ointment that branded her with unsightly violet-coloured splotches

    figurative he had a look of unabashed power that only years of experience could brand on to a man’s face
  • mark out as having a particular bad or shameful quality: anyone who says anything bad about the country is branded as a traitor

    [with object and complement]: she was branded a liar

2assign a brand name to: (as adjective branded) cut-price branded goods

(as noun branding) the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design: what is missing in travel and tourism marketing is the heavy and effective branding used in other consumer industries

Identity vs Branding

Difference between Brand, Identity, Logo 

A logo is not your brand, nor is it your identity. Logo design, identity design and branding all have different roles, that together, form a perceived image for a business or product.

Brand –The perceived emotional corporate image as a whole.
Identity – The visual aspects that form part of the overall brand.
Logo – Identifies a business in its simplest form via the use of a mark or icon

One major role in the ‘brand’ or ‘corporate image’ of a company is its identity.

In most cases, identity design is based around the visual devices used within a company, usually assembled within a set of guidelines. These guidelines that make up an identity usually administer how the identity is applied throughout a variety of mediums, using approved colour palettes, fonts, layouts, measurements and so forth. These guidelines ensure that the identity of the company is kept coherent, which in turn, allows the brand as a whole, to be recognisable.

The identity or ‘image’ of a company is made up of many visual devices:

  • A Logo (The symbol of the entire identity & brand)
  • Stationery (Letterhead + business card + envelopes, etc.)
  • Marketing Collateral (Flyers, brochures, books, websites, etc.)
  • Products & Packaging (Products sold and the packaging in which they come in)
  • Apparel Design (Tangible clothing items that are worn by employees)
  • Signage (Interior & exterior design)
  • Messages & Actions (Messages conveyed via indirect or direct modes of communication)
  • Other Communication (Audio, smell, touch, etc.)
  • Anything visual that represents the business.

All of these things make up an identity and should support the brand as a whole. The logo however, is the corporate identity and brand all wrapped up into one identifiable mark. This mark is the avatar and symbol of the business as a whole.

Even though the terms Identity and Branding are used interchangeably it is clear that there is a solid difference between what they are and do.

Identity : The visual response to the company/institution values or story

Branding : The aims, values, narrative, ideas, the feel of the company/institution

What makes an Identity

An Identity can be seen as three parts:

Who creates Identities


Why is there a need for Identity

Establishes a difference between companies, people, institutions. The identity is the platform for expressing the brands views.

Where are Identities used

Everywhere a visual can be placed.

Visual Identity

  • The graphic system of logos, logotypes, typography, illustration and photography—and, often, rules for their application—that identifies a brand or organisation.
Brand Expression
Brand expression is the brand as defined and articulated by the organisation. This integrates brand strategy and brand identity to express a multi-sensory brand experience through a portfolio of brand signals. These signals manage consumer expectations by carrying and conveying meaning, making it easier for people both inside and outside the organisation to understand the brand’s core purpose.
Visual Identity – Examples

Bagel Street Cafe

Concept, Strategy, Brand Essence, Logo Development, Visual Identity, Packaging, Signage, Brand Manual

Art Director / Senior Designer

Identity Works

Link to Site 

Visual Identity – Guidelines 
Process of creating an Identity
David Airey‘s process
1. Design a Brief : Q & A Client on needs and wants
2. Research & Brainstorming : Current brand analysis, competitors, trends, products, services, history, future, service, etc.
3. Sketching: Idea generation
4. Rendering : Digital Detailing
5. Presentation to client
6. Finishing touches

A Simple View of the Creative Process Structure :

Gather :  Creative brief, research
Analyse :  Mind mapping and validation of information
Visualise :  Sketching, roughs and preliminary concepts
Gather :  Conversation and feedback on preliminary concepts
Analyse :  Validation of feedback/information
Visualise :  Refined concept (1)
Gather :  Conversation and feedback on refined concept (1)
Analyse :  Validation of feedback/information
Visualise :  Refined concept (2)
Gather :  Conversation and feedback on refined concept (2)
. . .
Repeat last 3 steps until solution is reached
Delivery :  Delivery of final files

Link to Site

2012 – Brand Conference – Link to Site

10 things to consider when creating a new visual brand identity

1. Make it coherent, not consistent.
A new logo is born useless. The media demands an approach that is instantly useful. Make your new logo useful. Create landscapes that can change and adapt. Information can and should fuel the design and pattern.A brand should be adaptive & coherent, not just consistent.

2. Do more than a logo.
The logo is dying so ask yourself how can you brand without badging?

3. Brand without badging
A rubber stamped logo is not a brand. Remember…

“A new logo should be a symbol of change, not a change of symbol.”
4. The big idea is not the big idea.
The big idea is not the big idea, but rather hundreds of ideas that form the brand. These ideas should be multi-channelled & multi-faceted.

5. Own moments
Find ownable moments that can be a spring point for the brand. eg. a color, season, taste, feature, etc.

6. Remove the fear
Branding is all fear & risk is attached to everything, but smart clients are those without the fear.

We are hired for our principles, so stick to them.
7. Weird works
Weird shit creates monopolies. Trust the risky weirdo called creativity.

8. Make it people-centric
We are not in design business but in the people business. Educated clients believe in coherent brand worlds. Winning companies are placing design at the heart of their business.

9. Create assets not costs
Design is often seen as a cost in the boardroom but it needs to be seen as an asset. The reason behind it being seen as a cost is that everyone considers themselves as a designer.

“No one trusts creativity because of the dolphin duvet.” (aka everyone is a designer, I chose this dolphin duvet cover for my home). The goal is to show that design is an asset.

10. Chase the opportunity.
Chase the opportunity, not the money. If you are doing interesting work and having fun, enough money will come.



Oxford Dictionary 

Pronunciation: /ɔːˈθɛntɪk/ – Definition of authentic

1 of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine:the letter is now accepted as an authentic document
made or done in the traditional or original way, or in a way that faithfully resembles an original:the restaurant serves authentic Italian mealsevery detail of the film was totally authentic
based on facts; accurate or reliable:an authentic depiction of the situation
(in existentialist philosophy) relating to or denoting an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposive, and responsible mode of human life.
2 Music (of a church mode) containing notes between the final (the principal note) and the note an octave higher. Compare with plagal.

Authenticity is King

The new conditions of brand success:

1. Deliver a kick-ass product.
2. Be honest.

You no longer need to “capture” your audience.




Oxford Dictionary

Pronunciation: /riːˈbrand/ – Definition of rebrand
[with object] (usually as noun rebranding)
change the corporate image of (a company or organization):
the company’s rebranding of its St Helens operation as Lancashire Travel

Rebranding Definition 

Rebranding is the creation of a new look and feel for an established product in order to differentiate the product from its competitors. Rebranding efforts may include a name change, new logo or packaging and updated marketing materials that includes the latest industry buzzwords. The goal of rebranding is to influence a customer’s perception about a product or service by revitalising the brand and making it seem more modern and relevant to the customer’s needs.

Itv have recently rebranded. Creative Review posted about this Here.

The project follows some major re-organisation at the network. “There have been big changes over here, staff wise and therefore approach wise,” ITV Creative’s head of creative Tony Pipes told CR in November last year when ITV announced the imminent rebranding project. “As well as myself coming over recently from Red Bee Media (where I was CD on the BBC one account), Neil Pitt (formerly W&K) has joined as new Head of Art and Design, and our new Exec Creative Director, Phil Lind has just joined from 4Creative,” he added.

“Our ambition is to turn ITV Creative into a respected, award-winning commercial agency, starting with our own on-air content.”

ITV Creative has worked with designer Matt Rudd of Rudd Studio and also type specialists Fontsmith on the new branding which includes a new ITV logo and corporate typeface.

Rebranding Microsoft – A personal project by Minimally Minimal

Another Rebrand Project – Full site here.


Choose a large corporation with existing branding assets, standards, and in-market products and reconceptualize its brand image. Focusing on that single brand and expanding upon all of its print, digital, and advertising medias, achieve goals of modernizing or generally improving upon the established brand.
For this project, I chose to tackle National Geographic. As one of the largest and most well-know nature/science/history/art publications, National Geographic is one of the most recognizable brands today. Based on competition and market research, I decided to focus on branding National Geographic as a more contemporary and image-driven brand which appeals to younger generations – the people that will ultimately be tasked with preserving our planet’s well-being.


  1. Why are we doing a rebrand?
  2. What problem are we attempting to solve?
  3. Has there been a change in the competitive landscape that is impacting our growth potential?
  4. Has our customer profile changed?
  5. Are we pigeonholed as something that we (and our customers) have outgrown?
  6. Does our brand tell the wrong (or outdated) story?
  7. What do we want to convey? To whom?
  8. Why should anyone care about our brand?
  9. Have we isolated exactly who should care about our brand?
  10. Have their needs, or the way they define them, changed?
  11. Are we asking our customer to care more about our brand — and what it means — than we do?
  12. Is our brand associated with something that is no longer meaningful?
  13. Is our brand out of step with the current needs and desires of our customers?
  14. Are we leading with our brand direction?
  15. Are we following with our brand direction?
  16. Is the goal of this rebrand a stepping stone (evolutionary) or a milestone (revolutionary) ?
  17. Will this solution work in 5, 10 and 15 years from now based on what we can anticipate?
  18. Have we assigned some committee to manage the project versus someone (or at most, two people) who is/are focused, inspired and can lead?
  19. If we were starting our business today, would this be the brand solution we would come up with?


Now I have a better knowledge of Identity, Re/Branding, Authentic and the process, I feel that the best way to start this project would be to analyse the current UAL identity, and perhaps answer the questions that are written above.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: