Corporate identity & corporate design

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Corporate Identity: a company’s personality

Outstanding examples of work from the field of “Corporate Identity and Corporate Design” used by companies to present themselves to the public in an optimal way can be found on Red Dot 21. Corporate identity is a term used to describe the personality of a company, in other words, what constitutes the character of a company or organisation from both an internal and external point of view. This personality is the result of how the company sees itself, its company culture, its communications and its behaviour, as well as its visual appearance, that is to say, its corporate design. Ideally, all these elements combine harmoniously to create an overall picture so that the impression or the message that is conveyed is always the same, regardless of where and how people encounter the company. It shouldn’t matter whether these people are suppliers, employees or customers, whether they come across the corporate design in the company itself, at the point of sale, in print or digital media, or on the street. The corporate design’s cohesiveness ensures that an organisation or a company appears believable, likable and reliable. If a company is clear about how it sees itself, that’s already an important step closer to creating a distinct positioning. Once these foundations have been laid, the company can define its values, set up guidelines for communications and develop a corporate design together with the help of an agency or a communications designer, which transports all these features directly and indirectly in order to shape the company’s image in the long term. Corporate design covers all cross-media appearances and forms of representation, from the logo and collateral (e.g. annual reports, magazines, programmes, menus, catalogues, brochures or flyers) to its presentation in digital media as well as labelling and packaging, signage and guidance systems, salesrooms and trade fair stands. Even the company offices, its vehicle fleet or the clothes employees wear can form part of the corporate design.

What makes for good corporate design?

Outstanding corporate design is characterised by the fact that it translates the identity of a company into a consistent visual appearance. Every year, the members of the Red Dot Award: Communication Design jury look for work which manages to achieve this in the “Corporate Identity and Corporate Design” field. Projects that win a Red Dot stand out because they not only meet high aesthetic standards, but also have a high recognition factor. These are corporate designs that catch the eye of design experts because they are of a truly outstanding design quality. Not only that, they also appeal to the emotions of the viewer within a very short space of time and manage to call up an image in his or her mind’s eye of the company or organisation. At the same time, these corporate designs create an impression of familiarity or at least allow people to sense what they represent. These types of corporate design strengthen the profile of the company to create a clear distinction to its competitors. In order to achieve this, the designer tasked with developing the corporate design must know his customers inside out – their self-image, the competitors, the company’s future goals etc. Based on this, he or she can develop the visual appearance. This includes designing or reworking the logo, deciding on typeface and format, colour codes, layout grids, pictograms, acoustic signals and imagery. In an ideal scenario, the end-result is a corporate design that provides the company with an unmistakable appearance that conveys the company’s values in a believable way and contributes to its sense of identity both internally and externally. What is more, it should be usable on and adaptable to all channels.
Projects that were able to wow our jurors and won an award are recognisable by the Red Dot logo.