6 ways my twin grandsons are analogous to visual branding

identical twins are similar to a visual brand

I have 15-month-old identical twin grandsons — Wes and Bowie. Sometimes I can tell them apart. Sometimes, I get so caught up in their adorableness that I do not know who I am playing with. Their personalities make them distinguishable, and if I am ever stuck, I can look for the teeny birthmark on Wes.

1. The “Who’s Who?” Test

Just as I sometimes struggle to tell the boys apart, consumers might struggle to differentiate between similar brands. Visual branding elements like consistent color schemes, logo placement, and typography act like the distinct personalities of the twins. For instance, Coca-Cola’s consistent use of red and its distinctive script logo make it instantly recognizable, much like how a twin’s unique laugh might help you identify them. Alternatively, many US airlines use red, white, and blue color schemes (American Airlines, Delta), and budget airlines often use bright colors (Spirit, Frontier).

2. The Birthmark Hunt

The tiny birthmark on Wes is analogous to subtle branding elements that create differentiation. This could be a specific pattern, a unique icon, or an image treatment in visual branding. For example, FedEx’s hidden arrow in its logo or Amazon’s “smile” underline are subtle yet distinctive elements that set these brands apart.

3. The Personality Parade

Moreover, like how Wes and Bowie are developing their distinct personalities, your brand’s visual elements should evolve to reflect its core values and personality. Whether Apple’s minimalist aesthetic or Patagonia’s earthy tones reflect environmental responsibility, these visual choices communicate deeper brand characteristics. Does your visual style scream, “That’s so Bowie!” or “We could be anyone’s generic cousin”?

4. The DNA Test

The twins’ shared DNA is like a brand’s core values and personality. For instance, the twins’ dad and grandfather were great soccer players, whereas their mom, dad, and grandma (me) are creatives. These traits might manifest in how the twins express themselves as they grow. 

Similarly, a brand like MAC Cosmetics, renowned for its inclusive beauty ethos, reflects this in its visual branding through vibrant imagery and diverse color palettes — it’s in their DNA!  (If you are interested in learning more about this, I recommend Build Better Brands by Understanding Your Client’s DNA: Desires, Needs, Aspirations, which will be presented by Reggie Holmes through my coaching community, Creatives Roundtable, on October 23rd).

5. The Chameleon Challenge

Adaptability is another crucial aspect. Just as Wes and Bowie are often dressed differently to be recognizable, your brand must adapt its visual identity across various platforms without losing its essence. Consider how Google tweaks its logo for different events while maintaining its recognizable design. I have a swirl in my logo, and it changes seasonally on my email signatures.

6. The Family Portrait

Lastly, consider your brand as a cohesive family unit. While individual products or sub-brands may have their own identities, they should still bear a clear family resemblance. Like the Addams Family — distinctively quirky individuals, yet unmistakably part of the same clan — your brand’s sub-brands should maintain a cohesive visual language while expressing their unique roles.

Mid-Year Check-Up

This six-month mark in the year is an excellent time for a thorough brand check-up. It ensures that your brand remains vibrant, adaptable, and memorable in the eyes of consumers. 

Just as I cherish the distinctiveness of Wes and Bowie, nurturing your brand’s visual identity ensures it stands out in a competitive market. You’ll maintain and elevate your brand’s relevance and impact by focusing on consistency, uniqueness, adaptability, alignment with core values, and differentiation from competitors. 

Remember, a well-maintained visual brand isn’t just about looking good — it’s about creating lasting impressions and fostering customer loyalty that drives long-term success.

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👋🏻 I’m Nancy, Principal Designer of Ruzow Graphics, coach for creative business owners, and adjunct professor of Typography

💥 I help non-profits, higher ed, and marketing teams with graphic design that connects the dots between your brand and your audience

👉🏻 Reach out if you need a design partner to bring magic to your marketing and development materials

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