The Trade Dress
LAB Design is a brand identity design studio. In co-creating your brand’s aesthetic, voice and overall impact on its audience, we seek to bring intention to every interaction. Read our take on the importance of a strong brand identity.
Branding goes beyond the retail industry; the benefits of a strong brand identity far exceed the narrow interpretations of previous ages. By way of definition, brand identity encapsulates the visual elements unique to an organisation or product, which may include any one or more of the following: symbolic imagery, stylistic treatment of name, colour, typographic specifications and any other accessory visual elements designed to prompt association. Sometimes also referred to as ‘trade dress’, or ‘visual identity’, “brand identity fuels recognition, amplifies differentiation, and makes big ideas and meaning accessible” (Wheeler, 2018, p.4). Thus, a visual identity is the interface that across all touchpoints delivers the brand promise.
For the global mobility platform Uber, the brand vision lies within a set of ideals: safety, accessibility, and global ambitions. The 2018 rebrand project, led by design agency Wolff Olins, forced a positive shift in the brand—from a Silicon Valley start-up to an international outlook, from growth-focused to people-focused. Uber’s brand identity, described as ‘beyond-simple’, as complex as it may seem, is based on three key elements: the bespoke typeface ‘Uber Move’, the ‘U-frame’ composition that features throughout all brand communications, and the Safety Blue addition to the colour palette, which complements the overall narrative of care and connection.
To flourish, a brand must be continuously nurtured, supported, and vigilantly guarded (Knapp, 2000). It is crucial that all internal employees and creative partners follow the brand vision diligently, be it with content creation or physical communication. Brand guidelines, also referred to as brand standards, serve a vital role in brand management—Andrys (2015) described it as “an owner’s manual on how to use a brand.” It highlights the brand values and overall strategic direction, sets out detailed instructions and rules on a brand identity and all its elements and presents templates and a showcase of brand collaterals for ease of reference.