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Brand Design is more than a good logo design. It is about branding trends and the question how to reach the success of brands like NIke or Coca-Cola. Read about Virgil Abloh and IKEA, Factor and Intergrand. Or wath the video Interview with Isabelle D. Lidström.

Speak it loud! iF Design Special: Branding

What's in a name? Shakespeare's Juliet certainly was not concerned about brands and companies, when she asked the sky. But today, in these much un-Shakespere-esque times, one still has to ask: What is a good name, a good brand? While people on the streets placard themselves in brands and names, making fashion designers and companies their style, as Louis Vuitton, Nike or Gucci, many companies are constantly working on redefining their corporate identities. Be that in terms of corporate design, logos, renaming, reorientieng, aggressive advertsing or defining new customer personas.

For our big iF Design Special Branding we asked experts and companies: What makes the big brands so succesful? What is actually good brand design? And what are the next big trends? What about Virtual Reality? Experts of studios like Frog Design, Demodern, Interbrand or Factor, give you some insight.

iF awarded brand designs 2019:

Corporate Identity_Branding_Airman_awarded

From comic icons to give the Korean Air Force a new face and attract more employees to natural soda branding or pet supplies and e-mobility startups: This year's awarded brand designs have their very own innovative, surprising and facetted handwriting.

Get inspired and view all 86 iF awarded designs in our Branding Collection.

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Branding: Top Design Studios 2015 - 2019

When it comes to innovative brand design, manufacturers and companies engage with design studios to achieve a fresh and new look of their brand and products. Below you can find a chart with the most successful design studios for brand design. The ranking is based on the number of iF awards in the past five years:

*20 points per iF award, 100 points per iF gold award.

Best Brand Design Studios per iF design awards - PlusX, Dongdao, Strichpunkt and more


“Good branding has to be flexible to achieve the highest effect!” Three Questions to Olaf Stein of Factor Design AG

“Good branding has to be flexible to achieve the highest effect!” Three Questions to Olaf Stein of Factor Design AG
“Good branding has to be flexible to achieve the highest effect!” Three Questions to Olaf Stein of Factor Design AG

In 1993, Olaf Stein co-founded Factor and specialized in branding projects. His work has been honored with numerous national and international awards, among them also iF DESIGN AWARDS. He is a member in the Type Directors Club New York and at Art Directors Club (ADC), in the donor circle of the council for shape. He also represents the German designer club as director in Hamburg. We talked to him about where branding stands now and where it is heading.

iF: What does „good branding“ mean nowadays?

Olaf Stein: Nowadays, good branding has to be flexible in its tools to achieve the highest effect in and on the smallest place. A current example is the state bank of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, which was successfully privatized and is now called the “Hamburg Commercial Bank. My team and I developed the brand design for it. Many brand elements and Icons are constantly moving in displays of the bank. Further, we incorporated an unusual color scheme to reach a higher impact and more differentiation.

iF: Everybody knows Coca Cola or Nike. How can young brands profit from good branding design, to reach a similar effect?

Olaf Stein: Young brands, especially those with few financial backups, need to focus radically! Concerning B2C I think the German beverage brand “Fritz-Cola” is a good example: At the beginning they focused on bars and restaurants only and reached an outstanding branding design through their distinctive black and white logo design. Today, they are legendary. The same goes for B2B: We did the branding for Metapaper. We had little means, so we decided on a radically simple but strong branding design. Metapaper is in it’s 8th year and is growing constantly.

iF: What is the next big thing in brand design?

Olaf Stein: The device of 5G and other technological developments will make brand design more and more flexible and moveable. Moving images and interactive elements will gain in importance – that is where brands currently have to be. With the improvements in automatic speech recognition, acoustic branding is getting more and more important. From a brand expert’s point of view this means: Operatively, there is still a clear distinction in moving images, brand design etc. This will change rapidly towards a wholesome view on brand design with all facets.

Augmented Brands: Virtual Showrooms and Digital Brand Experiences


Virtual Showrooms and Digital Brand Experience in Advertising for Companies like Audi virtual showroom

Virtual reality (VR) is growing in all different areas and industries. Architects use it as a tool to present their designs. For some companies, like AUDI AG, Digital Brand Experiences, where customers can take a look at newest car designs in 3D visualizations, is a fixed component of their communication strategy – and not just a vision for the future. For Demodern, a multi-award winning agency specialized in creative technologies, virtual reality is part of daily business.

They were honored by iF two times for their concepts: A virtual IKEA Showroom in 2017 and an iF gold award in 2018 for their 3D world for the Birdly flight simulator above the historic German city of Ulm. We talked exclusively to Alexander El-Meligi, Creative Director and Managing Partner of the Demodern office in Hamburg, about the present and future of VR and design.

Brand expert Alexander El-Meligi of Demodern in Hamburg talks about Virtual Showrooms and Digital Brand Experience
Modern users and customers want retail and product experiences beyond the shelfs.
Alexander El-Meligi, Demodern


Fashion-Product Collaborations: Off White’s Virgil Abloh will not “Keep Off” of IKEA

Off White Louis Vuiton Virgil Abloh collaborate with IKEA for Carpet Designs / IKEA Art Event 2019

„I wanted to take an ironical turn on interior: I wanted the living room to be treated like a white cube instead of a room, where you sit around!“ This statement by Off White’s Virgil Abloh is mainly the reason behind most collaborations with fashion designers: breaking the rules, changing perspectives – ironically!

Abloh and IKEA are collaborating for their much talked about collection of carpets, hitting the stores last month. However, fans of the designer, who is now the new men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton, did never have a real chance to buy them: The carpets, starting at 299 Euro, were sold-out in a minute, in pre-sale already. Owners of the carpet belong to an excluisive circle: To BUY the carpet, IKEA customers have to take part in a competition. Only those who win a ticket, have permission to buy one.

With his design, bold letters saying, for example, “Keep Off” on classical Persian carpet designs, Abloh challenges preconceptions of traditional interior and the clash of generations when it comes to the living space. “It is about today’s relationship of young people with interior and furniture. They OWN it. Nobody has to tell them HOW. It is a kind of artistic and sassy rebellion against every parent’s catch phrase: ‘do not break anything!’”

This is not the first fashion-non-fashion collaboration; one of the most recent examples is design icon Dieter Rams for handbag-manufacturer Tsatsas. What is so special about the collaboration of non-fashion brands with fashion designers or labels and the other way around? What role does it play for the brands?

Since IKEA is a master when it comes to collaborations, as can best be seen during their IKEA art events or also in earlier collections, we talked to iF juror and IKEA designer Wiebke Braasch about her turn on the fashion collabos: “At IKEA we are always curious in what is happening around us. That’s why we collaborate with many different partners in various areas like fashion, art, sound, play, sports etc. We invite specialists that are as curious as we are to learn from each other because we strongly believe that working together makes both us and our products better in the end."

Podcast: Interview with Isabelle D. Lidström of NINE about Packaging Design

For our iF podcast we talked to if design award juror and packaging designer and expert Isabelle D. Lidtsröm of NINE, Sweden, about her principles for good packaging designgs. She also takes a ok into the future and reveals her main trend forecasts in packaging design!

Design Studios: Branding

Want to find out more about Trends in your Industry? Scroll through our other iF Design Specials 2019: