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Role of a Communication Designer

The role of Communication Designers is to communicate. To do that you need to understand the full scope of what we are dealing with. There are three central components:

  1. Understanding the ‘Problem
    What is your mission? What is the assignment? Why are you being hired?
  2. Target Audience
    Who are you trying to communicate with/to? The more clearly you understand the needs, concerns, interests, etc. of who you are trying to reach, the better you can address them.
  3. Client
    Why are you being hired? What are the goals and objectives of your client? They are paying you to communicate on their behalf. Who are they and what are their priorities?

Design Programs and Branding

Design programs and branding are methods for getting your target audience to see a particular company, product or service as the only solution to a particular problem.

The Visual Part

The part of a company’s identity that is visual, is referred to as the visual identity. This is controlled by a plan that specifies the visual form that the company will use to present itself to the public: also known as a design program.

A Design Program

A design program may consist of a number of basic elements and a number of rules for their application. The most basic of elements are:

  • Trademarks
  • Typefaces
  • Color Scheme 
  • Messaging tone and voice
  • Sounds (music)
  • Smells (perfume)

The most common applications of a design program are:

  • Correspondence (stationery set)
  • Sales literature
  • Advertising
  • Products
  • Packaging
  • Vehicles
  • Signage
  • Shop fronts
  • Shop Interiors
  • Uniforms

Ultimately design programs strive to improve company performance and customer satisfaction. The goal is identification, telling who and how the company is or aspires to be.

The most dominant element in most design programs, and instrumental in branding are trademarks.


We will be focusing on the role of trademarks: also known as logos.

The function of a trademark is identification. Trademarks can do two things:

  1. They can denote companies or parts of companies.
  2. And they also denote products or groups of products.

This also helps to understand the distinction between an identity system vs. a brand. A brand is a product (or a class of products) and generally includes:

  • Trademark
  • Brand name
  • Reputation
  • And the atmosphere built up around it.

Brands: distinguish goods from those of other producers — create a valuable identity, which may allow the producer to charge more and sell more — a promise of quality to consumers

The goals of branding and those of a corporate design program are in principle the same; the distinction is that brand implies a product-related design program.

A trademark can provide identification in at least ten different ways:

  1. Uniquenessthis is us and not anybody else.’ Different from competitors and other companies.
  2. Value: high attention value is likely to be followed by good memory-retention
  3. Holding power: capture attention: double takes, illusions, puns, puzzles
  4. Description: explicit information about the company and it’s products
  5. Associations: relevant to the company or its product
  6. Tone of voice: elegant/bold/aggressive/subtle/humanistic/technical/natural/modern/exclusive…
  7. Graphic excellence: own artistic and symbolic value
  8. Reputation: of company or product
  9. Discretion: very subtle identification
  10. Repetition: recognition by repetition

A Summary of Branding

Read and View: What is Branding? Marty Neumeier explains to Chris Do. Read more here >>