The Saturation of Material and Print Technologies in Branding

Posted: September 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Articles | 1 Comment »

The Saturation of Material and Print Technologies in Branding by Richard Baird

As a former writer for the The Dieline, current editor of BP&O and having written for Brand New, I’ve witnessed daily the cyclical nature of design. While often perceived as trends, the emergence, saturation and resurgence of particular ‘design tools’ are often great opportunities to leverage established consumer perceptions without the expense of education, to deliver clear and concise communication within the context of brand identity design.

Established over a long history of human communication, drawing equally from our technological present (efficiency, quality, pragmatism), our archaic past (heritage, tradition, craft) and everything in-between, these design tools can reach very specific or broad groups of people through long and sustained periods of exposure or significant short term impact. These tools feel familiar and can be remixed, cross-pollinated and compounded by the most capable designers across a range of touch points to appear fresh, whilst retaining their communicative value. Unfortunately, like any good tool, in unskilled hands these can be used in a way that undermines their value to other designers and potentially confusing consumers.

This article focuses primarily on material choice and print finish as two groups of design tools (which also include the current fascination designers have with stamps, stickers, embossers, edge painted detail and the letterpress) but it is a discussion that I believe extends to all manner of design techniques and approaches both in print (especially packaging) and online.

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