July 2, 2004

In today’s switched on multi-platform world, brands have to stay ahead to maintain their place. Visual simplicity for brand identities is gaining traction, with more brands stripping their image back to basics.

Is the minimal aesthetic a style all brands should adopt?

Simple, well-established brands, promote honesty and offer broader appeal. Simplifying your identity is a sign of transparency, so wipe off the make-up, loosen your tie and strip your brand of distractions to expose your core.

Simplified design for better brand image

In the 90s, bevels and drop-shadows were all the rage; the style was exciting because it was new. Entitled ‘You Took My Name’ an artist has simplified global brands to be recognisable even without their names.


Once a brand’s meaning is established, its name can be simplified – staking its claim in consumer awareness.

A brand is like a mate, the better you know your mate, the shorter the nickname you give them.

In 1990, Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to its commonly used nickname KFC. Although officially known as McDonald’s, the fast food giant embraced the nickname ‘Macca’s’ in its campaigns, enticing people to fall in love with them all over again.

FedEx started life as Federal Express, but after realising people regularly referred to them as FedEx, they embraced their new nickname and created an iconic logo to go with it.

Maybe it’s time that you took a look at your style guides, brushed up on your brand book and showed your customers who you really are.

Alex Merlino is Art Director at Mustard | a creative agency.