Branding by Benchmarks

The basic idea of this book is for you to be able in a simple step by step approach learn how to build a brand identity system. It takes the myth and mystery out of the branding process and replaces it with a good deal of straight forward common sense.

It is for clients to have the knowledge to control the creative design process, and for the graphic designer to empower them and their clients to produce creative solutions for communication problems.

Brand design is not about designers imposing themselves on their clients work but being simply a conduit by which clients’ communication problems are solved, hopefully with a bit of flair. 

I have been designing brand identities for over 40 years, and redesigned one of the world’s biggest brands, VISA. When people know my background, they immediately get their own business card out and want to know what I think of their own brand identity or logo. I turn the business card face down on my hand, so you normally have a blank back and ask them to describe what their brand is, what it stands for and how it operates. Once they have described this, I turn the card over and we both look at their brand. We both now have a means of judging what the brand aims to communicate and whether it actually achieves this. This means of looking or judging a visual brand identity is the basics of Benchmarks.


Brand identity as about communicating the message you want your organisation to communicate. Consciously, every organisation projects an image, and as a person comes into contact with your brand, it also sub-consciously is receiving more images about your organisation. When you visit an organisation you notice the sign above the door, the doorplate, the reception area, the way you are greeted, the pictures on the wall, even the coffee or teacup and what the quality of the drink is like, and how it was served. Every activity influences your perception of that organisation, whether you are an employee, client, visitor or potential business partner. Within a very short space of time, you have formed an impression. You have registered the image of the brand.

high quality
caring & sensitive

The brand identity of an organisation goes much deeper than surface appearance ; it is shaped by four elements.

1: The product and/ or service
2: The environment or offices
3: How the organisation operates
4: How it communicates its brand

traditional english
street cred

Visual branding is the process of creating a distinctive image for an organisation or product. It is making sure an organisation is communicating what it wants to communicate, and in its own way. An organisation will have its own uniqueness and message, and this needs to be visualised succinctly so it clearly communicates this and therefore stands out in its own arena of operation. The task of a brand designer is to understand the many complex facets of the client’s organisation and work with the aid of the Benchmarks to embody these qualities; which are the values the client wishes to project. 

The designer has to define and translate these Benchmarks into appropriate visual language and verbal imagery to give a 'face' to the organisation which is unique, and both recognisable and acceptable to the organisation’s clients, partners and peers.