10 Things Every Clothing Designer Needs to Know About Branding

Clothing Designer

1. Know thy customer

Who you’re selling to is just as important as what you’re selling. Knowing your customer isn’t only about choosing clothing labels, or deducing which neighborhood your apparel is mostly likely to move from. It’s more nuanced than that.

Knowing your customer means understanding your target demographic. It means being aware of what kind of music they are likely to favor, what kinds of foods they prefer, and even who their other favorite designers might be. It means understanding that they are more likely to own a pug than a poodle, or that they would rather sky dive than snorkel. The more you understand your customer, the better suited you will creating the perfect brand.

2. Make sure your logo is flexible

Think of the Google homepage when you think of flexible. A good logo should be recognizable even if everything but its basic shape is stripped away from it, and sometimes even with out its original shape. Imagine a Mac’s logo, an apple with a bite out of it. Now, imagine Picasso or Dalí painted it. It’s all skewed to one side, distorted, but not beyond recognition. That’s a good logo.

3. Create a Connection

This is a great example of how it benefits to know your customer. Connections are created in many different ways, but brand loyalty is built on a very real relationship that grows and changes based on your understanding of your customer.

Few retail items generate a more intimate bond than clothing, and if you want a customer to feel comfortable enough to bond and invest emotionally in your clothing brand, you have to offer them opportunities to feel that they are uniquely poised to understand the message your brand is sending.

4. Common images and symbols deserve a twist

A logo is an essential element of any brand, and sometimes the most obvious correlation between a brand’s name and its logo is the one that should be drawn.

Don’t resist using relatively easy to recognize symbols in a logo’s design.

5. Be legible

Unique, extreme, complicated, or hard to read fonts are not a good idea for brands and labels. Just like an unpronounceable brand name, a name that will prevent people from speaking it for fear of embarrassing themselves, and hard to read fonts make for unintelligible brand information; impossible to read, digest, and create a connection with.  When thinking of legible simplicity, think Chanel or Gucci. Short, sweet, and despite their European origins, easily pronounceable.

6. Consider the element of surprise

Subverting expectations can be the best way to elicit joy through surprise, and joy is exactly the thing your customers will want from their clothing. So use what you know about your customers, combine that with what they’ve come to expect from your slogans and advertisements, and then find one small element to subvert. You customers will relish in the joy of their brand loyalty because they are in on the joke, but also because making something new keeps it alive.

7. Keep it consistent

It may seem counterintuitive, or impossible, but it’s true. There’s always a way to maintain consistency within a brand while allowing for flexibility, surprise, and easy to recognize images. Keeping these things in mind may seem overwhelming, but in reality it’s surprisingly easy, and a surefire way to keep your designs in the public eye.

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