Building better brand identities
Written by
Jonathan Opp
April 14, 2013

On Thursday, April 25, AIGA Raleigh will present author and branding consultant Alina Wheeler speaking live at NC State University College of Design. Wheeler is the author of the book Designing Brand Identity.

Wheeler begins by asking these four key questions at the heart of the branding conversation: “Who are you? Who needs to know?  How will they find out? Why should they care?” The journey for any brand—and the leaders and teams that manage them—starts there.

While many people associate brand with logos and colors, modern branding dives much, much deeper: Creating emotional connections. Managing perceptions. Communicating purpose.

Whether or not we fully realize it, we’re often looking for clues in our brands. Is this product right for me? Does it match my values and the things I care about? What does this brand say about the decision I made in choosing it? That’s why brands are much more than logos. They’re sum totals of expression. Everything a customer sees, hears, touches, or feels becomes the brand. And the more brand managers and designers are aware of this and the tools they have available, the more complete, authentic experiences they can help create.

All of the little things matter. A typeface can tell a customer in an instant whether a brand is forward-looking or conservative, hip or dated. And whether or not its being true to itself. Small signals speak loudly.

This is why Alina Wheeler’s book has become such a vital resource for me.  It is one of my very favorite books on branding. I first discovered it in its 2nd edition while I was on the brand team at Red Hat. We were in the middle of a revision of our brand standards book, and the book couldn’t have found me at a better time.

Now in its outstanding 4th edition,  Designing Brand Identity continues to set the standard for exploring brand identities in-depth. It is every bit as essential to me in my work today at New Kind.

Nowhere else have I found such a comprehensive collection of all of the facets to consider when building a brand identity. Process. Personality. Touchpoints. And hundreds of examples for inspiration. If you’re involved or even simply interested in any aspect of building a brand, I couldn’t recommend it more highly.

I’ve also had the opportunity to hear Wheeler speak at an AIGA Design Conference in 2011. She shared her knowledge with a unique warmth and sincerity that I know you’ll all love.

This is why we invited Alina Wheeler to come to Raleigh. And we invite you to join us.





Hopscotch Design Festival started with a simple piece of design advice from writer and artist Austin Kleon: don’t break the chain. The idea is to start every day with a goal. Complete the goal, and a big, red “X” goes on your calendar. Day after day, complete the goal and don’t break the chain.
September 14, 2015
This summer, NC State Graphic Design student Allison Press has been working on a project devoted to challenging the fundamentals of her profession. A Designer Caught, a visual blog in which she posts almost daily, is a call-to-action for fellow designers to think and solve the world’s most challenging problems. Below Allison shares with us what led her to start this project and what impact she hopes the project will have.
August 30, 2015
Local Brews Local Branding! Featuring a different local triangle brewery every month that has some amazing beer and amazing branding! First up: Ponysaurus Brewing.
July 20, 2015
AIGA encourages thoughtful, responsible discourse. Please add comments judiciously, and refrain from maligning any individual, institution or body of work. Read our policy on commenting.
  • http://twitter.com/Quillor_ Tim Rosenberg

    Exactly what I’m looking for. Hope to see everyone there!  

Your browser is too old to view this site.

Do yourself a favor and upgrade it to the latest version.