Order lays the foundation for being memorable. Only once you lay the foundation can you add an effective highlight. Once a designer establishes a base, every move away from that base calls attention to itself. Structure, consistency, and discipline might not sound sexy, but they make sexy possible.
Nearly every strong mark you’ll encounter adheres to an internal structure, a graphic motif. Memorable marks often play games with symmetry or pattern—either it’s all about circles or it’s all about squares; it’s all about what’s happening on the top, or it’s all about what’s happening on the bottom.
Structure brings restraint, order, rhythm, and comfort to a mark. Put care, time, and effort into the exactness of your drawing. There is beauty in the perfection of craft. It also establishes your playing field, making variation more noticeable.
Maintaining consistency is quite possibly the most difficult aspect of an identity program. But just as internal structure is important to the logo, so too is consistency of application crucial to the program.
If the same structured logo is applied haphazardly, it will be less identifiable. Nothing erodes design value like producing programs—packaging, merchandise, signage, environments, websites, etc.—without consideration to application consistency.
What is "On Brand"
Brands are promises, and keeping promises is all about being consistent. In many cases, the promise of a brand stems from the values of an organization’s founders. The idea of keeping the brand promise needs to become institutionalized and socialized throughout the organization.
But not only do the members of an organization need to understand the brand promise, essentially, so do its customers.
People who have no problem identifying a person when he or she is acting out of character often struggle to describe what is in character for the same person. Likewise, identifying brand inconsistency usually comes more easily than recognizing brand consistency. That’s why corporate missteps create such public relations nightmares.
Successful brands build a personality with consistent behavior. Decisions about what is appropriate—that is to say, “in character” or “on brand”—for advertising, promotions, products, websites, selling environments, etc., all have the power to build up or erode brand identity.