As we advance in an era of technology where more and more companies and products are entering the world of mobile applications, it is necessary to adapt and innovate on how to position branding in the digital world.
In this article, we will analyze a few good practices and examples of the correct use of branding in mobile applications. For additional tips on this topic, please see our other post: The power of good branding.
1. Color Application
Without a doubt, a color palette’s excellent choice in branding is an essential factor in the non-verbal communication of a brand. The choice of colors creates an impact, generates emotional connections with users, and transmits the values and essence of the brand. Also, color helps a user recognize and remember the brand more easily.
Applying a branding palette in mobile applications is a simple but effective way of communicating to the user what application they are on.
A decent example of color application is in the Microsoft suite. Each app has a color from the palette, and subtle touches of this color assist the UI. The UX’s proper use of color and this palette result in the family of applications seeing and feeling as something cohesive and united.
Images from App Store
Example: Microsoft Office Suite: Teams, Outlook, One Note, Word, Excel, etc
2. Great App Icon – Logo
The app icon is probably one of the most sensitive points regarding the design of a digital brand. Sometimes it is the brand logo, and sometimes it refers to a particular product within the brand. Other places within the app also use the app icon like the splash screen.
The app icon must transmit creatively and simply the essence of the application’s user experience. “What is it?” is the central question that we must ask ourselves as designers before delving into the design of the app icon.
Please note that the app icon is the first interaction that a user has with the application because it is the first thing they see in the search results before choosing to download the app.
If the app icon will be an existing logo, it is essential to verify that it complies with factors such as readability, composition, etc. Soon we will publish a post on “How to Design a Good App Icon.”
An excellent example of an app icon is Airbnb. On the one hand, it plays with the brand’s phonetics using the letter ‘A’ and complements it with a factor of the UX that is very important, the location of a host.
Image from App Store
3. Usage of Logo / Isotype
Has it happened to you that you come across projects where the client wants to place their logo everywhere? It has happened to me. A lot. In the world of mobile applications, we have a feeling of “infinite canvas,” and that often gives customers the idea that the canvas cannot be empty and should be filled or used as much as possible. The logo is an element (wrongly) commonly used for this.
It is essential to propose using Logos and Isotypes in creative ways without interfering with the User Experience of the application. Although it is not necessary to place the logo more than once for the user to have identified which application he/she is in, there are creative ways to implement its use further.
For example, apps like Target or McDonalds are both sales applications that take elements of the face-to-face experience to translate the logo into the digital experience. The graphics of bags, carts, packaging, catalogs, etc. are ways to keep the brand alive without the need to hinder the user experience.
Images from App Store and PlayStore
Example: Target App, McDonald’s
4. Graphic Consistency
Graphics and illustration styles in apps are another way to reaffirm branding. Illustrations and graphics must maintain a similar style according to the brand’s essence so that they can serve as graphic support for the application.
It is essential to take care of shapes, strokes, stroke styles, stroke weights, colors, compositions, backgrounds, and language.
With language, we refer to more complex attributes of graphics, what they want to communicate, and the simplicity with which they deliver the idea. For example, if we wanted to convey the concept of the word “WRITE” we can make it as simple or complex as we wish to, from a simple graphic of a pencil to a more complex graphic of an ink fountain pen with a scroll next to it. The language chosen is then applied everywhere, from utility icons to intricate illustrations.
We have two examples. First, the Khan Academy reaffirms the category icons with more personality by placing the primary color of the brand on them, thus maintaining a coherent composition and language in all of them.
The second example is the case of Duolingo. Its brand is more playful, lending itself to creating icons and graphics with different colors and shapes. But it maintains a language by using the same style of illustration faithful to the brand’s communication.
Images from App Store
Example: Khan Academy, Duolingo