Brand Design: Design Language
May 15, 2021  /    Chris Javier

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    [ This article is part of my Brand Design series “Where To Start When Designing A Brand” ]

    Design Language goes a long way in establishing the look and feel of your brand. Design subtleties play a big role in setting yourself apart from other brands and really solidifies a visual identity.

    One of the most comprehensive brand books I’ve come across online that has a strong design presence is this NIKE Football brand book.

    Great design language and styling consists of the following:

    Shapes & Angles

    When designs call for boxes or visual fields, adhering to a consistent style, shape and even angle can really bring consistency to your look. This site, for example, uses squares at a 45 degree angle. Any title, image or headline with a background, field or shape would adhere to the assigned angles and ensure design properties are consistent throughout all media. For example, you may often throw off design consistency using straight, pointed edges on the header of your website, but then use rounded-edge buttons on another section. These principles can also apply to your sub-styling such as icon style. Maintain brand conviction!


    How “heavy” does your brand feel design-wise? Fonts are heavily incorporated in providing your weighted look. Are you big and bold? Thin and fancy? A lot of sports brands utilize strong brand messaging which usually calls for something big and bold. Meanwhile, a hair salon might have a lighter, more feminine look requiring light, cursive, serif fonts. Your weight style will change the weight of your design within the spectrum of thick or thin.


    Think up of some words that describe your brand. Do you feel that your brand is gritty? Contemporary? Flat? Clean? Empathetic? Instill a feeling in your audience that matches all adjectives you envision and project that onto your brand. This obviously would include how you select colors, typography and logos, but consider your language style as well.

    Does your brand demand a more corporate outlook and culture, or do you want it to resonate with your audience on a more casual or playful level? Reflecting this onto how you speak to your audience when they read your copy gives you countless opportunity to delight and highlight your brand’s authenticity.

    There are tools such as this tone analyzer that can help assess your writing, whether it’s site copy, philosophy or mission, and gives you scores on what feelings it would invoke within your audience. It’s a great tool to inspire a more genuine message.

    Great design language can make the difference between a missed opportunity or sale. The more you can deeply connect with your audience, the higher a chance they’ll want to continue the conversation.

    > Continue To Brand Design: Logo

    Chris Javier
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