Brand Optimism Part 3: Making Optimism Real

May 1, 2024

When you use a word dozens of times a day, it’s easy to forget what it means. So what is design? Design is a plan in the mind. It’s an intentional way of doing, making or shaping things. That’s why we say ‘doing something by design.’  

So design is innately optimistic. Design refuses to accept things as they are. Instead it’s a way of changing things for the better.

For better or worse being able to think of a different future is what makes humans human. We can imagine ‘better’. We dream and scheme. This is the inspiration for each and every designer – from graphic designers to product designers, from interior designers to UX designers.  

For brands design is where the rubber hits the road. It brings the brand’s internal beliefs into external reality. First and foremost brand designers decide what the product, business or service looks like. But they also decide how the brand feels, behaves and speaks.  

The purpose of brands is to help people make choices in the market. The purpose of brand design is to help people navigate those choices. And we choose first with our eyes, backed up by all the reputation-building piped in by advertising.  

Via our eyes brands use design to connect to our ideals - whether making life simpler, easier or better. Or promising pleasure. Either way it’s got to be optimistic. This is an essential tool for keeping brands competitive. Whoever opens a window into the brightest future is the most magnetic.  

By baking optimism into brands design can:

  • show an experience to look forward to – like Burger King.
  • dream of a future we’d like to live in – like Apple.
  • challenge the status quo – like Tony’s Chocolonely.
  • promise a product that adapts to every life – like Google.

Just as each new generation rejects the fashion of their parents. So each new generation of brands wants to make the old guard look out-of-touch. Whoever dreams, wins.

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