Identity is often—and incorrectly—used interchangeably with the terms brand or branding. Brand is the overall image that a company or entity makes across all touchpoints, from one-on-one communications to television, print, product, or social media. Identity is the visual translation of the brand into many forms, including the logo, of course, but also encompassing such elements as business cards and stationery, websites, signage, uniforms, fleet graphics, brochures, and package design.
In environmental and experiential graphic design, identity takes the form of visual communications and interactions in the built environment. These can include signage, interpretive graphics, three-dimensional logos, multimedia installations, exhibits, wayfinding systems, and even art. These elements can enhance the brands of corporations, organizations, and even public-sector clients by adding to the visual vocabularies (identities) they build and use. Identity supports brand by enriching the user experience through visual and multi-sensory means—a visual and experiential “shorthand” that connects users with brand attributes.
Brand design is an integrated discipline often expressed through identity. In environmental and experiential graphic design—and both in the physical and digital worlds—identity is essential to communicating the uniqueness of a place or space. It provides a clear and compelling sense of “You are Here” in a visually chaotic world.
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