Intellectual Property

Kulish provides design primer on branding trends

Companies must take a lesson from the history of design if they want to excel in social media branding, says Toronto intellectual property lawyer Taras Kulish told a gathering of the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario (ILCO).

“The best brands are those that respect the KISS principles: Keep It Simple, Stupid,” says Kulish, a senior associate with Steinberg Title Hope & Israel LLP.

In his presentation, Kulish explained that the KISS acronym actually originates with the United States Navy, which developed the phrase to describe its design principles in the 1960s. He walked ILCO members through the history of branding, taking them back thousands of years, to a time when the brands of the day were ancient royal seals. One of the earliest known seals, a roaring lion representing a minister from the Kingdom of Judah, was discovered in 1904, and dated from the 8th Century B.C.

“These were the first types of mark,” Kulish says.

From there, he traced the evolution of trademarks through the centuries, stopping off at particularly important points, such as the Art Deco period and the influential Bauhaus school in Germany. The Nazi regime forced the school to close down in 1933, but its influence extended much further into the 20th Century and beyond, according to Kulish, after pioneering the idea of a “total” work of art encompassing all forms of art, including architecture.

Kulish explained that without Bauhaus, some of the most famous trademarks in the world would simply not exist, including marks and symbols belonging to Microsoft, Google, IBM and UPS.

Looking into the future, Kulish said that when it comes to social media brand design, there are several rules companies should follow drawing on the lessons of the past:

  • Create complementary profiles and covers: Consistency in branding breeds recognition and success;
  • Use watermarks consistently: Create guidelines for the size and placement of logos and icons with images;
  • Choose fonts and colours for effect: These are what primarily determine how people perceive brands on social media;
  • Design reusable templates: Cuts down on design time and maintains consistency;
  • Let the image do the talking: Take advantage of the fact that up to 90 per cent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual; and
  • The golden rule — KISS: Systems tend to work best when kept simple rather than complicated, and simplicity should be a key goal in design.

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