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Chris Johns
Brand Identity

Designing Brands as Operating Systems

In the digital age, the essence of brand design has changed radically. Instead of just creating visual identities or narratives, brands are now being conceptualized as holistic ecosystems or operating systems (OS). This new perspective on brand design requires a rethinking of the traditional processes. This article will delve into the transformation of brand design in the age of the “Brand OS.”

1. What is “Brands as an Operating System”?

Similar to how an OS supports and manages computer functions, brands, when thought of as operating systems, become platforms on which varied experiences and interactions are built. This means every touchpoint, from product to customer service, needs to be seamlessly integrated.

2. The Evolution of Brand Design

Previously, brand design was largely about creating a visual identity – a logo, a tagline, and some branding materials. Now, it’s about designing a cohesive ecosystem.

Integrated Design Thinking: It’s not just about a product or logo. Designers need to consider how different brand offerings connect, how they speak to each other, and how they make the user’s life more seamless.

User-Centric Approach: With the OS model, brands can’t be passive; they need to actively mold to individual users. This means designs must be adaptable and receptive to user feedback.

3. Building a Cohesive Experience

The OS model demands that brand touchpoints be in harmony.

Consistent Visual and Interactive Language: From app interfaces to physical products, there needs to be a consistent design language that communicates the brand’s core values and promise.

Intuitive Design: As brands expand their touchpoints, designers need to ensure that navigating through them is intuitive. This often involves understanding user behaviors and predicting needs

4. Challenges in Designing Brand OS

While designing a brand as an OS offers a rich user experience, it presents unique challenges: Maintaining Consistency: As brands expand and diversify, maintaining a consistent brand image and experience across all platforms becomes challenging. Data Sensitivity: Brands now interact with users across various platforms, collecting vast amounts of data. Designers must consider how to present data-related interactions transparently and ethically.

5. Future Directions in Brand Design

As the concept of brands as OS becomes more mainstream, brand design will further evolve:

Collaborative Design: Brands might collaborate with users or other brands to create shared ecosystems, requiring designers to think beyond traditional boundaries. Evolving Visual Representations: As brands turn into OS, traditional logos might not suffice. Brands might explore dynamic logos, adaptable interfaces, and more to represent their evolving nature.

In summary, the shift towards designing brands as operating systems calls for a more integrative, user-centric, and forward-thinking approach. It’s not just about aesthetics but about creating a holistic experience that’s woven into the very fabric of users’ daily lives. As brand designers, the challenge is exciting, but it also necessitates a broader understanding of technology, human behavior, and the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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