Choose one brand that you think has one of the best visual identity systems. Show images of their identity system and analyse the visual identity of the brand.
A company I think has a particularly eloquent visual identity system is Australian brand, Aesop. Aesop was created in Melbourne in 1987 and is the definition of alchemy. Aesop employs skilled chemical scientists that source plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients to formulate skin, hair and body care products of the finest quality, with a strong focus on safety and efficacy. Aesop is a modern beauty brand that exhibits philosophical sensitivity and cultural intelligence to promote health, vitality and a holistic lifestyle. The Aesop website displays the beauty brand’s approach to non-gimmicky or commercial sales and instead declares, “we explore and support the arts as an avenue through which to inspire, learn and communicate”.
The name, Aesop, is synonymous with the Ancient Greek fabulist – as the founder, Dennis Paphitis, is a former philosophy student. Paphitis claims, “the clarity of thinking [of Aesop] and quality of his communication was inspiring to me”. Aesop tells a unique story focusing on environmental design, superiorly created products and poetic writing. Paphitis articulates that Aesop is a brand with soul. Aesop reliably exhibits truisms from great works of history on everything they produce (bottles, bags, boxes, store walls, press releases).
Image credit: Pinterest
“We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate.” – Henry Miller.
The Aesop logo itself is timeless – it has remained unchanged for the past 28 years and I believe it will continue to do so. The typeface used is contemporary and classic and oozes sophistication. The logo is both uniquely identifiable and easily recognisable. Aesop utilises primarily neutral colours throughout their branding – black, off-white, brown, beige and olive green, which reflects the mostly botanical origins of their products.
Aesop is unlike other beauty brands as it doesn’t position itself as either feminine or masculine. Aesop’s customers are intelligent, well-read and appreciate products in every detail (origin, effectiveness, packaging, store ambience).
Aesop is known for their “unselling” philosophy, so instead of focusing on advertising and pushing products that have made “best products” lists, their attention is on perfecting their products (which take years to formulate). Aesop knows that their customers have high skincare standards and understand that trust is hard to regain once lost. One particular vision Paphitis communicates which perfectly summarises both Aesop’s branding and marketing is, “It’s become politically incorrect to discuss good taste but actually this what Aesop does best. We aspire toward a certain quality, discretion and restraint in our work. These are qualities that are almost counter intuitive in a retail market desperate to cater to short attention spans and infinite choice“.
Minimalist packaging is created via brown pharmaceutical-style glass jars and aluminium tubes, for their light-blocking properties and to minimise the need for preservatives. The labels are two-tone (off-white and black) and use space, text and hierarchy to display the Aesop logo, product name, use and ingredients.
Image credit: Pinterest
As part of the visual identity, each Aesop store is unique and evokes a sensory experience. The stores reflect their surroundings by weaving the city’s essence into the store design and though each store is a different work of art, they are seamlessly connected through architectural design and sophistication. Paphitis believes that “there’s a direct correlation between interesting, captivating store spaces and customer traffic within a store“. Aesop endeavours for their worldwide products to connect locally.
Image credit: Pinterest
Overall, I think Aesop has positioned itself to reach it’s full potential and has a strong visual identity system. The logo, colours, textures, packaging, architectural design and philosophy all have a uniform approach to extraordinarily connect the brand to it’s target market.
- Burns, J 2002, Pure vision, viewed 16 August 2015, http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/09/21/1032055000008.html
- Fairs, M 2012, I was horrified at the thought of a soulless chain – Aesop founder, viewed 19 August 2015, http://www.dezeen.com/2012/12/10/dennis-paphitis-aesop-interview/
- Haldemann, A 2015, The beauty of Aesop: A story of un-branding, viewed 18 August 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-alexander-haldemann/the-beauty-of-aesop-a-sto_b_6598486.html?ir=Australia
- Holloway, M 2008, Aesop tells tale in unique way, viewed 18 August 2015, http://www.scmp.com/article/627061/aesop-tells-tale-unique-way
- Kuehlwein, J 2012, Aesop – Fabled brand, fabulous marketing, viewed 18 August 2015, https://masstoclass.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/aesop-fabled-brand-fabulous-marketing/
- Wells, R 2012, The man behind the Aesop brand, viewed 17 August 2015, http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/entrepreneur/the-man-behind-the-aesop-brand-20120222-1tntu.html