Oct 29 2023
#920 Don’t be a Rotten Apple
When asked about their branding style, I often hear business owners say they "want to look like Apple." They admire the clean, sleek design. They imagine their brand will seem modern, authentic, high-tech, hip, cool and smart if they incorporate some of the same style elements into their brand. But it is usually a bad idea.
Don't get me wrong, I love Apple's branding for Apple. It just rarely works out for other brands. Why?
Business owners won't walk the talk.
Apple styling requires lots of white space in your design. The clean, minimal effect is created by using color sparingly and keeping fonts to one or two styles.
The Apple brand is stark, and most business owners can't resist the urge to clutter the designs. When faced with their brand in Apple style, they ask for more text, maybe a cute piece of clip art or a stock photo. The result is visually confusing.
Not every brand should look like Apple.
It's okay if you don't look like Apple. One of the cool things about the world of branding is the diversity of different brand personalities. If you are a friendly, low-tech brand, Apple styling isn't right for you.
There isn't anything warm or welcoming about the Apple brand. The hip, cool, and somewhat aloof styling is aspirational and isn't for everyone. A good example of rotten Apple branding is J..C Penney. For more than 100 years, middle-aged middle Americans turned to J.C. Penney for clothes, appliances and home goods.
The brand offered durable, good quality items at a reasonable price. When they tried re-branding and transforming their stores into showcases with a light, airy, upscale feel it felt wrong. The stores were lovely, but empty and their core customers didn't feel welcome. The new target audience never believed the branding shift and didn't come.
Trying to use Apple styling when it really isn't you is like trying to wear someone else's shoes. They may look good, but they will never feel exactly right. Instead of trying to be an Apple clone, figure out the core values of your brand and with a designer who can bring that brand to life.