In case you missed the billboards, television, radio, print, online or direct mail advertising, there's a census going on! Many are growing tired of the $133-million campaign designed to increase survey return rates. It's a consistently branded message with high saturation, and for heavy media consumers, those messages can be hard to escape.
Those of us who work in higher ed, particularly in marketing communications, can experience similar saturation with our own brand messages. The same color palettes, the same typeface families, the same look on brochures and print collateral, the same Web design. Even if there is latitude in the brand's application among different audiences and demographics, the consistency of a well-managed brand can feel boring for those who live it every day.
For some, the temptation to revamp brand guidelines every 2-3 years can be great. But right around the time we want to abandon the design ship, that's when our outside audiences are just beginning to identify and recognize our look. This impact is magnified in Web site designs, where it takes time for users to grow accustomed to the placement and organization of links and content.
No, we shouldn't let our designs to become dull and dated. The key is to take a balanced approach in adding fresh elements while staying true to the core brand imagery. Sophisticated designers and strong creative directors can maintain this balance; we just need to keep reminding ourselves and our internal counterparts that we are not our own target audience.