Thoughts on design language and branding

It is deemed important to consider the design language of the forms you
use for your product lines. After all, having a strong design language
works with your brand strategy in that your products instantly evoke
your brand. Your experience of the brand goes further than that, however.

Interacting with the product, it’s intuitiveness in approach, it’s
smooth transition between versions, all go towards creating a stronger
identity for your brand. Product interfaces need to be part of  your
design language too.

Let me take a software application for example, as there, it is harder
to depend upon the form of the product to create a sense of unity.
Windows is an excellent example of a strong design language of an
intangible product. I’ve been using Windows since 2.0 and I remember the
transitions, first to Win 3.1 and then the leap to Windows 95, 98, 2000,
NT4 and whatever is running my system now, XP Professional I think.
Other than the normal irritation of resistance to change on my desktop
(I’m a real estate hog) I *knew* how to use the interface to achieve my
ends with the minimal amount of learning curve time. On the other hand, let’s take my experience with MeetingMaker today. I used it every
single day at ID, and *assumed* I knew how to use it here at Method. I
didn’t. The interface had changed with versions, it was expected, there
was the "trendy we’re the new version" look but they’d also changed the
function button architecture so that the new hierarchy threw me for a loop.

Anyhoo, my point is that the Windows transition is an excellent example
of design language, it’s cohesiveness, not only across products in the
same version of Office, but also across time into the future. The
interface integrates backward to retain the brand language.

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