09th September 2021

How we approach luxury brand design.

by Ed

Introduction.

Over the last 18 months, we have been working more and more in the luxury and premium brand world. Our design finesse and branding skills have meant we have been approached by superyacht companies Super Yachts Monaco and Harison Eidsgaard to create new websites, brand and create a subscription platform for Understanding Jewellery (unique jewellery and gemstone consultancy), and design and build a website for Adams & Butler a high-end travel agency that caters for Kanye and Kim West, amongst others. We’ve also produced video campaigns and motion graphics for the Annoushka jewellery brand, and the luxury perfumers Penhaligon’s.

Approaching luxury brand design differs from some of the creative or concept work we often undertake, as the brand is offering more than just a product or service. They embody a belief and standard that creates a unique relationship with their customers and makes them identify more closely with them. 

There are some key techniques to apply when creating a luxury or premium look…

 

Design Quality.

Firstly, the focus has to be on exceptional design finesse. This has to be a huge priority that can’t be compromised. Design plays the most important role in how we visually perceive brands, and the quality of the design is what differentiates a quality luxury brand from its competitors. The higher the price point customers or clients are paying, the more they will expect the best, which in turn is what the design needs to portray. Check out an example of a luxury property developer website we designed and built for Martin Building.

Elegant Typography.

The typography and its application are extremely important in conveying a premium message. Whether choosing a serif or san-serif font, the font weight should be lighter rather than too heavy, with elegant and neat forms. Pair two font styles in differing applications for a sense of finesse, for instance, a header font that has lower case letters included and a sub-header or supporting font that is all capitals. This could also apply to regular and italic font pairings, or serif and sans serif font pairings. Increasing the ledding of the letters when using capital letters is also a really effective way of creating a sleek aesthetic.

 

Size Matters.

Often luxury brands will use smaller font sizes compared to other industries or competitors. The design is more subtle and reassuringly confident, focusing on the quality of the brand and design finesse, without having to be too loud or bright to gain attention.

Just a Splash.

Similar to the smaller font size principle above, the same applies to colour. Traditionally luxury brands opt for a black and white colour palette or darker shades of a brand colour. However this isn’t a golden rule and colour can still be premium if used sparingly, with a minimal colour palette or an accent colour to support darker tones, but probably best to steer clear of the neon!

Minimal is Key.

The reason design looks premium is often because it is minimal and elegant. Keeping things simple in terms of design elements, creates awe of luxury. Cluttered, heavy, layered design, although very effective in certain environments, will not achieve a premium look.

 

White Space.

Utilising ‘white space’ effectively (space with no design elements in) will help the content breathe and focus in on the beautifully designed elements. Giving elements enough room is more pleasing to the eye and helps maintain the minimal and premium look. Look to use layout grids to create order within the space.

Refined Wordmark.

When creating a logo, often luxury brands opt for a ‘wordmark’ that is essentially an elegant font set beautifully with potentially a supporting icon. Working into the font to create distinct shapes or concepts is usually steered away from, as the font and its type set do itself become the logo. A branding example of creating an elegant word with a supporting icon can be seen here for Understanding Jewellery.

It Can Still Look Fun.

As long as the design style portrays confidence and quality, it doesn’t need to be sterile. For Super Yachts Monaco we partnered with artist Jason Brooks (HedKandi) to create a truly beautiful website. The key principles of luxury design are clearly present in the typography, colour, layout and minimalism, but to convey their unique ethos and laid back style, and to differentiate from all their competitors, we collaborated with Jason to bring bespoke illustrations to life on the website. Scenes of glamour and a luxury lifestyle are portrayed in a really elegant style, juxtaposed next to multimillion-dollar yacht portfolios. The result is a great balance of a super luxury product, and the good times it can bring.

Conclusions.

When designing for clients in the luxury sector we always think about the message we’d like our work to convey – after all, it’s not only about the product or service, it’s about buying into the brand itself. The design has to speak to customers on a personal level and highlight the exclusivity of the offering.

Opting for elegant minimalism is the best approach, yet steer away from appearing too basic. Premium brand design doesn’t have to be boring!

If you’re looking for a luxury brand design agency, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We’ll guide you every step of the way to ensure your brand appeals to your target market.


Interested in working with us? Call the KOTA studio on +44(0)20 3951 0562.

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