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  • Christina Rüter

How strict or flexible should a branding system be today?

Oatly plays with its brand elements and rules without breaking them.




What is needed today: a strict flexible Branding System?


👉 Oatly's Miniature Design.


The day before yesterday, I was searching in our agency's fridge for some milk and found myself staring at the current Oatly packaging.


"??? Is this a printing error? Of course not - it's Oatly!"


With a "loving" grin, I searched the side for an explanation. There, in the typical Oatly brand narrative, I'm told why the front has suddenly shrunk in print. A -somewhat- complicated explanation follows, which I've included in the comments.


How far should sensible BRAND GUIDELINES go, defining how to handle the visual codes of the brand?


In the #BrandManual, style, size, proportions, and the use of relevant brand codes are defined, sometimes even with "Dos & Don'ts", as mandatory.


Oatly also has a clearly defined brand system. The visual and verbal identity is uniquely designed and lived very consistently. Part of this is communicating BOLDLY and with HUMOR, using the #packaging as an interactive communication surface. Thus, this shrinkage of the front is within their "rulebook" of brand identity.


As part of a case study with the BrandTheChange.org community of brand strategists, which I belong to, we took a close look at Oatly's entire brand system.


👉 If you're interested - just let me know. Really exciting! 🤩


What matters today: flexible branding systems that aim for #recognition but allow the brand room for #creativity and #communication.


So, what needs to be defined in branding to protect the brand from losing its identity?


A brand design system encompasses several components that together make up the 👉 visual and 👉 verbal identity of the brand. These components, and their principles for application, include shapes, symbols, lines, letters, and patterns.


This means always the 👉 logo, the 👉 identity-forming and complementary typography, 👉colors, 👉visual styles, and 👉tonalities.


And since communication occurs across multiple digital (and analog) channels, flexibility in the rules is required.


✌ Thus, the brand breathes and lives and interacts within its codes.


So, WHY should the front design of the "milk" carton always be full-area?


What do you think of Oatly's brand language?

Does the shrinkage bother you?

How do you handle flexible branding systems?



LinkedIn Post: 23.03.2024 by Christina Rüter

















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