What Makes a Good Branding: Lessons from Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv

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May 27, 2023

The branding landscape is a complex and challenging arena, where the most creative, innovative, and passionate thrive. But what does it take to create effective branding? To answer this, let’s look at the practices of my favorite design firm and great inspiration Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv (CGH), famed for their iconic logos and graphic identities.

Understanding the Brand

Fundamentally, good branding starts with a deep understanding of the brand itself. This echoes Haviv’s sentiment that a dream client is one who knows who they are​. Knowing your brand translates to understanding your mission, values, and unique selling proposition, enabling you to communicate them effectively. For instance, CGH’s design of the NBC peacock and the Mobile gasoline wordmark with the red “O” conveys the unique identity of these brands​.

Collaboration and Respect

Effective collaboration is another cornerstone of good branding. According to Haviv, mutual respect is crucial to collaboration​. It’s important to respect the views and ideas of everyone involved in the branding process. This helps foster an environment of creativity and innovation, leading to a branding result that truly reflects the brand’s identity.

A Focus on Ideas, Not Just Pretty Graphics

Design is about ideas, not just pretty graphics​. Good branding is about creating a design that communicates the essence of the brand. It’s about designing a logo or visual identity that tells a story, that resonates with people and that gives the brand a distinctive presence in the market.

Commitment to Excellence

As a designer, it’s crucial to be dedicated and committed to creating the best design possible​. In the words of Haviv, the work mantra is “Make it perfect”​. This commitment to excellence extends to all aspects of the branding process, from understanding the brand and its audience, to conceptualizing and executing the design.

Getting the Client On Board

Lastly, what sets a great designer apart from a good one is the ability to get the client to adopt the best design option​. It’s not enough to create a great design; it must also align with the client’s vision and needs. This entails effective communication, presenting your ideas convincingly, and showing how your design will help the brand achieve its goals.


Good branding, as exemplified by CGH, involves a deep understanding of the brand, effective collaboration, a focus on ideas, a commitment to excellence, and getting the client on board. It’s a complex process, but one that can deliver powerful results when done right. Remember, every brand has a story. As a designer, it’s your job to tell that story in the most compelling and effective way possible.

As a passionate designer, I cherish the opportunity to help brands unlock their full potential through effective and innovative design. I love the process of diving deep into understanding a brand, its mission, values, and the audience it serves. It’s like solving a puzzle, where every piece must fit perfectly to create a cohesive and engaging picture.

Your brand’s success is my mission.
Let’s create something memorable together!

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