In industrial design, socalled “visual-brand language” (VBL) is a unique “alphabet” of design elements — such as shape, color, materials, finish, typography, and composition — which directly and subliminally communicate a company’s values and “personality” through compelling imagery and design style. This alphabet, properly designed, results in an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer. VBL is key in making authentic and convincing brand strategies that can be applied uniquely in all forms of communications to both employees and customers. Successful VBL creates a memorable experience for consumers, encouraging repeat business and boosting a company’s bottom line.
In one case, the new director of Siemens Industrial Design in the U.S. hired us as consultants for its health-care division. This was in the early 90s and the first thing the director talked about was VBL. The director was just hired away from Mercedes-Benz, where he had worked as a car designer. He used a slide projector to display the historical Mercedes- Benz vehicle line and said Siemens wants a similar VBL approach in the U.S. He said many Siemens health-care products have 25-year life spans and cost a half-million dollars. He wanted Siemens’ Industrial Design to be like Mercedes-Benz’s VBL so it wouldn’t look dated years before the big financial investments by hospitals has been paid off. Optic Lingo Inc.’s health-care designs for Siemens are still being use alongside newer technology at hospitals around the world. The Mercedes-Benz logo is trademarked by the famous three-point “star,” which is found on all its vehicles. It is said the logo symbolizes Daimler’s ambition of universal motorization — “on land, on water, and in the air.”
Thanks to its consistent strategy of both mechanical and VBL innovation, Mercedes- Benz holds a leading position in rankings of the world’s most-valuable brands. This is backed up by recent international studies, which confirm the special position held by Mercedes-Benz in no fewer than three categories — “most-valuable German brand,” “most-valuable global premium-car brand,” and “most-valuable global luxury brand.” Today, the Mercedes-Benz brand is synonymous with luxury. The easily recognizable emblem signifies superiority to other cars on the road. Besides the star, its grille design is a characteristic element that has been present in one form or another on all Mercedes cars for years.
A sneak peak at the future of Mercedes- Benz visual brand language is provided by the F800 concept vehicle, which is a technological showcase and design statement in one. Its external appearance is characterized by its long wheelbase, short body-shell overhangs, and sensually flowing roof line. The taut coupelike side view and the balanced proportions deliver a stylish, sporty appearance which takes the Mercedes-Benz VBL into the future.