min read

Beyond bling: How to create luxury branding that shines like diamonds

When you purchase a luxury product, you know you’re getting something high-end from the moment you start shopping. Whether it’s a Rolls-Royce, a Rolex, or a Roberto Cavalli, everything from the website design to product packaging tells you you’re in safe hands with the brand. And no, they don’t all have to begin with ‘R’, but it does help.

The truth is, there’s a refined set of principles that set apart the branding efforts behind some of the most luxury brands — and once you understand what makes a brand luxury, you’ll know how to position your own business to tap into this market.

Naturally, this won’t apply to every single enterprise. Some of the most successful brands out there focus on providing everyday goods for a mass audience — think Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, or Starbucks. But just as luxury sellers brand themselves as high-end, these companies call on branding principles that clearly communicate they’re meant for the mainstream consumer.

So, if you’re making your entry to the market or repositioning for a high-end audience, there are several aspects of luxury branding that you’ll want to emulate in your own collateral. Ultimately, it’s these elements that will get your products in front of the people likely to purchase them — and buy into your shiny new luxury brand.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some key luxury branding practices and how you can build an elevated brand identity that shines like a diamond.

One of our favourite logo projects was our collaboration with jewellery brand Aspen Factor. We curated a strong design identity for this luxury brand through its classic type mark, combining a delicate serifed font with the detail of a small four-point star over the ‘r’.

What is luxury branding?

Luxury branding is an approach that companies take to craft themselves a premium brand identity. This typically involves producing collateral to emphasise the quality, value, and exclusivity of their products or services.

Luxury branding seeks to evoke a sense of prestige and sophistication in customers, encouraging continued brand loyalty thanks to the feelings of desirability that buyers experience when interacting with luxury goods and services.

Common touchpoints in luxury branding

The luxury brand experience extends across all customer touchpoints. So, to brand your business as luxury, you need to ensure that each one presents a cohesive, professional image to your audience.

Some of the different factors to consider when branding as luxury include:

  • Product packaging — Luxurious and well-designed packaging communicates a sense of quality and attention to detail, enhancing the perceived value of your product. Depending on the industry, each type of luxury consumer will have preferences for the materials and methods used to distribute the products they purchase.

  • Advertising and marketing materials — Across print, digital and experiential marketing campaigns, luxury brands produce high-quality, professional collateral that promotes their brand, products and services. This reinforces a luxury brand image and creates aspirational appeal for the audience.

  • Physical stores and headquarters — The physical environment a consumer associates with your brand will affect its perceived luxuriousness, even if you don’t sell physical products. Your headquarters, flagship store or otherwise serves as your front of shop and should be aligned with your market position in terms of its environment and physical location.

  • Brand website and social media — A user-friendly and professional website contributes to your luxury brand image in the digital space, as well as your social media presence. Certain platforms and styles of content are more traditionally associated with luxury brands — like well-produced long-form videos or thought leadership articles.

  • Customer service — Customers typically expect quality customer service when interacting with luxury brands because of the higher costs associated. Personalised and attentive service will help contribute to the luxury brand identity and foster brand loyalty.

We deployed this luxury design best practice when designing for menswear brand Mosaic. This timeless, colourful brand identity leverages negative space alongside splashes of Mediterranean colour and an elegant typeface to invoke a sense of luxury.

What makes a brand luxury?

So far, we’ve discussed plenty about the definitions and channels that can be used to build a luxury brand identity. But what are the actual design elements that make a brand feel luxe in the eyes of the consumer?

Let’s take a look at some of the aspects you can incorporate into your branding to take it from low-frills to lavish.

1. Sophisticated colour palettes

What makes for an opulent colour scheme? This will vary with your brand — but generally speaking, a luxurious colour palette revolves around rich, deep hues such as burgundy, navy, gold, or charcoal, evoking refinement and sophistication. Alternatively, some brands, like Chanel or Balenciaga, opt for monochromatic schemes, creating a timeless, classical aesthetic that aligns with their luxury positioning.

2. Custom typography

One of the hallmarks of luxury branding is elegant, refined typography, so steer clear of the Comic Sans. Luxurious typography is characterised by custom-designed serif fonts with intricate details and fine lines, conveying a sense of craftsmanship and exclusivity. Brands like Hermès and Cartier do this exceptionally well, employing bespoke fonts for their logos and creating a unique typographic identity that complements their overall luxurious image.

3. Premium logo design

Luxurious logo design focuses on creating unique, symbolic logos with clean lines and subtle details. While it doesn’t happen overnight, having a strong logo helps to establish brands with premium visual identities. This is especially important in a domain like designer fashion, where it's your logo or wordmark that will appear proudly branded on the clothes, phone cases and handbags of your loyal customers. Think of the classic Louis Vuitton monogram, for instance.

4. High-end photography

You see luxe, ultra-upmarket brands market their products and services using low-res photography. And if they do, it’s usually an avant-garde creative choice that will trickle down to the mid-range before the financial year expires. Most of the time, brands use high-resolution, professionally shot images that show off the product’s craftsmanship or use cases in aspirational settings. Car ads are a notable example of this kind of ‘dream big’ marketing — Mercedes-Benz promo reels often depict the brand’s luxury cars navigating glamorous cityscapes or stunning scenic landscapes.

5. Strategic use of space

We’ve all noticed the trend of minimalism in high-end branding. While you still need to include some details in your collateral — say, your elegant logo or product name — you’ll do well to design with space in mind. Balanced layouts that incorporate negative space create an uncluttered and visually pleasing experience in luxurious design. Tiffany & Co.'s print materials often showcase clean designs with plenty of empty white space, emphasising the elegance of their products and reinforcing the brand’s high-end positioning. Sometimes, less really is more.

Jewels come in many radiant hues, but we kept it simple for precious stone investment platform Kimby. Inspired by the worlds of luxury goods and investment, we used neutral imagery, smooth type and a pop of electric blue. This instilled a sense of refinement into the platform while calling to mind the quintessential fintech UX of similar investment tools.

Build your luxury brand identity with Shoreditch Design

We all know the value of good value — but sometimes, you want to spoil yourself with a dose of luxury. If you’re looking to transform your brand into the expensive experience that it deserves to be, we can help. Our talented team of designers craft elegant branding for some of our most premium partners. And you could be the next.

Whether you have a vision in mind already or need us to draft your colours, typefaces and assets from scratch, we’re all ears. Browse through some of our other branding work or get in touch for a chat about your design needs.

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