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Using Familiarity to Build Your Brand

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There are certain logos, graphics and photos that are stapled into our brains.  For one reason or another, these familiar images are associated with a specific aspect of our lives; history, intrigue, power, greatness, astonishment, the list goes on and on.  The familiarity of these images (with a little creativity and the help from Photoshop and Illustrator) can work wonders for your brand as well.


As much as we want to say that everything we do as graphic designers is 100 percent original, the fact is…that would be 100 percent false, which is OK.  We aren’t the only ones stealing ideas from the past.  Look at the film industry for example.  How many movies have there been in the last 20 years alone based on World War II.  Saving Private Ryan wasn’t the first and definitely won’t be the last on the subject either.

This doesn’t adhere to just real-life events either.  After the amazing adaptation of Sin City there was The Spirit.  Then we were blessed with the terrific cinematography in 300, which was reason we watched Immortals, and those movies were all based on graphic novels.

Earlier this year, we even saw a reboot of the Spiderman franchise, which is no more than 10 years old and had one of the biggest openings in movie history.  Point being, it doesn’t take a new remarkable idea to get attention, but just a fresh twist on an existing one.

Twist Here

Inspiration can be found anywhere.  There is no reason to go out and look for it — well maybe a little, I tend to use StumbleUpon quite a bit, but I guess you can say it just fell into my lap that way.  Movies, television programs, advertising, indoors, outdoors, the Internet, even things in your own house you can twist and turn just a little to create something great.

With that being said, here are some creative ideas that will keep people’s attention for a few extra seconds longer based on familiarity alone.  How long you can capture them after that is up to you.


Tutorials are great for a couple reasons.  First, it doesn’t take the most creative, talented graphic designer to produce something you can really be proud of.  If you take the time, follow directions and improvise here and there, the final product looks like a real piece of art.

The more tutorials you do, the more familiar you will become with the program, learn helpful tips and tricks and give you ideas for future projects.  The best part is that they are there for you to use.  You aren’t stepping on anyone’s toes or stealing someone else’s work.

Familiarity as branding element

Photoshop Lady has a plethora of tutorials free to view.


Keep Calm and Carry On

This poster was produced by the United Kingdom’s government in the beginning of World War II to raise morale of the public.  Since its initial distribution in 1939, many other designers have used the famous poster to creatively put their stamp on the poster.


Build Your Brand


At Blue Soda Promo, we imprint company logos onto an assortment of promotional products.  The soda bottle at the top and the variation of the words simply explains what we do and add an extra bit of branding to the campaign.




Create your own memes

Memes are the definition of putting your own twist on an old idea.  The idea is to take a recognizable image and add your own text to the image that:

1. Relates to the image

2. Relates to the audience or your brand

This also doesn’t take a degree in graphic design, expensive software, or a ton of time to do.  Sites like quickmeme allow you to create memes in a matter of seconds.  They also provide you with an assortment of stock images to work with if you can’t find a suitable one of your own.


Famous Photography

We are all amazed when someone can capture all one thousand words of a picture.  They can describe the atmosphere, emotion and reality of a given situation.  Those photos stay with us for a lifetime and if we can use that to our advantage, that’s a good thing.

Famous Photography


This famous picture by Alfred Eisenstaedt of a sailor kissing a woman in Times Square on the day America was victorious over Japan was featured in Life magazine and became a cultural icon overnight.

Yet, some sublet Photoshop manipulation can turn this iconic photo into a clever branding piece.

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**NOTE** Be careful how you use these ideas as they could be considered copyright infringement, or stealing. If possible, look to get permission from the original artist, change the image enough to where the original isn’t recognizable and/or give credit where credit is due. Trying to make a profit off these techniques can be a dangerous road, so take them for what they are, attention grabbers.


Author: Matt Powers

Matt Powers is an Internet Marketer at Blue Soda Promo, an online promotional products company. BSP imprints logos on items like custom promotional drawstring bags, sunglasses, tote bags, stress balls, and polo shirts at ridiculously low prices. We make your brand POP!

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