Corporate Design

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The term corporate design [ kɔːpəɹɪt di'zaɪ̯n ] ( CD ) or corporate appearance referred to a section of the corporate identity ( corporate identity ) and includes the entire, uniform image of a company or an organization . This includes primarily the design of communication tools ( word mark = logotype | icon = Firmensignet | word picture mark = combined company logo ), but also the design of business stationery , advertising materials, packaging , websites, and product design . The common design for the work clothing can also be included in the fully integrated appearance. The term logo, which is often incorrectly used as a synonym , only describes one element of corporate design and is therefore unsuitable for describing the "concept of a uniform and comprehensive company appearance". With corporate design, a suitable sign system is defined for a company , which can be used to achieve a uniform and positive image of the company in public as well as a high level of awareness of the same ( recognition value , brand awareness ).


The aspects of the uniform appearance must also be taken into account when publishing on the Internet. For permanent recognition, it is important that the CD is also taken into account when websites are relaunched . This means that when websites are revised, the advertising constants remain constant and consequently company colors, fonts, basic motifs and other means used are retained.

The corporate design is often used in internal communication tools so that employees can identify with the company and convey the company's image to the outside world.


An important principle of corporate design - like industrial design in general - is the rule of form follows function . In addition to recognizability, practical use must be guaranteed. A corporate font should not only be recognizable, but also legible. In addition, it should not create any additional problems - for example in the layout or translation workflow or when passing it on to customers. The corporate design represents a guideline with which a uniform appearance is to be guaranteed in the context of corporate communication. As with all corporate decisions, the importance and weighting must be carefully weighed.


In order to be able to guarantee the most efficient implementation of a corporate design, the individual visual basic elements as well as exemplary applications are documented in the form of a corporate design manual and made available to users (such as employees, partners, printers, advertising agencies). The guideline character should be in the foreground (example: Coca-Cola bottle - significant changes over the decades with permanent recognition).


The design of all elements of the corporate design takes place under uniform aspects (advertising constants) in order to achieve a recognition effect with every contact . This usually means that the company colors, as well as the company logo or another (for example, geometric) basic motif are on all means of communication (mostly in a similar position and in a similar arrangement). A consistently used font ( house font ) can also be part of the corporate design . Together everything should lead to a visual context of the respective company.


The corporate design is made up of different elements. Which includes:

  • A meaningful and suitable logo with a high recognition value usually forms the basis of the visual appearance. It usually consists of a lettering (typogram, word mark) and an image or symbol (ideogram, figurative mark, signet).
  • The typeface (s) referred to an appropriate corporate identity typeface. It contains appropriate fonts for running texts, logos or awards.
  • The imagery includes the selection of meaningful images, symbols and motifs. Specially selected images are referred to as key visuals.
  • A color concept describes a selection of certain colors. They are used repeatedly in the logo, the texts and other design elements.

Ideally, all of these design guidelines are recorded in a corporate design manual that serves as a guideline for everyone - the company and its service providers - to implement the corporate design.

The corporate design is used in all of the company's media and publications.


The inventor of corporate design is Peter Behrens , who between 1907 and 1914 as artistic advisor for AEG introduced a uniform corporate image for the first time.


  • Imke Hofmeister: The appearance of German art museums: corporate design in the exhibition, architecture and advertising material (= writings of the Freilichtmuseum am Kiekeberg. Volume 76; writings of the Humanities working group of the Technical University of Hamburg . Volume 1). Friends of the Freilichtmuseum am Kiekeberg, Rosengarten-Ehestorf 2011, ISBN 978-3-935096-38-6 (dissertation at the Technical University of Hamburg 2011, 412 pages).
  • Kirsten Dietz, Jochen Rädeker: Reporting. Corporate communication as an image carrier. Selected financial and sustainability reports worldwide . Hermann Schmidt, Mainz 2010, ISBN 978-3-87439-810-7 .
  • Alexander Berzler: Visual corporate communication . Contributions to the media and communication society . Studienverlag, Innsbruck 2009, ISBN 978-3-7065-4773-4 .
  • Rayan Abdullah, Roger Cziwerny: Corporate Design. Costs and benefits . Hermann Schmidt, Mainz 2007, ISBN 978-3-87439-714-8 .
  • Anton Stankowski: The visual appearance of the corporate identity. In: Klaus Birkigt, Marius M. Stadler, Hans J. Funck: Corporate Identity . Modern industry, Landsberg am Lech 2002, ISBN 3-478-25540-6 , pp. 191-224.
  • Klaus Birkigt, Marinus M. Stadler, Hans J. Funck: Corporate Identity . Modern industry, Landsberg am Lech 2002, ISBN 3-478-25540-6 .

Individual evidence

  1. Corporate Design. Origin, History and Definition. Typoakademie Berlin, accessed on April 25, 2011 .
  2. Steven Heller: Paul Rand . Verlag Hermann Schmidt Mainz, 1999, ISBN 3-87439-476-X , p. 149 .