• Transform magazine
  • June 06, 2020


The type writer: Brand consistency


Brand consistency and typography helped the Roman Empire extend its reach. Bruno Maag asks if modern brands can do the same?

It was once the case that investors only looked at the business plan and for a track record of successful decision making. The idea that you could build a profitable business with the help of branding – and by extension, design – was inconceivable.

Apple changed that from the day of its conception, and reinforced it in 1996 when Steve Jobs returned. Apple is all about branding and design, and $160bn in the bank proves that.

There have always been organisations that understood the importance of branding. During the reign of emperor Trajan, the Roman Empire included most of modern-day Europe, North Africa and parts of Persia. To maintain such vast regions by military force alone is not possible, so the Romans also used ‘branding’ by introducing their typography, their symbolism, their culture and their way of thinking into the societies they occupied. By making the occupied people brand owners, the Roman rulers were able to expand the empire progressively.

A brand is a culture, a way of thinking, that is expressed visually and auditorily. In a world that is increasingly design literate, companies can no longer afford to ignore the value of design.

In some cases investors insist that a chief design officer is on the board who will ensure that all visual and other expressions are aligned with brand thinking. As Apple and, 2,000 years earlier, the Romans prove, money spent on good design and good branding is a sensible investment.

Bruno Maag is chairman of Dalton Maag 


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