You might be wondering how video games have anything to do with graphic design. I think they have everything to do with graphic design. For example, one of my favorite video game series, Call of Duty: Black Ops, is proof a stellar brand identity paired with good branding and design can make or break anything… including a video game.

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So how does Call of Duty impact the graphic design community? Keep reading and I’ll break down how this series is not only a branding legend but has had a major influence on my design work.

Brand Swag

Brand Identity

Snap describes brand identity as,

“…the face of your business. It represents your company’s values, services, ideas and personality. It can generate loyalty from your clients and make your employees proud to work for you.”

Call of Duty’s brand identity is just as legendary as Apple, Amazon or Starbucks. Even if you don’t play video games, or you’ve never picked up a controller to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 1, 2 or 3, I can guarantee that you’ve at least heard the game’s title. Why? The original 2003 game was created for PC and has now grown to include multiple individual franchise series, “Advanced Warfare,” “Black Ops,” “Ghosts” and “Modern Warfare,” and on multiple platforms with just as large of individual followings. Call of Duty is now one of the biggest names in video games and has become so big they’ve earned about $10 billion over the years.

How’d they do it?

In my opinion, Call of Duty revolutionized the online multiplayer experience by taking the first-person shooter game style and developing a community fan base that remains loyal to their brand. They did this in giving players the option to play 2 different online multiplayer styles: classic (traditional player vs. player) and zombies (player vs. computer, where, in short, you have to strategically work together with your team to advance through levels and waves of zombies). What makes this experience unique is the fact that it gives the user the customization to set their own 4-digit clan tag and draw out their own “emblem” (basically a personalized logo for your character in multiplayer) for a more personal online experience.

Integrating Their Target Market

After they started making individual series like the Black Ops series, they started to integrate celebrities in their games. For example, upon completion of the single-player Campaign in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, the behemoth metal band Avenged Sevenfold is featured in a skit with characters from the game and afterward perform a concert with the song they released titled “Carry On.” This same band even went on to write an instrumental song for the newly released 2015 Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 game, titled “Jade Helm,” which only adds to the success of the Call of Duty: Black Ops brand (in my opinion). This little inclusion of specialized music shows a deep understanding of their target market.

TLDR: Be different, be innovative and give the unique consumers of your brand something to root for and stand behind.

Branding is in everything these days. It has evolved into an integral part of any existing product. Sure you could look to Apple, Amazon or Starbucks as a shining example of branding done right, but there are other legends out there like Call of Duty who deserve a spotlight. I mean a stellar brand identity that has pulled in $10+ billion with cutting edge design is legendary to me. The key takeaway I have for you is this: good branding can make nearly anything memorable. How epic is that?

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