Flexible Visual Systems

General terms for Flexible Visual Identities: 

Visual Identity:

A visual language used by a company, organization, institution, but also product, campaign, person or event to be recognized, remembered, and identified.

Contemporary Visual Identity:

A flexible visual identity that communicates efficiently and effectively on today’s communication channels. It is a visual language used to express many different messages to many different people rather than one image (such as a logo) that represents one message.

Visual System:

A set of rules that define the visual language. Without rules, the articulations of the visual language might change from interpretation to interpretation of the designer who applies them. The visual sense is the most important sense for communication design, but systems could be developed for the other senses too, often additionally and seldom exclusively.

Flexible Visual System: 

A flexible visual system is a visual language that can be used adequately in different contexts, for different audiences, and in different media without losing its recognizable identity.

Why focus on the visual sense? The visual sense is the most important sense* for communication design, but systems could be developed for the other senses too, additionally or exclusively. 

* “When people converse in their day-to-day lives, they often speak about what they hear, smell, taste or feel. First and foremost, however, they talk about their visual perceptions. This is the conclusion of a team of scientists headed by Lila San Roque, Kobin H. Kendrick, Elisabeth Norcliffe and Asifa Majid at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen in the Netherlands, who conducted a study of 13 languages from around the world. However, they found no evidence of a fixed hierarchy of the other senses in the speakers’ linguistic usage. They therefore conclude the hierarchy of the senses is shaped by both biological predispositions and cultural influences.” Source consulted on the 6th of November 2022: https://www.mpg.de/8849014/hierarchy-senses

Terms I use when describing the development of form-based systems:


I mostly work with geometric shapes, but they could be organic too. Components can be assembled into bigger, more complex forms, which increases their distinctiveness. 


Components can be assembled into assets, like symbols, letters, lines, labels, frames, patterns, type, or any other illustration which will form part of the library of assets of the visual identity.


The assets are applied to different formats. In this course, I mainly focus on varying two-dimensional formats, but application systems may react as well to analog and digital, two- and three-dimensional, moving and motionless, interactive or not interactive media, as well as any other data they are fed with.

Lesson 1: What is an Identity?
Lesson 2: Identity Vs Image
Lesson 3: What is a Visual Identity?
Lesson 4: What is a Visual System?
Lesson 5: Change of Approach
Lesson 6: How do FVS work?
Lesson 7: The FVS Model
Lesson 8: The FVS Manifesto explained