The Da Vinci Code to Branding

Leonardo da Vinci was an absolute genius. An amazing man who used all his knowledge, creativity, and ambition the best he could, and in many ways shaped the world we know today. He envisioned mankind being able to fly. He conducted many studies on the structure and function of the human body. He examined philosophy. Experimented with the use of colors and movement in his works of art.

So, it’s no stretch to think that he could teach us a few things about branding.

Let’s take a look at some of Leonardo’s famous quotes and see what we can apply to branding.

Leonardo da Vinci

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Branding is all about communication. Communication with a target audience that should easily understand what a brand’s purpose and goals are. In order to communicate efficiently, it is extremely important to simplify the message. Often, simplifying a message is more difficult than elaboration of information, images, and ideas. However, that extra effort typically reaps great benefits and a brand’s message is much strong because of a clear, concise, and simple approach to communication.

So, keep your message targeted, clear and concise. You only have a few seconds to make an impression. Use them wisely.


Knowing is not enough; we must apply.

When developing a brand, you need to make sure that all the values, goals and intentions of your business are implemented into your brand.

Understanding what you would like to communicate is one thing. Actually carrying it out in your brand’s message is another. Make sure that these vital pieces of information is clearly communicated to your target audience.

Knowing what your business represents is not enough. You must apply your knowledge and establish your brand to reflect what your business represents.

The Last Supper

Art is never finished, only abandoned.

A brand continues to develop long after the logo design is completed. Long after the collateral design is printed. Long after the website is finished and well after the marketing campaigns begin.

A brand is an ever-evolving entity. Keep in mind that developing a brand is a continual process. Treasure every customer you service, every product sold, every conversation you have about your business. In everything your business does, make sure it enhances the consumer and client experience so that when they walk away, they relate what they feel with what they see your brand communicates to them.

Your brand is never finished.

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art

You have to truly feel a connection with your brand… with its message… its values. If you and your business can’t connect to your brand, how could your target audience possibly connect with it?

Leonardo understood that art is incomplete without a motivating factor… no heart. Art is void without emotion.

Your brand is a work of art, and should be treated as one. Emotion and spirit must drive your brand.

The human foot: a masterpiece of engineering; a work of art

An interesting observation by da Vinci. And as any artist would tell you, extremely true. The human foot is one of the most (if not the most) difficult parts of the body to visually represent due to its complex structure and form. Yet, it is one of the most intriguing and beautiful.

Your brand should be a testament to engineering and to art. Your brand should function as an efficient machine, acting as the driving entity behind your business. At the same time, your brand should carry the emotion and aesthetics of a work of art in order to complete your target audience’s experience.

While extremely complex, when executed correctly, your brand has the potential to be a marvel of efficiency and a glorious work of art.

Leonardo's Ornithopter

There shall be wings!
If the accomplishment be not for me… ’tis for some other.

Leonardo’s observation in this quote carries two points of emphasis:

First, his desire for mankind to be able to fly is astounding, both in word and in action. He developed plans for an ornithopter. Unfortunately, due to materials and techniques available during his time, he was unable to execute these plans and make the ornithopter work. However, it has been discovered that his plans were extremely accurate and his ornithopter design actually functions with the correct materials and tools.

Next, his ambitious attitude cannot be ignored. Leonardo understood that even if it wasn’t going to be his discovery and achievement, mankind was eventually going to learn to fly. He was more focused on the goal than the means to achieve it.

The same should apply to your brand. Find something you want for your brand to accomplish and strive to achieve it, no matter what. Create goals for your brand… even if they seem impossible.

Your business, and your brand, can fly.

Thank you, Mr. Leonardo.

About the Author: Keith Goolsby

As President of Jetfuel Creative, Keith's 10 years of ad agency experience allows him to cut through the marketing "buzzword" clutter and deliver meaningful solutions for clients who need to reach more of their target audience.


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      How can we help you?

      BrandingWebsite DesignOnline MarketingPrintMedia

      How'd you hear about us?