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Bachelor Visual Communication


Marjolein van der Heijden

Een empathische branding

I want to raise awareness among companies with a social mission about branding and how to make conscious use of this. Branding is often considered packaging, but the thing is that you don’t want to share just be packaging – what you really want to share is the content. It is the difference between wrapping and unwrapping.

My focus is on visual language; as a photographer, I think in images. An image has an emotion, feelings, and authenticity, which are linked to the sincerity of the individual. Wedding photography is a good example of how trust, empathy, openness, and emotions come together. It is not just about taking the most beautiful photograph of the happy couple. By making them feel at ease, they dare to be themselves and the photograph will convey the emotion that can be felt at that particular moment. An image tells a story; in order to convey that story satisfactorily, I must understand my client and I, as a designer, must be open to this.

The basis of a good discussion is trust – you must adopt an open-minded attitude so that you can communicate with empathy. In order to build up a good relationship with your client, it is important to be able to understand the depths of this person’s character. Only then will you be able to achieve an empathic relationship, which can be compared with friendship. This is very valuable to me.

During this process, I create valuable material that I, as a designer and a strategist, can work with in order to develop a campaign. The material was developed primarily from a photographic perspective; the project that follows on from this is graphic design. My method is to establish someone’s authenticity in how they act and speak, and to then translate this story into an empathic image.

Branding is one of the most powerful vehicles for connecting people within a company and to motivate them. Branding is not only important for the outside world, but also for the company internally. If you want to set to work with branding, you must be patient and wait for the result in order to allow this to be constantly in motion. If I can magnify the impact of branding, I will happily allow myself to be heard. You cannot have an emotional impact on someone by communicating the values of a brand, but by communicating on the basis of these values. I help companies identify their values and to subsequently express them. I do this by developing a visual language system based on empathy, and by translating this system via brand campaigns, creative content, and digital platforms.

As my graduation project, I composed a personal method to develop empathic branding and converted this into a brand book for DeMaackers. This brand book sets out the essence of DeMaackers and their visual identity.

The banners are part of the visual identity of DeMaackers, and I'd be happy to show them to you!