That pale blue-green color is instantly recognized: Tiffany's. Recently, we came across a brilliant article about Tiffany & Co. This brand has such a powerful visual identity that it doesn't need a large logo on the box. This legendary brand inspired us to look closely at other iconic brands that have used visual identity as an essential element of the brand experience. We wanted to know what lessons we'd find in their success that would apply to smaller businesses.

We compiled a short list of companies that, in our opinion, have established some of the most visually recognizable brands in the world. Here, in part one of our five-part series, we'll begin with Tiffany & Co., the brand that sparked our curiosity. One thing is clear: a brand is never "just a logo." Read on for a lesson in iconic branding from that little blue box.

Crowned with a white ribbon, the Tiffany Blue Box is an international symbol of style and sophistication.

Crowned with a white ribbon, the Tiffany Blue Box is an international symbol of style and sophistication.

Tiffany & Co. 

The not-quite robin's egg blue box and white satin ribbon hint at the perfection inside. To hold that gift box in hand makes a recipient feel special even before they open it. No one is certain why the unique, turquoise blue was chosen, but it became an instant classic when Charles Lewis Tiffany started the company in 1837.

Once the company introduced its diamond engagement rings in 1886, the impact of the Tiffany Blue Box® was complete. The box has became just as coveted as the piece of jewelry inside of it. In fact, Tiffany's lawyers routinely track down and halt the resale of authentic Tiffany Blue Boxes.

Branding Lessons Learned

Simple can be extraordinary. Be a memorable brand experience.

Tiffany & Co. has mastered a simple yet memorable visual identity and extended that into a brand experience. The color and packaging are truly unique; the simple serif font (Baskerville Old Face) remains unchanged, as classic as the color. The company's consistent use of the color is strategically limited and carefully planned. If you ever go looking to use the Tiffany blue yourself, you won't find it. Tiffany blue is considered the most protected color in the branding world. It has not been commercially available since a 1998 filing with the U.S. federal government. The color is trademarked, so is the packaging–from boxes to bags, and the white satin ribbon. Oh, and of course, the name "Tiffany Blue Box" is trademarked, too.

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