Product graphics – icons, labels and logos - are an integral part of the operation and experience of a product. They broadly serve two communications functions: product branding and user interface support.

Information architecture of branding graphics

  1. Understand the branding and marketing policies of the manufacturer. Is this a standalone product? Is it part of a product family?
  2. Define the branding intent. Is the product design itself enough to brand the product? Is there a special feature to be highlighted above all else?
  3. Define a communications hierarchy. Should the manufacturer’s logo be larger than the product or product family badge? Should some other information, such as warning labels, stand out most of all?
  4. Understand how users will unpack, set up, and use the product. Which surfaces are most often visible? Which do users see first? Which areas will get most wear? Are there dangers that need to be flagged? All these affect the overall branding of the product, as well as where badges and labels are placed.

Information architecture of functional graphics

  1. Map out step by step how users will use the product. Include both the primary usage processes (put the bread in, push down on the handle) and the key secondary processes (cleaning the crumb tray, removing a stuck crumpet).
  2. For each process, define a clear communications flow that provides information needed by the user each step of the way. The more important points will need to be more prominent. Both the graphic design (colour, typography, etc) and placement of these elements on the physical product will affect prominence.
  3. How obvious are the different functions of the product? Do you need labels to signpost controls and features that are not obvious from the product design?
  4. Information to support the most frequently used processes will then need to be translated into button labels, stickers and iconography which are applied to the physical product.


Mock up the graphics, apply them on a prototype, and run through usage scenarios with test users. Do the graphics get in the way? Or do they help? Is the branding intentions coming across correctly?

Review the product as a whole. Do the branding graphics interfere with the functional graphics? Or vice versa?