Every brand, regardless of size, must create a visual identity. Interestingly, achieving this feat never happens overnight.
It is this identity that helps a brand to stand out from the crowd so that it grows in significance. Your company’s identity shows your target audience how you want them to perceive and relate to your brand.
In this post, we will explain how to create a successful identity for your brand. But first, let’s explain a few terms and phrases.
Visual Identity Explained
Creating an identity for your brand goes beyond putting your logo on every item and choosing colors. A lot of thinking and communication is required as well as a clear understanding of your objectives.
This brings us to the question, what is visual identity? Several schools of thought have proposed several definitions for this phrase. However, they all see it as the physical expression of what a brand stands for.
In essence, your identity is a culmination of the way your brand feels, looks, and appeals to others. It helps you communicate with the rest of the world by defining what makes you different from other businesses.
When you look at it from this standpoint, it is safe to conclude that different companies adopt different approaches. For some, it is their art and for others, it is their ads.
To date, many companies struggle in the market because they haven’t found their way around this concept. You don’t have to go through the same challenge, hence, why we put this piece together.
Differentiating visual identity from branding
Let’s be honest, many people mix both or use them interchangeably. What most people don’t realize is that branding and visual identity are very different even though related. Here’s the dividing line:
|This concept focuses on setting rules that guide the physical representation of a brand. As such, it oversees the consistent use of different visual elements. Examples of these elements include images, colors, fonts, logos, etc.||This concept, on the other hand, focuses on building a brand from the ground up. To this end, it decides governing archetypes and values. These elements end up as the brand’s voice that in turn influence identity and communication strategies.|
From the table above, we can deduce that visual identity is a subset of branding. This doesn’t make it less important, rather, it is one of the cornerstones on which branding is built.
Components of Brand Visual Identity
Your identity is not just a mix of colors or an attractive logo, it goes way beyond this. To create an identity for your brand, you must bring together several components which will contribute to your brand assets.
It is similar to developing a language that everyone identifies with your brand. As such, your identity runs from the quality of your products or services to your packaging.
For some businesses, the components may be few while for others, they require a lot. Nonetheless, here are the basic components you need to create an identity for your brand:
- Data visualization
- Design System
- Interactive elements
- Motion and video
- Web design
Whatever you do, here’s something that you shouldn’t forget. Your identity cuts across a plethora of media. Because of this, endeavor to put together all the components you need as you grow.
Before creating your brand visual identity
You don’t just jump into creating an identity for your brand. There are certain things that you must do first.
You must define different aspects of your business. This makes the process clearer and enhances your result. According to most design consulting firms, the factors below contribute to the creation of a visual identity.
Understand your target audience
You need to research your target audience as much as possible first. This will provide information about who they are and what pain points you need to deal with.
From this, you can tell the kind of image that your audience wants to relate to. It also gives you an idea of the kind of services or products to focus on.
A question that begs an answer here is, “how do you understand your target audience?” Here are a few things to look out for:
- Job title or description
- Education level
Create a brand story
With your brand story, you can massage the emotions of your target audience. The story sets the tone for your imagery and visuals and ensures a meaningful connection to your audience.
Use your brand story to communicate your business history, development, and values. This makes your brand more relatable to your target audience as they can identify better with your experiences. Here are some questions that will help you create a great brand story:
- How did my brand get here?
- In what way can my customers identify with my story?
- What emotions will reading this story evoke in my target audience?
- How do the emotions of my target audience help create my brand’s identity?
Define brand objectives
When you came up with your business idea, what problems did you seek to solve? What objectives will help you achieve your aims?
When you define your brand objectives to get you to achieve your business goals, you get more insight into your identity. The objectives give a clear picture of how your brand should come across and the message you should pass. Again, you need to answer some questions to define these objectives:
- Why is your business offering its products or services?
- Have you set any goals for your business, what are they?
- What solution is your business offering its target audience?
- Do you have a vision and mission statement, what are they?
- What visual elements reflect your objectives?
Psychologists tell us that fonts and colors can promote the display of certain traits. This means that using the ones that suit your objectives attracts the required actions from your audience.
Define roles and purposes for your identity
As you move closer to creating a visual identity for your brand, you must define the roles of your identity. Your brand identity is displayed on an array of platforms that have different demands. Examples include:
- Social media
- Corporate identity
When you have assigned roles and purposes, you can identify the right hands to handle each design. However, you must ensure that all your designers have a clear understanding of what you plan to achieve.
Key Elements to Help You Create a Successful Brand Identity
Our discussion so far has explained the idea of brand visual identity. We have also its components and what to do before creating one.
Now to the crux of this post, here are some elements to help you create a successful identity.
Do you know that it is difficult for customers to remember your brand after their first encounter? Research has it that it takes customers about 7 encounters to build trust in a brand.
Of course, without trust, it is difficult to patronize any brand. Because of this, your brand must ensure that its identity is easily memorable.
Does this mean that you should spend more on advertising? Not necessarily. It all depends on how well you can focus on your brand story, content, values, products, and marketing strategies. With these in place, it is easier for your audience to remember and trust your brand.
One way to establish an identity for your brand is by clarifying your brand values. The question here is what values does your brand believe and stand for?
For some companies it is sustainability and for others, it is environmental friendliness. Whatever values you stand for define the personality of your brand and gives it a soul. It is this personality and soul that your target audience connects to and relate with.
What does this imply? Without your values, your brand is faceless. Truth be told, your brand identity isn’t going to appeal to every individual out there. This is why some individuals will just patronize you once and others will become lifelong customers.
In essence, be clear on your values and stick to them. This will help you communicate them effectively to the market in the vehicle of your visual identity.
There are different forms of content. From blog content to websites, videos to images, podcasts to social media posts, and infographics.
Obviously, you cannot create all these forms of content in the same way. They demand different approaches.
Regardless of the content and approach you use, one thing is important. The message you pass across all platforms must correlate. Doing this makes your work easier.
Like we mentioned earlier, typography has a psychological effect on your audience. It will either enhance your identity or spur a negative action.
This is why you must seek professional help in choosing the kind of font to use for your designs. Don’t forget that the font you select should be uniform on all your platforms.
As such, it should suit the different platforms and your marketplace as well. Ensure that your font is readable and easy to understand from a distance.
Here is a general rule for you to abide by. Don’t use more than three font styles at any point in time. Here’s a breakdown of how to use them:
- One font for titles or headers.
- A different font for the body content.
- The last one is optional. It should be on your logo.
Why do you need to use this format? It helps you create continuity on all your platforms.
It is impossible to discuss visual identity without mentioning color schemes. Colors convey several messages to your audience about your brand.
They have the ability to influence emotions positively or negatively. In other words, they can help prospects decide if they want to patronize you or not.
How do you find the best color schemes for your brand? One way is to study color theory. Another is to check out which colors are common to your competitors.
After you find the right palette, it is time to fine-tune the color contrasts. For most professionals, the contrast is more important than color. This is because it influences conversion rates more.
It isn’t a secret that most businesses, regardless of size, focus a lot of effort on developing their logo. This is because many of them consider the logo as “branding.”
Interestingly, they don’t realize that the logo is just an element of their visual identity. Nonetheless, it is one of the most important elements.
The first thing that customers will see when they come across your business is your logo. With an efficient design, you can convey your brand message through your logo.
Today, designing a logo isn’t so difficult and it doesn’t cost so much either. Despite this fact, ensure that you think it through properly before designing.
The Importance of Creating a Successful Brand Visual Identity
Even though branding and visual identity are different, they work hand-in-hand. One isn’t complete without the other. Here are some reasons why you need a successful brand identity:
Improves brand recognition and awareness
Your identity is your image and it tells everyone else about your brand. It helps you to gain recognition in the market.
It is easier for customers to remember visuals than verbal traits. With your identity, your target audience recognizes your name, logo, colors, and fonts. This recognition results in awareness that boosts conversions.
Separates you from the competition
With a unique identity, it is easier for your brand to be different from the competition. This adds to your memorability and ensures that customers can find you easily.
Distinct product or service feel
One thing is important where creating an identity is concerned. It is about what your customers perceive and feel.
The earlier you realize this, the easier it is to build your identity. Creating this identity helps to convey certain emotions that convince the customers that you can deliver.
Creating a visual identity isn’t as difficult as you think. We have shown you how to do this and several elements to have in place. What do you think we left out? Drop them in the comments section.