The concept of branding has been around for more than two thousand years. It solely was used to convey ownership. Farmers branded their cattle with a unique symbol to stand out among other cattle. Craftsmen would carve some symbols on their goods to differentiate their work from competitors.
Even though the primary purpose of branding is yet the same today, it has gotten a lot more complicated with the advance of new technology. Branding is the process of creating a distinctive name or an image for a product or a service. A unique brand will put you in your own distinguished category in your niche, and you will be solely recognised by it among countless other brands that exist in the market. Companies use visual brand identity to ensure the customers and establish a bond of trust with them.
What is visual brand identity?
Visual brand identity is a set of fixed characteristics that aims to define your brand’s overall look and feel across all channels. Your visual brand identity is achieved through these primary elements:
Through these elements, we can establish a unique visual identity for our company’s product or services and become distinguishable among other competitors in your niche.
With a thoroughly developed and consistent visual brand design, your potential audience will come to associate your brand with the set of values it brings to them. For the most part, it is a business’s first impression and interaction with the user, so it’s understandably vital to design a memorable and positive visual brand for your company.
Visual brand identity vs brand identity
Mixing between visual brand and brand identity is understandable. Usually, these two concepts are used interchangeably. But they are not entirely the same though one is a subcategory of the other.
- Visual identity: the cohesiveness use of visual elements like logo, colours, images, fonts and more to promote a consistent brand.
- Branding identity: it refers to the ultimate strategy a company follows to define its goals and values when creating a brand. Establishing brand voice, how your brand communicates with the consumers, and visual brand design are all studied in this stage.
Before creating your visual brand
A solid visual brand identity doesn’t happen with a snap of a finger. You can’t just choose a bunch of colours and a font and call it a brand. You need to approach this with a strategy in mind that will help you shape your brand identity and reflect your true values and promises to the users. It requires a lot of energy with a passionate and communicative team that put all their creative mind together to establish a powerful brand. Ultimately your brand should be able to answer questions like who you are, what you do, and how you want to put your brand in front of the world.
1. Know your target audience
The brand is obviously created for the audience. So knowing who your audience is, what they want, and how they want it is very crucial in any brand design. Focusing on their personality will help you shape the kind of visual brand that they can relate to and become loyal customers.
Researching about your target audience can help you identify those factors that may interfere with their decision to use your product and services. You can also analyse your competitors and study their audience to understand how they interact with each other or how their audience perceives their products.
To define your target audience so that you can build a coherent visual brand that is consistent with their personality, you need to analyse the below factors to understand their buyer persona.
- Age: is your products and services are specific to a certain age group?
- Gender: does the gender of your customers matter? If you want to sell feminine or men beauty products, you should target the correct gender.
- Income and education level: maybe your services are for a group of people that have a certain amount of income or a fixed level of education.
- Job description: are you targeting a specific audience with the same job? Let’s say in technology or health care.
- Lifestyle: your audience is a group of people with a similar lifestyle that you think you can promote and sell your products among them.
- Interests: targeting a group of people with similar interests as your brand.
One of the most crucial things that you should understand about your audience is finding their problems. Identifying their pain can help you think about the correct strategies to approach and solve them.
2. Identify your brand’s purpose
Identifying the reasons behind establishing your business will help you a lot in designing a strategy to build a memorable visual brand. What purpose and goals your brand is aspiring to achieve? What sort of values are you going to provide your audience?
Understanding the direction of your brand and its long-term perspective can help you define a better visual brand identity that has the required qualities an established brand has.
Answering the below question can help you clear your mind and set a pathway in the right direction.
- Why do you offer these services to your target audience?
- Do you know your brand’s short-term and long-term goals?
- How does your brand help people solve their problems?
- What is your brand aspiring to achieve that other brands cannot?
- Can you convey your brand’s message through colour, typography, and images?
Certain fonts, for example, bring about certain feelings. Bold sans-serif fonts have an air of modernity and are normally used for tech companies. Colours also bring about certain emotions. For instance, red is always associated with excitement, love and passion. Yellow has a bit of a negative vibe to it (joy and happiness).
3. Take advantage of your brand story
Your story is the main theme of your brand, so you should use it to evoke emotions and gain new customers through the appeal it’s going to have on them. Finding a connection with your consumers through your story can help you establish a meaningful relationship with them. Through brand story, you can share your history and growth process with your target audience. With this concept in mind, you can brainstorm about your brand’s visuals and imagery design.
To understand how you can utilise your brand story, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- What does my brand story have in common with my target audience?
- What kind of interaction you’re looking for from your clients when they perceive your brand story?
- How can you make use of your brand story and the emotion it evokes when designing your visual brand?
Answering these questions, and most notably the third one will set the path to the creation of your visual brand identity. Pour your brand’s personality, purpose, and the emotions it provokes into your design so that your visual brand stands out with the story it brings to the surface.
The four main elements of visual brand identity
A logo is an integral part of any visual identity and brand identity as a whole. A Logo is a unique graphical design that conveys the company, its products, services and values. It is carefully designed to capture attention while projecting the company’s main image and brand. It needs to be catchy, memorable and not in any way complex, and it should be designed according to the company’s values.
Why do you need a logo?
- This is where your brand story starts — with a unique graphical or text-based mark.
- This is how your brand will get recognised.
- Your logo will bring up previous experiences and feelings your clients had with the brand.
- Your logo is your trademark; it can bring up certain emotions and have a powerful first impression.
2. Brand colour palette
A consistent colour palette throughout your brand is important. Certain colours suggest specific emotions. Red catches the eye, yellow is associated with bliss and delight, blue is easy on the eyes, and green takes us back to nature. It is not easy choosing a colour for your brand, but you should pick a colour that conveys your brand story using the psychological aspects of s colours.
Our eyes get easily overwhelmed with the use of excessive colours. That’s why using fewer colours when designing your visual brand is essential. By choosing a consistent colour palette for our brand, we will ensure our users will have a smooth experience interacting with our brand.
Why should you bother with choosing a colour palette?
- Certain colours will help you connect with your clients on a subconscious level, and it will give you the chance to have an emotional connection with them.
- The colours you choose for your visual brand will bring with it a set of ideologies that you want to convey.
- An appealing visual brand design is often the only thing that makes some people choose a particular brand.
- Colours also have a significant effect on recognition. For example, we all know Spotify is green, or Twitter is light blue.
Like colours, fonts also evoke certain emotions. You can choose any font that you think would present your brand story in the best way possible. Because fonts are familiar to people, it is important to use them with your visual brand to evoke familiarity with your brand.
- Serif: one of the oldest fonts, has a classic character to it, and it has been used for printing books for as long as we can remember. Zara, Tiffany & Co, Abercrombie & Fitch are among the famous brands that use Serif in their brand.
- Sans–Serif: these fonts look clean and tidy and focus on simplicity with a revolutionary approach. But thanks to their elegant design, they can grab attention as well. Brands that implement San-serif fonts in their visual design want to convey trust and worthiness through the power of this font family. Linkedin. Clavin Klein and The guardian are using this font perfectly.
- Slab-Serif: these fonts give an air of confidence, power, reliability and artistic thoughts thanks to their big bulky lines and not so gentle serifs. It sounds innovative to choose these fonts because they illustrate a sense of importance. SONY. HONDA and VOLVO are the giant companies using this font.
The process of choosing fonts sizes, boldness, how to display them and their hierarchy is simply called typography. If typography is taken seriously, it can help you design a smooth visual brand with the message you want to convey.
Why do I need typography?
- To follow a consistent font strategy, you need typography to bring you recognisability throughout all platforms.
- With typography, you will have better control over the information you share and the font hierarchy you use to convey this information can help you affect your audience.
5. Shapes and patterns
The look and shape you give to your brand is also very important. Different shapes and patterns are perceived differently. Shapes also can have psychological effects on people. For example, round shapes without sharp edges can be seen as more feminine and are easy on the eyes. Triangles and straight lines convey strength and can be seen as masculine.
The shape you end up choosing for your visual brand identity will need to be suitable for the impression you seek your brand to convey. For example, if you want to select a shape for your law firm, you need to make the shape of your brand communicate professionalism.
Why does the shape of your visual brand matter?
- Choosing the right shape will help you affect your target audience that has the same characteristics as the shape perceives.
- Being consistent with the shapes and patterns you choose for your visual brand identity will help you get recognised easily.
- The shape you utilise will set you in a category that the shape advocates.
Every business needs to follow a consistent strategy when designing its visual brand. It will ultimately be the first presentation of who and what your company is. That being said, it is understandable that suck a task should be appointed to professionals in this field. As we discussed above, colours, fonts and shapes all convey certain emotions. We need to understand these factors perfectly before diving into creating our visual brand identity.