What is Brand Identity?
Brand identity is all about how you present your business visually. You can also think of it as the face and outward presence of a brand. This can include a number of different elements but the three core elements of your brand identity will be your logo, color palette, and typography. Beyond these pieces, you can also see your visual identity displayed through photography, graphics, illustrations, and other forms of data visualization. All and all, brand identity is the sum total of what your brand looks and feels like to customers and prospective customers.
What Exactly Goes Into Brand Identity?
Your logo, color palette, and typography are the major building blocks of your brand identity. These vital elements are a huge part of effectively communicating your brand story. It’s important to put a lot of thought into how you want to display your brand visually. Do a good job and you’ll leave a lasting impression. Drop the ball and you’ll be lost in a sea of brands bidding for your ideal customer’s attention.
So what goes into creating an amazing brand identity? Be sure your brand identity fits into the following four categories:
It’s memorable. You want your brand to stick out in the minds of your potential customers. Make your brand identity distinctive and visually impactful.
It’s approachable. Craft a visual identity that can easily find its way into a person’s everyday life. You want people to gravitate towards your business, not be turned off by an air of aloofness.
It’s scalable. It’s important to have a brand identity that can grow and scale with you. Choose something that you can stick with for years to come.
It’s cohesive. Once you have your logo, typography, and color palette down, live and die by it. You need to be sure everything from your website to your social media presence follows your brand identity. Be sure your presence both in-person and online compliment each other.
Why is it So Important to Build a Strong Brand Identity?
You know what they say about first impressions? This applies to your business too – maybe even more so. It’s vital to put your best foot forward for your would-be future customers. The last thing you want is for someone to come across your brand and walk away confused about your identity or bored by your presentation. If you have a strong brand identity with a sense of purpose, you make a better first impression and you’re more likely to gain a loyal customer or client. Remember, your audience is accustomed to sifting through brands and making split decisions on where to place their attention. They are discerning enough to dismiss a sloppy or poorly thought out brand identity.
Tips on Creating a Brand Identity
Ready to cultivate an amazing, unique brand identity? Follow these steps to get started!
Tell Us – What is Your Brand Story?
Every business has a story. Yes, even yours! If you can’t immediately pin down a story, take some time to think back on the origin of your brand – think of the founders and people that turned an idea into a fully-fledged business. Think of the people aspect of your brand. Draw from your company values, purpose, personality, and mission.
Your brand story will illuminate your voice, tone, and brand personality. Think about what your tagline could be. How will you communicate your value proposition and messaging pillars? And how can you support all of this with your visual identity? This is a vital foundation to create.
If you’re revamping an existing brand identity, take a look at what your current visual pieces communicate. Do they properly tell your story? What pieces still work and which need to be tweaked to better communicate your values and personality better.
Nail Down Your Ideal Audience
Who do you want to connect with? Who is your ideal customer? In order to create an effective brand identity, you must figure out who you’re trying to reach. If you’re not clear on this point it can be exceedingly difficult to nail down a visual presentation that will authentically connect with your ideal prospective customer.
Instead of casting a broad, general net, hone in on your audience based on…
- Their age
- Their location
- Their values
- Their likes and dislikes
Take a Look at Your Competition
Always keep an eye out for what others in your industry are up to. It’s helpful to take note of what your competitors are gravitating towards visually. Are they using similar colors or typography? It’s not uncommon to see a pattern among those in the same industry. Your goal is to find ways to differentiate while still remaining authentic to what one might expect to see from your industry. This is a great way to stand out.
Create a Branding Brief
While you and your team decide how you want your brand to present visually and what feelings you hope those visuals will invoke, it could be helpful to draft out a branding brief. A branding brief is a written overview of the direction you hope to take your visual presence. This document features information on the goals, objectives, vision, and values of your business. This will keep the team on the same page as you launch your new brand identity.
Solidify Your Brand Colors
Now that you have an idea of your goals when it comes to branding, it’s time to decide what colors you want to associate with your business. This can be tricky. Colors and the feelings they invoke are subjective. Where one person might feel relaxed by the color blue, another person might feel energized. It’s best to brainstorm with your team to make sure you all agree that certain colors fit your brand well.
It’s important to go with a color scheme you can stick with for the long haul. Be sure it’s flexible and easy to work with. You will need these options to send to your designer once it comes time to design a logo:
- 1 main color
- 2 primary colors
- 3-5 complementary colors
- 2 accent colors
Design an Amazing Logo
If you’re hiring someone to design your logo, it’s still a good idea to have some rough ideas for them to go off of. Try sketching out some concepts to deliver to your designer with pen and paper. Think about what graphic element you want to include in your logo. This can look like simple shapes and complementary images. If you’re completely stumped, many designers will work with you to brainstorm ideas. You can start with a similar process if you’re choosing to design your logo on your own.
What Makes a Good Logo?
Your logo should accurately represent your brand, stand out against your competitors, and also be streamlined. You don’t want a cluttered logo. Make it simple and scalable. Many good logos can be recreated by hand off of memory (think McDonald’s or Nike). The goal is to have a sleek design that looks organized and balanced. Don’t feel like your customers need to get the full scope of what your company does off the logo alone. It’s okay for your logo to be a bit abstract and ambiguous.
Decide on Your Typography
When picking out typography, draw inspiration from the shape of your logo. Pick some options that complement it well. Again, it’s important to keep it simple. Ideally, you will stick with this typography for years to come. Avoid “trendy” fonts that won’t weather the test of time. You will need to pick out a primary, secondary, and tertiary typeface.
Primary type will be your default font.
Secondary type will support your primary font. Play with picking opposite types of fonts. For instance, pair serif with sans serif.
Tertiary type will be the one you use the least. It’s strictly used as an accent font.
Each of these fonts will need to complement one another. They will be featured side by side on your website, packaging, and other branded materials. Be sure they look appealing next to each other.
When Can I Get My Fonts?
There are three main sources for where to source your typography:
Open source fonts are free. Google Fonts is a great place to search for free fonts.
Primary fonts are found on sites similar to Google Fonts but you will need to buy them. Others will also have access to these fonts.
Custom fonts are made specifically for your brand. In order to go this route, you’ll need to seek out a designer and pay a fee. The benefit here is that no one else can use this font.
Create a Brand Kit
Congratulations! Now you have all the key elements of a brand identity. In order to keep track of the colors, typography, and logo files, it’s helpful to create a brand kit. This is usually a PDF featuring your color codes, a reference list of your typography, and links out to your logo files. This is invaluable as you create new branded materials and bring on new staff to your marketing team.
I Have a Brand Identity – Now What?
With your new brand identity fully fleshed out, you can get to work creating or adjusting your website, designing packaging, and creating various online elements for social media. You can also work to create branded materials such as brochures, posters, uniforms, and apparel.
Do you need help maintaining your uniform program? How about creating stunning apparel and branded products? Accent Branding can help with that!
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