Designing Your Visual Brand Identity – Three Steps For Success
Your brand identity is about more than how your business conducts itself online – appearances matter, too. Here are a few design tips to ensure you’re making a great impression there, too.
Branding is about more than logos, conversation, and pretty words. To create a truly effective brand identity, you need to attend to the visual side of things, too. You need to consider not just how people look at your brand, but how they see it.
Confused? Don’t worry, it’s simpler than you’d think. At its core, your brand’s identity consists of the following components:
- Positioning. What’s your brand’s motivation? Why does your brand exist, and what purpose does it serve?
- Personality. How does your brand come across when communicating with customers? This is the aspect you’re probably most familiar with, as it’s the one that most frequently surfaces in discussions about branding.
- Research. Who is your audience? What appeals to them, and why do they like your brand?
- Appearance. This is the one we’re here to discuss – essentially, this refers to every visual element associated with your brand.
Your brand already stands out in positioning and personality. Today, let’s talk about how you can help it excel in appearance, too.
Understand The Basic Components
Before proceeding, a word of caution – don’t start thinking about your brand’s visual identity until you’ve nailed down your core values, mission statement, and target audience. Proceeding without a solid understanding of those three elements will lead to a visual identity that’s muddled, jarring, and at odds with what your brand really is.
With that out of the way, your brand’s visual identity consists of:
- A color palette. This should consist of one to three primary colors with two to four ‘accent’ colors. Look, for example, at LinkedIn’s guidelines on corporate color palettes – they chose their colors carefully to work with their corporate palette and to fit with their brand’s personality.
- A logo. Choose a logo that you think best represents your brand’s values and mission.
- Fonts. The typography on your website and corporate messaging says a lot about your brand. Just be sure to stay away from comic sans (and its ugly cousins).
- Photography. Photos on your blog posts and on your website should convey your brand identity just as firmly as your behavior on social.
(Actually) Understand Color Psychology
Like it or not, color is a powerful persuasive tool, but maybe not for the reasons you think. See, although certain colors do tend to convey certain emotions and ideas, they’re also shaped by our own preferences, experiences, cultural background, and upbringing. What I’m trying to say in a really roundabout fashion is that everyone experiences color differently.
So…if that’s true, why bother trying to use color as a marketing tool? Why not just pick the colors you feel are prettiest and roll with those?
Because your target audience will, as a general rule, all respond to certain colors in a particular way. By understanding how they think and knowing how different colors will influence them, you can make a smart choice about which ones to use in your brand’s visuals. The key here, according to the Helpscout blog, is to pick colors that mesh with your brand’s identity- and how people experience it – rather than picking colors to create the experience.
“When it comes to picking the “right” color, research has found that predicting consumer reaction to color appropriateness is far more important than the individual color itself,” the blog reads. “If Harley owners buy the product in order to feel rugged, colors that work best will play to that emotion.”
Remember To Keep It Simple
At the end of the day, your brand’s visual identity should convey a few simple messages or emotions. You need to drill down to the core of who and what you are, and present that to your audience. Don’t try to do too much.
Look at all the most popular brands in the world. Google. Amazon. Apple. McDonald’s. Their marketing and messaging is not, for the most part, cluttered or complex. They’re simple – everyone knows what they are and what they do.
And everyone knows what they stand for, as well. By keeping your brand simple and easily-understandable, you’ll ensure that your audience is never left scratching their head about who you are. They’ll be much likelier to buy your products and services as a result.
Your brand’s visual identity is just as important as its personality, even if the two are closely related. You cannot have one without the other. Remember that moving forward, and you’ll be just fine.
Author Bio: Brad Wayland is the Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.