Visual Brand Identity
Your brand identity is made up of tangible, recognizable brand elements that work as a cohesive whole. The main objective of every brand identity is to create something distinct and recognizable by customers. Looks matter. Your visual brand identity is what will catch people’s eyes, and you want to make sure it leaves an aesthetically pleasing, memorable impression.
The identity brings your brand to life and turns it into an experience, something anyone can interact with. Your brand identity comprises distinguishing verbal and visual features, as well as an overall personality. Developing an identity element such as the logo is potentially the most creative part of the branding process.
A common misconception is that a logo is a brand but it is only one stage in the process of branding. However, it would be wrong to underestimate the role of logo design. It is the main ingredient of your brand identity, the most prominent symbol of brand image, and the foundation of effective marketing strategy enabling its connection with the target audience. But you need more than one ingredient to bring your brand to life and turn it into an experience, something anyone can interact with.
Your brand identity comprises these distinguishing verbal and visual features:
Your logo design is what sets your brand identity apart from competitors. As the main representative of a brand, your logo practically drives the rest of the brand design.
When working with a logo designer or branding agency, you want to make sure you are checking these important points off the list to make sure your logo:
- Clearly communicates who you are and aligns with your brand values and message;
- Is classic and timeless, not trendy. You don’t want your logo to be redesigned 6 months later after following a trend;
- Is visually appealing: simple, clean, and easily recognizable;
- Makes a lasting impression on your audience.
- Is responsive and versatile: works in black and white and in small and larger sizes.
We have psychological ties to different colors, and using branding colors and logo colors strategically can have a serious impact on how your brand is perceived by your audience.
The colors used in all your brand visuals need to work harmoniously with your identity. Market research combined with the practical aspects of color psychology can help you find the perfect trade-off.
Typography refers to—you guessed it—the font (or type) you choose for your branding materials. It’s important to choose logo fonts and brand fonts wisely. Having only a few main font types for your brand works well for consistency and recognition. With too many fonts, you lose that effect.
There are four basic types of fonts you can work with to give your logo a unique look; serif, san serif, script, and display fonts. When combining different logo fonts with each other, your typography can become really powerful.
With so many branding elements to pick and choose, you need to determine which serves your brand best.
If your company sells a tangible product, imagery and visuals are most important; for a service-oriented brand, other forms of expression like testimonials or branded blog articles work better.
Brand Style Guide
Last but not least is the style guide. Brand style guides go a long way to ensuring the success of your branding process.
The guidelines make up the set of rules of how your new identity should be used through all media. It’s a tool to help ensure consistent implementation of identity elements across all touchpoints.
Identity Guidelines Include
Where and how to use your logo, including minimum sizes, spacing, monochrome usage, etc.
The rules and proportions of using the colors, what colors should and should not be combined, as well as the color breakdowns for print and screen.
The info on the specific fonts and details of the font family, as well as the functional font pair information and the usage/combination rules.
Image Style, Illustrations, Photography Usage
These guidelines are optional, depending on the chosen visual style.
Graphic Elements Usage
Graphic style and elements are what make up the whole identity system. We provide the guidelines and tutorials (if needed) to ensure that your marketing or design team can easily use the identity and keep it consistent.
All the branded items that were included in the package (e.g., app icon, business card, social media templates) are collected together with the assets for easy access.
As You Can See
Brand identity design can be a tricky, even intimidating process.
That is the reason for plenty of companies including startups to trust this essential task to professional designers and creatives. Research shows that the brand identity process, a thought-out to the slightest details and tested path, is worth the time and monetary investment.
Here’s a guide to the flow that your designer—or you—should follow for best results.
- Research + Pen and Paper
- Moodboards / Styles-capes
By using mood boards (or collages, if you will), you’ll be able to set the visual direction. Think Pinterest.
- Idea Mapping
This technique is used to pour out all your ideas into an organized fashion. There are no good or bad ideas, all of the ideas are put down as soon as they pop into your head. Not all of them stick, but they need to be put out there.
- Sketching Concepts
Take a lot of the ideas from the previous step and turn them into conceptual sketches. The goal here is to visualize those ideas in low fidelity form.
- Moodboards / Styles-capes
- Internal Review & Feedback
- Review the concept sketches and generate feedback to be incorporated in the next step. Choose 4–6 concept directions that can go in the digitization phase.
- Logo Concepts Review & Narrowing of Options
- Each chosen concept from Step 02 will be digitized. These will be primarily in black and white and the logos should be tested in both black on white background, and vice versa. A logo must work in black and white to be a responsive, versatile, and effective logo. After you’ve reviewed the logo concepts, it’s time to choose 1-2 concepts for further development/iterations.
- Final Iterations
- Based on the concepts that you’ve decided on, start finalizing their orientation and layout. All concepts are still presented in black and white. Almost to the color stage, we promise.
- Client Approval
- Rock on! You have chosen the final versions of all the iterations from the previous step.
- Color Palette
- It’s color time, baby! Try out a variety of color palette options and variations, including some that are distinct from what you maybe had in mind originally. Then narrow it down to the palette that most (1) reflects your brand persona and (2) appeals to/resonates with your target market.
- Prepare Assets & Files
- Create the final logos pack in ai, pdf, eps, svg, png file formats of every color variation, so that you’re prepared for any and all ways of using your assets.