When you think of Coca-Cola, red is probably the first thing that pops into your mind.
When you think of two golden arches, McDonald’s might come right from the top of your hand.
These are just a few examples of how visual brand identity can impact its recognizability and influence consumers’ perception of it.
In short, the visual brand identity represents the collection of all visual elements used by a company to depict the right image to its target audience. These elements include the logo, colors, typography, etc.
But creating a visual brand identity is more than just slapping a logo and picking a few colors. It’s about visually representing your brand: what it stands for, what it’s all about, and what sets it apart from other brands.
That said, a few crucial elements define a strong visual identity. So let’s take a look at them.
1. Establish Your Brand’s Personality
Think of your brand as the human embodiment of your company. It has its own values, aspirations, way of expressing its ideas, and most importantly, your brand has its own personality.
Defining your brand’s personality is a crucial first step in creating a solid identity.
First off, this helps you find a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. Moreover, establishing your brand’s personality will help you outline the visual style you will adopt and the overall voice and tone of your messaging.
This will ensure consistency within your brand image, allowing you to convey a more powerful message.
That said, take the time and identify a few key personality traits that could summarize your brand.
Consider writing down a few words that describe your brand most accurately. For instance, your brand might be more energetic or more settled down, or perhaps it may be more classy rather than sassy.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
Next up, you’ve got to know your audience through and through. Although brand identity has to reflect what your company is all about, it also has to make the message stick to your audience.
In other words, you’ll need to know what your audience’s pain points, needs, wants, personality types are and find a way to make your brand appear relatable to your customers.
One way to go around this is by creating a buyer persona. To put it differently, image who your ideal customers are, and answer the following questions:
- What’s the customers’ personality like?
- How old are they?
- What are their hobbies?
- What do they value the most?
- What problems do they have to deal with?
- How can you fix their problems?
Also, take a look at your competition to see how their customer base reacts to their brand identity.
3. Define Your Color Palette
Your color palette is the backbone of your brand identity.
For starters, the colors you pick are closely tied to how quickly people can recall your brand. Your color palette can increase brand awareness by up to 80% if done correctly.
Secondly, colors can influence first impressions by 90%. That’s because specific colors trigger specific emotional responses. Have you ever noticed that banks usually use blue within their branding?
That’s because blue is often associated with trust and security, which people look for when choosing the banks they want to work with.
Lastly, the color palette can effectively set you apart from your competitors.
Take a look at Netflix and Youtube, for example. Both video-streaming services use white, red, and black in their color palette.
Although these companies are differentiated, you might still confuse them with one another at a quick first glance. Then Twitch came up with purple, black, and white and stuck out like a sore thumb.
In other words, you’ve got to pick your colors carefully. This is also a matter of aligning your brand’s personality with your audience’s.
For instance, if your brand comes off as sophisticated and mainly targets a well-off audience, black could be your best bet.
But keep in mind not to stick to a single color. Otherwise, you could make your brand’s aesthetics feel bland.
This doesn’t mean you should use too many either, as it could make visual elements feel straining on the eyes and cluttered.
That said, it’s best to stick with four colors.
4. Create Your Logo
Like your color palette, the logo you use also serves as a point of identification.
It grabs attention, makes your business instantly recognizable, and it’s a symbol that describes the key elements of your brand in a nutshell.
Although sticking with a generic logo might seem tempting for the sake of simplicity, it may not be worth it. After all, how many coffee shops have you seen with a coffee mug or bean in their logo?
Maybe too many, right?
Your logo needs to bring out the elements that set your business apart from the others. Meanwhile, it has to be clean, simple, and straightforward to display these elements clearly.
Also, make sure that the logo design is timeless. You wouldn’t want your logo to fall out of fashion within the next few months.
Consider working with designers to ensure that your logo is top-notch. Or, if you’re the artsy type and don’t want to blow the budget, you can make one yourself.
5. Pick Your Fonts and Typography
Lastly, the fonts you pick and the way you arrange text also impact your brand identity.
Each font has its personality, and if chosen right, people can understand most of your message before they even get to read the words. Again, you need to pick the fonts that highlight your brand’s character and evoke the right emotions within your audience.
For instance, Serif fonts like Times New Roman or Georgia are classic and sophisticated. These fonts are used in upscale brands like Vogue and Tiffany & Co.
Decorative fonts, also known as display fonts, like Stencil or Desdemona, are fun, showy, and attention-grabbing. Companies that use this font type include Coca-Cola, Ford, and Subway.
Overall, the visual brand identity plays a crucial role in getting your brand’s message across. It highlights your brand’s personality, core values, and what sets it apart from the others. If done right, that is.
The first step is to define your brand’s character clearly. Otherwise, you won’t have anything to visualize in the first place.
Secondly, make sure you know your audience. Sure, building a great visual identity is crucial, but it won’t have a lasting effect if it doesn’t relate to your customers.
Lastly, pay attention to your visuals. The fonts, logo, and colors need to bring out your brand’s uniqueness and evoke specific emotions within your target audience.