Think of your brand identity is the special sauce of your business that sets you apart from every other person on the block. And your brand identity design? It’s the meat and bones of your company.
But what exactly is brand identity? And how can you mould a strong brand identity that takes your business to the next level?
Laying it down…brand identity
Terms such as “brand identity, ” “branding,” and ““brand” are sometimes treated as interchangeable, but that’s not the case.
- Brand identity is the collection of all brand elements that the company creates to portray the right image of itself to the consumer.
- Branding involves the marketing practice of actively shaping a distinctive brand.
- Brand is the perception of the company in the eyes of the world.
Presume for a minute that you are an adolescent attending high school, awkward and desiring an invite to the best table in the cafeteria. But this is a perception you cannot impose on people, you need to develop it, and in order to do so you need to undertake some work.
Let’s then presume you undertake field work by watching YouTube and staying atop the latest memes, you rework your teach impressions, and more. All these elements assist you in acquiring your desired image and therefore constitute your branding.
Then comes the aesthetic, you save for the latest sneakers on the market, you initiate that new haircut, you join the sports teams – all these tangible aspects constitute your brand identity. It is what offers instant recognition and association.
Your audience will then draw connections between your brand identity and your product/service. Your identity is what harnesses a connection between you and your customers, assists in building loyalty and dictating how your customers will eventually perceive your brand.
How to build anawesome brand identity
Do you know who you are?
You need to know who you are and know what tangible elements you want to make up your brand identity.
Who you are as a brand is made up of a few key pieces:
- Your Why? – (Mission)
- Your drive – (What values & beliefs your have)
- Your voice – (How would you communicate your brand?)
- Your USP – (What differentiate you from your competition?)
- Your brand personality (What kind of personality would your brand have if it was a person?)
Before you start building your brand identity the above will define your brand and you must have a clear understanding of each point mentioned.
If you’re having trouble figuring out who exactly you are, don’t sweat it. Sometimes, all you need is a simple brainstorm to help you get clarity on who you are as a brand.
Sometimes we get brain freezes and find it difficult to figure out who we are. However a brainstorming session will help wonders and you’ll eventually figure this out, just ask yourself:
- Why did we start this business?
- What do we do better than anyone else?
- What are values that are important to us as a company?
- What makes us unique?
- Can we describe our brand in three words…if so, what would they be?
- What three words we would want our customers to use to describe us?
Ok lets start building the brand identity to show the people who you are, since your customers matters the most.
Design: the foundation of your brand identity
In the same fashion that Adidas was integral in building your brand identity during your years as a high-school athlete, your design is instrumental in building the brand identity of your company.
Design assets feature as the tangible elements that assist in determining the manner in which your brand is perceived. These tangible elements include the uniform your staff wears, your business cards, your graphics used on social media, your web design, your packaging, and your logo.
Ultimately, capturing the perfect design will equate to capturing the essence of your brand identity and subsequently will lead to the capacity to construct a successful business that often functions as a truthful representation of who you are as a brand.
Precisely how can you capture the perfect design and construct a brand that will catapult you to success?
Developing your brand design
Before you start creating your design assets, you need to start from the ground up and lock in the basics of your design structure: the building blocks of your brand identity.
The building blocks you’ll want to determine before you create your design assets include:
Typography refers to—you guessed it—the font (or type) you choose for your branding materials. There are four major types of typography:
- Serif fonts This classic typography is great if you want your brand to appear trustworthy, traditional, and just a little old school.
- Sans serif fonts are letters that have smooth edges and lack the anchor or “feet” of their serif counterparts. Sans serif fonts give a more sleek, modern feel to brands.
- Display fonts are kind of in a league of their own. Each display font has a specialized element, whether it’s an unusual shape to the letters, shadowing, outlines, or a more artistic edge. A display font is a great way to make a bold statement and create a brand identity people won’t forget.
- Script typography emulates cursive handwriting. These fonts (like Pacifico or Allura) can be a great way to add a luxurious or feminine feel to your brand. Choose wisely typography you choose will say a lot about your brand
Your potential customers will have psychological ties to different colors, and using colors strategically in your brand color palette can have a serious impact on how your brand is perceived by your audience.
Here are what the colors of the rainbow (and few extras) can do to help your brand identity:
- Red: Depicts exhilaration, buzz and passion. An excellent application if you connect your brand identity with youth, stimulation and loud character
- Yellow: Often representing sunshine, it is the epitome of joy. Yellow encapsulates cheer and is a great selection if you wish to associate the brand with fun, joviality and accessibility
- Pink: Largely representing femininity, and an excellent selection if your brand encapsulates femininity, targeting the female demographic, especially if paired with softness or luxury
- Green: Often easily applied without restrictions to any given situation or target demographic due to its adaptability. It is, however, often representative of money and nature. The application of green is particularly useful if your brand is linked to either of those things
- Orange: Depicts vitality, high spirits and zest. The application is particularly useful for brands that wish to appear jovial, approachable and vivacious. It is less frequent in public use compared to red, therefore will assist in projecting your uniqueness
- Purple: Often associated with royalty, and can be helpful when applied to brands that wish to project luxury
- Blue: Regarded as a highly appealing color in the spectrum, it projects stability and trustworthiness. In order to target a larger scope of the demographic, then blue functions as a way to get your demographic to trust you more
- Black: Effective when projecting the quality of modernity and sophistication
- Brown: Used far less frequently, but could play to your advantage. If applied, you can project yourself as unique, it can also instil your target demographic with notions that your brand is masculine, coarse, rugged and sturdy.
In terms of design, you also want to think about shape and form. This subtle but effective element that can be used to reinforce the desired reaction from your customers: so, for example, a logo that is all circles and soft edges will inspire a very different reaction from a logo that’s sharp and square.
Here’s how different forms can shape your brand identity (pun intended):
- Straight-edged shapes — like squares, triangles, and rectangles make people think efficiency and strength . The no-nonsense lines create a feeling of stability and trustworthiness, but you need to be careful: if the shapes aren’t balanced out with something fun, like dynamic colors, they can feel impersonal and fail to connect with your customers.
- Round shapes — like circles, ellipses and ovals are all about the warm and fuzzies. Brands that incorporate round shapes can create feelings of community, love and unity. Also the rounded edges can also be viewed as feminine.
- Straight lines also have their own implications: vertical lines suggest masculinity and strength while horizontal lines suggest tranquility and mellow .vibes.
Designing your brand identity
Once the foundation of your design is laid out, you can start to form your brand identity and communicate your brand via tangible design assets that will be implemented when marketing. The importance of design assets varies based on the nature of your business. A restaurant will consider laying the most importance on the menu and the table set up, but conversely, a digital marketing agency would focus primarily on their social media pages and their websites.
Common elements of brand identity include:
Business developers will need to keep additional business cards on hand. A business card that is well designed sets the tone for a positive opinion when it comes to potential clients or customers. Always rely on simplicity, for example your logo on one side, and when flipped, all the key details on the other.
Your logo is the cornerstone in your brand identity. When working with your designer, you want to aim for your logo to tick off the following boxes:
- Clearly communicates who you are and what you value as a brand;
- Is visually appealing: simple, clean and uncluttered goes a long way;
- Is classic, not trendy: the last thing you want is for your logo to go out of style in 6 months;
- Plays along with your industry’s standards—and if you veer off, do so deliberately;
- Makes a lasting impression on your audience.
You also want to make sure that your design partner delivers your logo in multiple formats (like a black and white version or multiple sizes) to ensure you always have the logo you need—and that each is in line with your brand identity.
Product packaging is critical when it comes to a product that is physical and requires attracting the right customers. Avoid underestimating the ability of good design when it comes to improving your customers experience, and ultimately hiking up your loyalty and repeat purchases.
One of the most important aspects of your brand identity is your website. Particularly if you’re running a digital product or ecommerce business, your customers will most certainly check your site out before deciding to do business with you. So your website is an essential piece of the pie in regards to your brand identity.
Email is a great way to engage your customers and drive business. But most people are at inbox overload, so if you want to grow your business via email, you need the right design strategy to set yourself apart from the clutter. Think about the purpose of the email.
Are you trying to make a personal connection? Then keep it short, sweet, and simple. Are you trying to educate? Then format it well so it’s easily readable and scannable and add a few images to make it pop. Are you trying to tell your customers about a new clothing line you launched? Make a few stunning product images the focus.
Create a brand style guide
Once your design assets are in place, you need to ensure the correct application of them, and in order to do so you need to create a brand style guide. A style guide is a document that outlines your design assets and offers indication to the reader as to when and how to use them, and what should be applied and what should be avoided.
This document will further allow your design to remain in line with your brand identity and instil the correct and relevant perception within your audience.
Wrapping it up…
Whats sets you apart from your competition is your brand identity, which tells your customers what your brand is and what they can expect from it.
Furthermore, in the event that you need your brand to be seen in a positive light, it’s pivotal that you nail your brand identity and produce designs that precisely depicts your identity to your customers.
Credit to Deanna deBara via 99designs and you can follow them @Twitter