Brand identity is how you want your brand to look, feel and speak to your customers. A brand identity consists of both internal (voice, mission, values, etc.) and external (like colors and fonts) aspects of your brand. You must combine both these branding aspects to achieve a visual brand identity that attracts customers.
Creating an external or visual brand identity is no simple task. First, do some research into your brand’s internal aspects – target audience, brand personality, mission, goals, and benefits. Once you have these ‘philosophical’ aspects laid out, you can focus on the looks of your brand. Here’s how to create a visual brand identity in more detail:
Define Your Audience
Every brand has an ideal audience. For example, your brand could appeal more to people aged 15-25. Naturally, you’d want to base your visuals, tone and attitude on the preferences of younger people. Find your ideal customers by asking yourself these questions:
- What is their age, gender, income and education level?
- What type of interests and lifestyle do they have?
- Do they have specific concerns?
- What services/products are they looking for?
- What other brands do they like?
If you want to refine your audience targeting, you can get a good idea of who your audience is by looking at social media analytics.
Your logo should be simple, distinct and should properly represent your brand’s mission and personality. A great logo can also help you picture the visual style of your brand.
Choose no more than three main colors for your logo and make sure it looks good in black-and-white too. Check out why a great logo is important for your business.
It’s easier to choose the color palette for your brand once you’ve decided on a logo. If your logo is mostly purple, base your brand’s imagery and visuals on the same color.
An interesting note here is color psychology. Colors influence our emotions and decisions. Purple, for example, can inspire creativity and luxury. The same color palette should be used on your website, email signature, prints and stationery, banners, etc.
Fonts speak to your audience on a deeper level than words, so the fonts you choose can influence a client’s opinion of you. It’s up to you if you choose serif or non-serif fonts. However, make sure to choose no more than 3 typefaces, with at least two being of the same family, and optionally one contrasting (an accent font – fun, creative or quirky). Just stay away from Comic Sans!
Moreover, your target audience may influence the fonts you choose (“old” typefaces like Jenson and Palatino, or “human” typefaces like Myriad and Verdana). Also keep in mind that some typography trends come and go – make sure to pick one that will last for years.
You don’t necessarily need to have photos on all the pages of your website or all print materials. But if you want to, decide on a particular image style to suit your brand voice, logo and color palette. Is it better to use drawings, vector images, realistic photos, or another type of image?
Icons should also be consistent with your visual brand identity. Furthermore, if you have regular content to post in photos, do you have a template for those photos? The same applies to videos.
Brand Identity Guide
To ensure that your design team uses your brand’s visuals and voice consistently, you may need a brand identity guide. It’s typically a document used as a reference to creating a unified look and feel in marketing materials.
A brand identity guide consists of logo specifications, the chosen color palette, the chosen typeface styles and stationery design examples. Learn more about why you should have a brand identity guide.
As long as you choose a visual brand identity that suits your business, you’ll have no problem applying that style in your marketing materials. Just be sure that your visual brand identity is expressed uniformly.