In this article we discuss Everything You Should Know About Visual Branding.
People owe their first impressions of a brand to the visuals. 90% of the information that is transmitted to our brain is visual information: we understand it better, faster, and it is on its basis that we begin to build the first conclusions.
Before starting to read any text or even a short headline, people involuntarily pay attention to the color palette, fonts and logos. You have a few seconds to form a certain foundation in the head of consumers engaging with your brand visuals, on which his or her further contact with your brand depends. And if something goes wrong, the texts may no longer help.
You need to be fluent in the language of visual elements, as the first impression depends on their effective use. As you know, it is almost unalterable and often solves everything.
In order to be able to convey your message to the audience through the visual in the form you intended, you need to understand the role and power of each of them. We are here to dot the i’s and cross the t’s in this matter.
Table of Contents
Key Components of a Visual Identity
Communicating with a prospect and building emotional attachment through shapes, fonts and colors can seem like a daunting task: there are so many variations, combinations, and potential misunderstandings.
But this is what visual identity is responsible for. It consists of several key elements.
What Identifies You: Logo
One can argue for a long time about what has a decisive effect on a person: shape, color, the presence or absence of serifs in fonts, complex or simple graphic elements, etc. But visual exposure to your brand starts with the logo.
You don’t need to read texts or think long enough to recognize Apple’s iconic bitten apple. You can easily distinguish the laconic Google Chrome browser logo from the stylized fox of Mozilla Firefox.
This is your brand mark, through which you say “Hello, it’s me” without words and no one has any questions about what “me” is talking about.
Along with instant identification, the logo should immediately convey your message, which forms the foundation of the brand.
This should happen on an emotional, intuitive level: the kaleidoscope of associations and comparisons that form in a split second in the brain of people at the sight of a logo should eventually (and ideally) lead them to what you preach.
The logo can be very simple – hardly anyone thinks that the Nike check mark claims complexity – but it takes a long time to develop, rework and modify.
This simple checkmark shape encodes fluidity, speed and movement, and also resembles a wing and hints that the brand name is associated with the Greek goddess of victory.
Therefore, the logo should not contain a single meaningless line. In every corner, turn or shape, quality is encoded with which you want to associate.
You can’t just take and create a logo without thinking about its semantic content. But with the help of logo professionals, your raw sketches, thoughts and desires can take the optimal shape, which will become the starting point for customers to get to know your brand.
Think about the main thing you want to say to the client, write it down on a separate sheet, and start brainstorming with someone good at navigating the tangled paths of visuals.
What Characterizes You: Color
Unbelievable but true: color boosts brand awareness by up to 80%. Each of us has favorite colors that evoke positive associations, pleasant memories, or just a burst of peace.
It is not for nothing that professionals devote a huge amount of time to the selection of the brand’s color palette: your final choice will be decisive in the question of what the first emotional associations of a person will be.
Brand colors, which first show themselves in a logo and then shimmer with the rest of your attributes, create a certain environment that stays in people’s minds and helps them characterize you even before the first contact with your product.
The doctrine of colors is a very subtle matter: color can not only evoke strong emotion, but also stimulate action, and your task is to do this so that your color palette attracts, not repels people.
It’s important to note that it’s impossible to make a clear list of color-matching guidelines for branding outside of the context in which your business operates. For example, there is a general statement that green stands for serenity.
But when the context appears, we see that it can be associated with both acute environmental problems and complex financial manipulations.
The takeaway is that colors only come into play when they can be used in accordance with the desired brand identity. Without this context, choosing one color over another doesn’t make much sense.
Start with the main characteristics of your business, after which you can string colors on them, like pearls on the thread of a future necklace.
What Clarifies You: Graphic Elements
You have your color palette and logo – that’s a lot of power. But to reinforce it, you need clear and structured consistency in all the graphic elements that people will see when they further familiarize themselves with your brand.
What is meant by graphic elements? This is what makes up the visual interface:
- counters, etc
The worst thing that can happen is adding template elements without giving them a brand uniqueness. No one says it will completely ruin your business, but it will definitely break the integrity of the experience and prevent you from focusing on what you want to highlight.
At the same time, spending some time creating graphic elements unified with the general style and colors will help you guide the visitor around the site as if by hand, sympathetically talking about the main attractions and prioritizing important checkpoints.
What Shapes You: Typography
Visual integrity does not tolerate randomness. Therefore, you cannot do without choosing your unique corporate font.
What role will it play? It helps to attract the attention of the consumer, facilitates visual perception and memorability of the company’s image.
A corporate font can emphasize the uniqueness of the style, form a unified brand concept and highlight its reputation.
Psychologists have found that each type of font evokes different emotions in the reader. For example:
- Handwritten fonts – friendliness, expressing a desire to establish a good relationship with the consumer.
- Sans-serif fonts – reliability, practicality.
- Serif fonts – lightness, comfort.
- Slab serif fonts – friendliness, openness.
- Straight and angular fonts – seriousness, severity.
When choosing a font, you should follow some rules:
- Readability. This is true for any size and color. Only if this condition is met, the consumer be able to understand the essence of your message and then the corporate identity design will play into your hands.
- Relevance. The font should be associated with the area of the company. Fancy and ornate letters are inappropriate for an IT company, but can be very useful for an antique salon.
- Compatibility. If you use several fonts, then they must be perfectly combined, otherwise, the perception of information by the consumer may be impaired.
When choosing a font, evaluate the appearance of the font when used in different sizes and colors. Estimate the outline of the letters and their individual elements. Choose the optimal font size that does not affect the perception of information.
What Illustrates You: Pictures
There is not always a place for images on the site. Sometimes what we have already covered may be enough.
But if you think that photos will be able to tell your consumer something else, or it is impossible to convey some kind of information without them, then you need to understand how to use them correctly.
First and foremost, illustrations should be consistent with all other visual elements and not stand apart from the rest of your color palette.
Further, it is important that they evoke clear associations with the main characteristics of your brand.
A blanket store requires cozy home photographs, a photo studio – clear, detailed and comprehensive information describing all the premises and the props in them.
When choosing a specific filter for photos, be consistent and use it everywhere, including the materials you post on social networks.
When choosing between copyright and stock photos, remember that the latter option is available to everyone.
This means that your client can easily come across the same photo of you and your competitor, which will cause unpleasant thoughts and associations.
A photo can be the final touch that completes the formation of your brand image and directly affects the further customer behavior and final impression.
So if you do use it, do it wisely.
A competent combination of the elements described above opens up amazing possibilities for communication exclusively with visual images without using a single word.
This special language works proactively: the person does not have time to figure out how your message is already appearing in his or her head.
Therefore, it is very important that this message is transmitted correctly. Set clear goals and get to work: you have to do a lot, but the result is worth it.
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Nancy P. Howard works as an editor at guest posting service Adsy . She is also a professional writer in such topics as blogging, IT and marketing.