Today’s business ecosystem is highly competitive, each player trying to compete with unique brand identities. In this article we discuss the Key Elements of a Strong Visual Brand Identity.
If you’re a business owner, you also need to stand out from the crowd, and that requires an attractive and memorable logo design. A strong brand is what stands behind a successful product.
When it comes to choosing a brand, customers leave no stone unturned. They not only look for quality, reliability, but also visual identity. It’s up to the brand, how it’s gonna win the trust of their target audience.
Moreover, visual brand identity is what shapes a perception. It’s what creates an impression using the visual elements. When you don’t want to communicate through words, images emerge as a powerful way of communication.
Images are more persuasive and connect on an emotional level. But you have to be extra cautious as a brand. After all, you don’t want to send the wrong message to your audience.
To ensure your brand is reflecting the right message, here, we bring you a guide that will help you create an effective visual identity.
As per Neilsen’s New Product Innovation Survey, 59% of the respondents tend to purchase a new product from the brands they’re familiar with, while 21% prefer to buy a product from their favorite brands.
Generally, people think that branding is the job of the marketing specialists only, but it’s not like that. Any graphic designer can strike off this misconception right away.
As per Paul Rand — a renowned American designer — “Design is the silent ambassador of the brand.”
A design is not just about creating a visual illustration; it requires proper planning to achieve specific goals. Big companies usually have a clear understanding of this.
To achieve success, they try to include every form of design in their strategy.
But before we proceed, let’s understand what visual identity is.
What Exactly is a Visual Identity?
Visual identity consists of all the graphical and imagery details that express a brand and its specialty. In simple words, it includes a logo design, the interior of a store, and other aspects that people can physically see.
Visual identity includes a brand style guide that gives reliable instructions on the visual representation of the brand in any circumstances.
To put it simply, the visual identity of a brand is nothing but a symbol combined with many graphics and visual elements that create an atmosphere about the brand.
A visual identity involves its views & values of society and the world. It differentiates itself from other brands. Simply put, a visual identity describes everything that audiences can physically see—from the logo design to the company’s interior design.
Your brand’s visual identity often culminates in the building of your brand’s style guide that provides consistent instructions on how you should represent your brand visually—at all times and in all situations.
Why to Use a Visual Identity
Businesses use a visual identity because:
- They want to create emotional bonding with the audience
- They unify several different elements of their business through consistent visuals.
- They want to inform viewers about their products or services and the general nature of their companies.
Difference Between Visual Identity and Brand Identity
Both — visual identity and brand identity are coherently related.
On the other hand, brand identity is a holistic expression of things that make the brand what it is. Brand identity includes visual identity and non-visual elements like a mission statement, copy editing guides, core values, brand voice, etc.
While visual identity is a unique discipline that entails a different approach altogether and a thought process from the brand identity.
Although there’s overlap, there are generally other professions involved in each of them.
Visual identity involves creative directors, designers, and marketers overseeing brand identity.
To put it simply, brand identity expresses who a brand is on the inside, while visual identity identifies who a brand is on the outside.
Key Elements of a Strong Visual Brand Identity
A brand is said to have its own visual language, which is called its visual identity. And its individual elements combined together give it a meaningful form.
These elements contribute significantly to making a consistent identity.
To create an excellent visual brand identity, two key aspects can be further divided into seven ingredients:
- Design (such as typography, logo, colours)
- Design strategy (such as community, branding, culture, quality)
Logo Design: The logo is the face of your company by which your target audiences recognize, and hence the most vital visual brand identity.
This graphical symbol represents your company.
It helps people recognize your company and products. It usually consists of an image or text, and sometimes a combination of both.
In other words, a logo is the primary element of any brand’s visual identity. It is usually a tiny graphical symbol that works as the face of the company.
A well-designed logo is instantly recognizable and has the power to attract potential clients. If you’re a small company or running on a lower budget, hiring an agency can’t be feasible for you.
Look at working with a graphic designer or small creative studio to get the best strategic results for your business.
Colour Strategy: It is an important communication tool that brands widely use to lure customers by bringing changes in their moods and creating emotional bonding.
According to the research conducted by the Institute of Colour Research, every human being makes a subconscious opinion about a person, environment, or an item based on colour alone.
Choosing the right tone for the logo can be a little tricky. It’s best to create a ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ palette. While the primary palette helps build a brand identity, the secondary palette helps support a primary palette.
It’s to be noted that one should include values for Pantone, RGB, and CMYK with the colour palette. You should also make sure that the colour that you choose to get fit in the logo.
It’s because your logo will appear everywhere — from pockets to advertising materials and the website.
Typography: Since a properly designed logo is a mixture of art and business; typography helps achieve the balance between the two.
The most famous and used fonts: Helvetica, Futura, and Century taught us that ‘less’ is ‘more.’ Like the image or icon in the logo, typography has the ability to convey a message.
That’s why choosing the right typography is crucial for a great logo design. A wrong choice of typography can dampen your brand image.
Brand Strategy: Brand strategy aims to build a good reputation of the company among the target audience.
All companies—small or large—pay utmost heed to develop a fail-proof, study-based strategy to sail through the cut-throat competition by establishing themselves as a reliable brand target audience that can blindly trust them for their high-quality services and products.
So, a thoughtfully created brand strategy is crucial for running a successful business. It can help you build a unique personality — a reason for your target audience to choose your products or services over your competitors.
Quality: It is also an essential element that defines a company through its policies, procedures, and responsibilities.
Customers love to purchase a brand that offers quality products.
Quality of corporation not only reflects in products or services but also in how the business is doing, how it handles its prospects or clients.
The same goes for corporate website design too.
Community: Creating a brand community that conveys your brand message clearly is an important business activity.
But building one such community isn’t a cakewalk for every business, especially start-ups or small businesses.
Unfortunately, not all companies pay considerable care to create a strong brand community. Instead, they usually tend to overlook this essential business aspect.
Apple was the first company that realized this vital value. This electronic major built a dedicated community revolving around its products that finally paid off well in the long run.
Word-of-mouth marketing is considered the best way to create such a community.
Culture: Community and culture are two different things—you shouldn’t be confused with them. In fact, culture is the knowledge, values, and tastes that get support from the community.
They are also shared by the community. If a company has formed a community around its products, it doesn’t mean that it will have a healthy culture.
A lousy culture can ruin the reputation in front of the prospects.
A strong brand identity is the face of the brand that includes various key elements. It is seen across channels that give consumers a sense of the brand’s personality.
Before exploring the creative interpretation and design approach, you should clearly understand your brands’ purpose, values, and positioning.
If your company looks and feels doesn’t match your actions, there will be a gap between your corporate identity and brand image.
By considering the above design elements, you will be able to create an impactful corporate identity.
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*TIP – Looking to learn logo design? We recommend the Logo Design Online Masterclass, it will teach you how to plan, design and execute logo designs. The course has also had great feedback from the design community.
Henny Kel is a digital marketer, brand consultant, and business strategist with Designhill, a reliable marketplace for logo design, business cards, web design, T-shirt printing, and other graphic design products. With extensive experience working both client side and within the agency environment, he has authored several articles on topics related to digital marketing, business strategies, and content marketing.