Building your Visual Branding Strategy
Each day, you are bombarded with logos, fonts, colours that all fight for your attention. A disconnected rainbow of imagery that pushes you to buy some product, service, or way of life. This is not the result of some mistake, but rather a meticulous visual branding strategy that bridges the gap from the aforementioned visual elements and your audience. Now, move away from the advertisements and look around at the people around you, paying attention to the brands they associate themselves with.
When I say that, I don’t mean to look around the restaurant and mark down the people who are drinking Pepsi because this store doesn’t have Coke. I’m talking about the person who went out of their way to pick up a backpack made out of recycled components. The people who carry their Swell bottle proudly because they resonate with that brand’s environmental efforts. The people like you and me who have made conscious decisions with their purchases. People who care about where something comes from and the people behind it. Those who can spot a brand out of a thousand because they recognize it amongst the swarm of other similar logos and colours. I’m talking about those who value a visual brand strategy and its ability to inspire action.
What is a Brand’s Visual Identity
A brand’s identity is much more than its visual components, but for the sake of this blog, we’ll keep it simple and just focus on the parts that we can see. Some may say these are the most important parts of the brand, and as a multimedia designer, I would be more than inclined to agree.
These visual elements include your logo, colours, fonts, or any other visual components that differentiate your brand from another. When these components come together, they will evoke a feeling that will tell the story of how your brand is understood by each and every person who comes across it—at least it should.
The Key Steps in Identifying your Brand Identity
I’ve mentioned a laundry list of items that make up a visual brand in that previous section, but a laundry list is no way to learn how to build your business’s visual brand. So let’s give a shot at breaking it down into easily digestible components.
A logo is the stamp of your company; the badge of honour that you put into your products, your merch, your output to let the world know that this item stands with you and your brand.
However, it’s so much more than that. Your logo defines the form and substance of your company, bridging the gap from the unknown into the recognizable. Ultimately, it is what people will remember about your brand beyond your interaction with them.
When creating a logo, simplicity is king. A good rule of thumb is that if someone can draw it in ten seconds, then you’ve done a good job. Think the Nike swoosh, McDonald’s golden arches, Apple’s apple. I’d be willing to bet that if you put a pen in your hand you could draw each of those from memory (although I may have created a biased test by showing them to you up top). This is the power of a simple design. It becomes memorable, recognizable, and according to Siegal + Gale’s 2015 study titled Logos Now, people outright prefer them.
When it comes to font, the key thing is personality. Pick fonts that suit your style and brand sentiment. A financial brand may benefit from a serif font because of its traditional look which inspires confidence and trust; while a lifestyle-focused brand may prefer a sans-serif font that speaks towards their modern and clean aesthetic.
However, this does not always ring true. It is worth taking the time to review a series of fonts from sites such as Adobe Fonts or Google Fonts to find which font suits your brand the best. You’ll also need to find the ways in which you can match fonts to broaden the horizons of your typographic treatment.
Like your font, you should use colours that relate to your brand sentiment. Brands with great colour schemes did not come across it by accident. These choices are vital in presenting your audience with the right message for your brand. When picking colours for your brand, take into account the psychological aspects of each colour. On the below graphic, you will see tech brands IBM, Facebook, HP, and Intel each with the colour blue.
The reason that each of these brands use the colour blue is that this particular colour is associated with trust. Each of these brands want their audience to feel safe with their data, to feel safe with their product, and overall, to feel safe with their brand. These psychological cues are important to understand as they dramatically shape the way your audience understands your brand.
For tools to use, I would recommend using something akin to Adobe Color to not only pick a strong core colour, but also creating a harmony of colours to compliment it.
Implementing a Visual Branding Strategy
As mentioned, there are numerous components that define a brand; things like imagery, iconography, medium, among many others. While all of these other components are vital in creating a cohesive style for your brand, we have covered the basics that will set you on the right path in defining your company’s visual branding strategy.
To ensure that everyone in your business is on the same page, it is vitally important to create a centralized document that everyone can access. This document should include your logos in their various formats, all your fonts and where to download them, and all your brand colours in their varying colour formats. With all these pieces in place, you will be primed and ready in driving your visual brand forward and engaging with your audience with succinct messaging.
If this is all too daunting, you can always hire an outside agency to create an exciting brand for you that goes far beyond what we’ve covered in this article. At Consultus Digital, can help you and your brand take this leap. With our internal creative studio, we can handle all your brand’s needs ranging from visual branding, web development, and content. Feel free to contact us and we can chat about how we can work together.