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Insight November 27, 2018

The Quick Start Guide to Building Your Brand Identity

 

Developing a brand identity is an important part of building a successful business. After all, your brand identity is more than simply how your business looks. It defines who you are, what you look like, and how you communicate.

Before we discuss what goes in to creating a strong brand identity, let’s talk about the difference between the terms brand, branding, and brand identity.

Brand: Simply put, your brand is how consumers view your company. It’s the gut feeling customers have when they hear about or see anything related to your business. Whether you actively manage it or not, your business already has a brand that your customers recognize.

Branding: While you cannot force people to view your company a certain way, you can influence their perceptions through branding. It’s the marketing practice of shaping consumers’ perceptions of your product, service, or company.

Brand Identity: Marketers develop a set of brand elements (which we’ll cover in a moment) to project the right image to customers. Collectively, these elements create your brand identity.

So, your business already has a brand — but it may not be aligned with your business goals. It’s important that your brand reflects who you are, what your company has to offer, and the values you (and your customers) hold dear.

Building a strong brand identity can help create that connection between you and your target audience, develop loyalty among customers, and make your business instantly recognizable.

How do I create a brand identity?

Before you can start defining your brand identity, you need to define your brand personality. Some important questions to ask include:

  • Why did you start this business?
  • What beliefs and values do you uphold?
  • What do you do better than the competition?
  • What five words best describe your company?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • How do you want them to describe your company?

Once you’ve defined who you are, you can start producing a set of elements to bring your brand to life.

Designing Your Brand Identity

During the brand design process, you’ll take the information you’ve gathered about your company’s goals, needs, and target audience and use it to help define the visual identity of your brand. This visual language is a critical part of your brand identity, and each element helps to create an instantly recognizable brand.

The three core elements that make up your visual brand identity are typography, color palette, and logo.

Typography: Choosing the right font style is a lot like picking the right outfit. It says a lot about your business, so it’s important to choose wisely. Different font styles have certain traits associated with them. Here, we cover the four major types of typography, which can help narrow down your search for the perfect font.

  • Serif (e.g., Times New Roman): Defined by the little “feet” or serifs that extend from each letter, these typefaces are easy to read in print. Commonly used in body texts, books, and brochures, serif fonts are also associated with trustworthy and traditional businesses.
  • Sans Serif (e.g., Helvetica): Sans serif typefaces are defined by their lack of “feet” or serifs. Generally, sans serif fonts are believed to be more legible online, so they are the standard for many websites, social media platforms, and email networks. The sleek design also gives a more modern feel to brands.
  • Script (e.g., Pacifico): Based on handwriting, these fluid typefaces can be formal and elegant, as well as casual and fun. Businesses that want to add an air of luxury or appeal to a more feminine audience often use script fonts.
  • Display: When you want to make a bold statement or create a brand identity that your customers won’t forget, a display font is the way to go. These typefaces are in a category of their own. They tend to be very stylized and designed for a specific use (e.g., the Disney logo).

 

Color Palette: People have psychological ties to different colors, so your color choice can play a significant role in developing your brand identity. Customers typically make an initial judgement on a product within 90 seconds — and about 62-90 percent of that judgement is based on color. You should think strategically about what you want your customers to feel when they think of your brand and choose your color palette accordingly.

  • Red – passion, attention, anger
  • Orange – vitality, playfulness
  • Yellow – energy, happiness, warning
  • Green – nature, wealth, security
  • Blue – calmness, trust, professionalism
  • Purple – royalty, luxury, creativity
  • Pink – femininity, sophistication, sincerity
  • Brown – earth, strength, old-fashioned
  • Black – powerful, modern, edgy
  • Gray – neutral, subdued, conservative
  • White – healthy, innocence, purity

When it comes to combining colors, you also want to consider how your individual color choices will work together to tell your brand story. Consider these three common color schemes and how they create different feelings and effects on customers:

  • Complementary Colors: Using colors on opposite sides of the color wheel can create a bold, dynamic look. This color scheme is used to draw attention and can be effective in small doses.
  • Analogous Colors: By mimicking the colors in our natural environment, you can create a calm and relaxed feeling. This color scheme uses three colors that are side by side on the color wheel.
  • Triadic Colors: Using colors that are spaced evenly around the color wheel, this color scheme creates a lively and harmonious design. Typically, one color is the primary while the other two are used to complement.

 

Logo: Your logo is the cornerstone of your brand identity. It’s the face of your brand and the mark that will identify your business to customers at every touchpoint. In addition to being recognizable, it’s important to make sure that your logo is visually appealing and communicates who you are and what you value as a brand.

Most importantly, you’ll want to have a logo that grows with your brand, so you must think strategically about whether it will still be appropriate/relevant in the future. The last thing you want is to sit down and redesign a trendy logo six months to a year or even a few years from now.

Once you have an outline for your visual brand identity, make sure your assets are used in the right way. We’ll cover how to create your brand style guide in a future blog post. So, if you want to know how to develop a document that outlines your brand assets, when and how to use them, and the dos and don’ts for your brand, subscribe to infernotes today.