Human beings are visual.
In contrast to dolphins or dogs, who rely on hearing and scent, people communicate with the outside world through visual cues.
Our culture’s fascination with beauty has persisted over the ages, from Renaissance paintings to TikTok reels. It’s simpler than ever to consume, produce, and share visual content as we spend more time on social media platforms.
Given its abundance of it, it should come as no surprise that brands today need to create a distinctive visual identity that can survive. Famous graphic designer and art director Paul Rand said, “Design is the silent ambassador of your company.”
Each visual component must be thoroughly thought out, from a logo’s design to the colour schemes you choose.
We will discuss visual identity in this article, including its importance and how to create one that can change as your brand does.
What is a visual identity?
A brand’s visual identity design is made up of a variety of visual components that serve to represent and distinguish it. It specifically refers to any observable elements, like a logo or brand colors, that aid consumer in recognizing a brand. This increases brand identification by combining all branding elements into one style.
Visual identity, built on the foundation of your brand identity and described in your brand style guide, promotes your core values and brand promise through visible means. A great visual identity aids in telling your brand’s story while utilizing consistent and purposeful images to aid in communication.
Customers’ prolonged exposure to your brand will eventually build connections and produce emotional reactions, which are frequently sparked by visual signals.
Why is a visual identity effective?
Are your graphic components appropriate for your target audience? Does your artwork convey the desired feeling? Make sure each image linked to your brand is suitable for a specific audience, use, or circumstance.
Make sure your visual identity stands out in the eyes of customers and sets itself apart from rivals. Does it look familiar? Will customers recall it?
Good designs are straightforward to comprehend. Keep it simple to enhance clarity for your customers and internal designers.
Timeless: Visual identities must grow with a brand and should be relatively malleable and versatile. Create a visual identity that will stand the test of time and remain relevant.
Functionality: Can it be simply replicated across all platforms? Remember that your visual assets will be used in the interior, print, and internet spaces. Your visual brand ought to support this.
Brand identity differs from visual identity.
You can think of your brand as a human body since brands are like living, breathing organisms.
Together, your brand and visual identities support a healthy being. As a result, when we talk about a brand’s identity, we mean its more “internal components,” including its mission, voice, and personality. Visual identity expresses things “physically or on the outside,” such as logo designs, brand colours, and typography.
Together, they build a whole (and distinctive) identity. Together, these two frameworks serve the common objective of building a brand.
Components of a compelling visual identity
Each component of branding functions in concert to form a cohesive identity that conveys your brand’s visual language. The following are some of the elements that go into creating your visual identity:
Your logo, in a nutshell, is a mark that quickly recognizes your company. A good logo completely embodies a brand and inspires a good emotion. It may use colours, forms, typography, and occasionally a tagline. Regardless of the style of a logo your company uses, it should support the communication of your brand identity.
A wordmark logo made up of the company name is a good option for firms that want their name to stand out. Perhaps a letter mark or a monogram logo might be more appropriate if your brand name is lengthy. Whatever the case, your visual identity must include a logo lockup, which has all of your logo’s components in their completed positions and is flexible enough to change to fit different circumstances.
The brand colours will shape the visual identity you select at every touch point. Remember that this colour scheme significantly impacts how potential buyers perceive your brand. Your creative process will influence your awareness of colour psychology’s significance and the emotions connected to particular hues.
Make sure you select relevant and useful colours. The palette must be adaptable as well because your brand’s colours will be employed in a variety of settings. Considerations for how the colours will appear across other branding assets, such as the copy on your website, social media postings, and printed items, should be made.
When choosing a font, no one method works for every brand. Instead, think about how typography affects the message being conveyed. According to the poet, typographer, and author of The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst, typography is the art of giving spoken and written language an enduring visual form.
Typography is essential in creating mood, setting a tone, and promoting brand recognition. This includes everything from the typeface to the kerning (space between letters).
An effective brand’s typography should be:
You’ve probably heard the proverb, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” When it comes to your brand’s photography, it presents an opportunity to reinforce your visual identity by telling your brand story through pictures and videos.
Make sure your material is visually consistent by paying attention to style, composition, and the subjects in the photographs or videos you use for assets like your website or social media posts. This is the secret to developing a brand and a harmonious appearance.
Because photography is so expressive, customers can easily get a sense of a brand. If you use pictures of people, use various models so that everyone may recognize themselves in your brand.
Some photographs to use while developing brand photography are:
- Internal portraits
- Lifestyle and portfolio pictures
- Product images and videos
- Social media users upload pictures and videos.
Graphics icons and illustration
These design components act as stylistic extensions of your company’s identity. These forms can have extremely precise roles, ranging from straightforward lines and curves to unique iconography. Icons and buttons, for instance, impact how customers engage with and use your website and brand. Additionally, your visuals can have an impact on how you visually indicate content on marketing materials, internal training documents, presentations, or social media posts.
When utilized in the appropriate context, hand-drawn images can also provide a feeling of personality and originality, making them seem more genuine and relevant.
Regardless of how you incorporate pictures and illustrations, these particulars maintain consistency across all platforms and add to your brand’s overall visual identity.
Why is a brand’s visual identity important?
Your brand’s visual identity shapes perception and creates an enduring impression. It’s advantageous for several reasons:
What distinguishes brands and encourages differentiation is the development of a distinctive and recognizable visual identity. Your company will stand out in the marketplace and your customers’ perceptions if your brand collateral is cohesive and successfully portrays it.
Consider the song “Boxed Water,” for instance. The entire business is built around the company’s mission to minimize plastic and aluminium waste and provide a sustainable alternative in a sector where plastic bottles predominate. Because of this, its product is radically different from those of its rivals and has a distinctive visual style. Additionally, the product not only reflects the brand’s principles and values while looking fantastic.
It will be much simpler for your target market to relate to your brand if they find it appealing and simple to understand.
You may picture your visual identity representing your brand and inspiring a more individualized experience. As an illustration, your logo frequently serves as the “face” of your company. In light of this, creating a visual identity that accentuates your brand identity will help you and your target audience communicate more effectively.
Consistency is essential in all facets of branding, but it’s more crucial when it comes to your visual identity. A trustworthy customer experience will be supported by maintaining a consistent visual identity, ultimately encouraging brand loyalty. Customers are more likely to seek out or choose your product over rivals as long as they are familiar with it.
Additionally, having a well-known and firmly entrenched visual identity will support growth as your brand changes over time.
A stable base will offer familiarity and avoid customer misunderstandings even if your visual identity changes. Consider Tropicana’s unsuccessful packaging change, which alienated devoted customers who couldn’t identify the product’s packaging.
Simply said, consumers stick with brands they are familiar with and believe in. This survey reveals that 84% of consumers are more likely to remain loyal to a company whose values coincide with their own.
Customers may depend on a brand more readily when it has a solid and distinct visual identity.
Your clients’ associations with your product or service will strengthen as they become more familiar with it (via visual and experiential means).
How to establish a recognizable visual style
- Put your brand identity to use.
- Be aware of your audience.
- Know the objective of your brand.
- Adjust your resources.
- Consistently use
- Put your brand identity to use.
Put your brand identity to use
You may create a brand identity that unifies your mission, beliefs, and objectives in one place with the aid of a clearly defined brand strategy. You’ll be able to anticipate your visual identity within this framework and maintain consistency throughout.
Take a look at the athleisure apparel business LNDR, which was developed for “the lifestyle we want to live, the items we want to wear, and the people we want to hang out with,” according to the company founders. The goods themselves have a straightforward design that prioritizes durability and functionality.
This viewpoint is suitably mirrored in LNDR’s visual identity, which emphasizes a clean design and a neutral colour scheme. Their graphic assets define the brand’s identity and are instantly recognizable on everything from their website to social media posts.
Be aware of your audience.
Consider that you need to choose what to wear as you prepare to attend a party. You should first think about where and who will be attending the soiree. Is it a sizable black-tie event or a casual outdoor cookout with a few friends? When you know the party’s setting, you can dress appropriately.
When developing your visual identity, the same is valid. You may develop an acceptable visual language that effectively communicates with your target audience if you thoroughly understand your target market.
You must create buyer personas to better comprehend and connect with your target audience. By focusing on certain demographics like age, gender, income, education, values, views, and motives, you can establish precise criteria for who your brand should be targeting. This will then influence the visual identity decisions you make.
Know the objective of your brand.
Your branding decisions will be influenced by your understanding of the motivation behind your company in every way. For instance, Real’s cutting-edge mental wellness platform is transforming online counselling and de-stigmatizing mental illness. The brand’s ambition to “not just normalize mental health treatment but celebrate it” permeates each touchstone.
Each visual element meticulously underscores the brand’s mission to make therapy more approachable for a new generation, from Real’s blue colour scheme-a colour associated with relaxation or serenity-to their use of hand-drawn artwork. Similar to their goods and aim, their design aesthetic is warm and humanistic.
Adjust your resources
Understanding each medium’s intricacies can help you create better and communicate better to maximize your visual identity. Even though your business may have a very explicit brand style guide, knowing how to apply it is just as crucial.
Since several designers will work on various assets, they must comprehend the core visual identity to modify each asset appropriately. This can be as easy as making sure your logo design has the suitable size or resolution for use across various media or selecting the proper colour scheme for online documents as opposed to printed ones. To see this in action, look at some solid brand style guide examples.
The visual identity of your brand will be stronger and more appealing to your audience if you pay attention to consumer behaviours and habits as well as the reason behind each branding asset.
Your visual identity requires consistency on two levels. First, as was already said, it serves as a guide for design decisions for your branding team. By directing the creative process with a purpose, consistency ensures that every piece of branding collateral is uniform.
Second, it has an impact on customers, stakeholders, and rivals on the outside. The only thing that keeps devoted customers coming back repeatedly is consistent branding. It’s also important to remember that consistency doesn’t have to mean rigidity; as a brand gains momentum and expands, it should develop. Brand consistency creates a solid foundation on which a brand can be built.
Examples of visual identities
A magic spoon of wisdom.
Magic Spoon’s brand identity established itself early on by appealing to our emotions and exploiting our nostalgia for breakfast cereals. As founders Greg Sewitz and Gabi Lewis explain, “We experimented for over a year to create a cereal inspired by the flavours and nostalgia of Saturday-morning-cartoon cereal but upgraded for a 21st-century consumer.” A guilt-free dessert that tastes like you remember, that you can have at any time of day. ”
This delectable cereal is an adult adaptation of a favourite childhood cereal that is healthy (even keto-friendly). As a result, Magic Spoon’s visual identity, which channels cheerful, kid-friendly tones with a nostalgic touch that somehow feels modern, effectively personifies this sentiment. Each visual element used by the brand, from the logo to the amusing cereal characters to the food styling on their Instagram posts, is deliberate and serves to share the brand’s mission and narrative while being entertaining.
Hims, which was introduced in 2017, led the path for men’s healthcare and wellbeing and transformed the way that contemporary men think about their hair, skincare, and ED. Hims, a practical telemedicine business that provides individualized care, has upended the market by bringing up previously taboo health concerns.
The Hims visual language is bright and inviting while remaining minimally elegant. The brand wants to demystify the subject and change consumers’ perceptions of things that had no cachet in the past. Hims does not have a medicinal vibe thanks to using a subdued serif font, a subdued colour scheme, and a simple package design. Instead, reiterating a sense of health feels calm and fresh. Their representations of masculinity are diverse, contemporary, and inclusive.
To expand its total reach and make itself more accessible to a wider and more diversified clientele, the company has developed a sister brand called Hers, employing the same business model and same design.
Blue Bottle Coffee
Blue Bottle Coffee, a speciality coffee company with headquarters in California, is renowned for both its beverages and its striking branding. Any coffee drinker will tell you that the ritual and experience of sipping coffee are more important than the flavour. This comprises the taste, sound, and visual elements, among others.
Blue Bottle’s visual identity is unmistakable and, as the name suggests, blue. In a sea of mocha browns and caramel creams, its distinctive blue bottle shines out, making it all the more recognizable. According to the firm, the Blue Bottle colour scheme makes the coffee taste better: “Our cafes are designed to draw focus on what matters: fine coffee, daydreams, discussion, and the coffee specialists that make it all possible.” In support of that purpose, we keep the colours in our cafes simple, focusing on only three: Blue Bottle Blue, Fog Grey, and Blond Wood. ”
The grey represents the fog; the blue respects the San Francisco Bay Area, and the blonde contrasts the coffee. Each element of their visual design has been meticulously thought out, telling their brand story, highlighting their goods, and forging deep connections. The experience remains on-brand whether a customer gets roasted beans to sip at home or enjoys a freshly brewed cup in a Blue Bottle.