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What is brand identity? And how to develop a great one

Similar to how your individuality defines what makes you distinctively yourself, your brand identity serves as the unique essence of your business that distinguishes you from every other enterprise out there. And when it comes to your brand identity’s conception, it’s essentially the craftsmanship that molds your company’s essence.

However, precisely what constitutes brand identity? How does it intertwine with the realm of design? And how can you forge a robust brand identity that propels your business towards unparalleled success?

 

What is brand identity?

recording studio brand identity

Brand identity encompasses the entirety of components that a corporation generates to present the accurate impression to its clientele. Despite occasional interchangeable use, brand identity distinguishes itself from both “brand image” and “branding.”

The phrase “branding” pertains to the marketing endeavor of deliberately sculpting a unique brand. Meanwhile, the brand signifies the perception that the company evokes in the global perspective.

Now, let’s delve further into the intricacies.

Your brand identity is the distinctive factor that immediately establishes recognition among your customers. Your target audience will link your brand identity with your offerings, and this very identity is what forges the bond connecting you with your customers. It cultivates customer loyalty and shapes how your brand is perceived by your clientele.

 

How to develop a strong brand identity

 

Prior to determining the concrete constituents that will compose your brand identity, it’s imperative to have a clear understanding of your brand’s essence.

This entails:

  •  Defining your mission (the underlying purpose that propels your endeavors)
  • Identifying your core values (the fundamental principles that steer your company)
  • Establishing your brand personality (imagining your brand as a person and characterizing its demeanor)
  • Crafting your distinctive positioning (clarifying how you stand out from rivals)
  • Articulating your brand voice (visualizing how your brand would communicate if personified)

Only once these foundational elements are comprehended can you proceed to shape your brand identity with precision.

 

If you’re encountering challenges in pinpointing your precise brand identity

There’s no need to fret. On occasion, a straightforward brainstorming session can provide the clarity necessary to define your brand essence.

Pose these questions to yourself:

  • What was the driving force behind initiating this business?
  •  Which principles and values hold significance for us as an organization?
  • In what aspects do we excel beyond compare?
  • What is it that sets us apart?
  • If we were to encapsulate our brand in three words, what would they be?
  •  What three words would we wish our customers to associate with us?

By contemplating these inquiries, you can pave the way for a more profound understanding of your brand and its unique identity.

After solidifying your brand’s identity, the next step is to construct the embodiment that will breathe life into your brand and effectively convey your essence to the individuals of utmost significance: your valued customers.

 

Design: the foundation of your brand identity

 

Your tangible corporate design elements wield the power to shape the perception of your brand. These encompass elements such as your logo, packaging, web design, social media graphics, business cards, and employee uniforms.

In essence, mastering your design equates to mastering your brand identity, which translates to fostering a thriving business that authentically mirrors your brand’s essence.

Now, the question remains: How precisely do you excel in design execution and construct a brand identity that propels your business to new heights?

 

Developing your brand design

 

Prior to embarking on the creation of your design assets, it’s essential to begin with a foundational approach and establish the fundamental framework of your design: the core elements of your brand identity.

The essential components you should ascertain before initiating the design asset creation process encompass:

 

Typography

Typography, as you may have surmised, pertains to the font (or typeface) selected for your branding materials. The judicious selection of logo fonts and brand fonts holds significant importance. Typography can be categorized into four primary types:

typeface anatomy

  • Serif fonts (like Times New Roman or Garamond) have what look like an anchor (or to some people, little feet) on the end of each letter. This classic typography is great if you want your brand to appear trustworthy, traditional, and just a little old school.
  • If “serif” is the foot, “sans serif” is without the foot. Sans serif fonts (like Helvetica or Franklin Gothic) are letters that have smooth edges and lack the anchor or “feet” of their serif counterparts. Sans serif fonts give a more sleek, modern feel to brands.
  • Script typography emulates cursive handwriting (so much for all those cursive lessons in elementary school!). These fonts (like Allura or Pacifico) can be a great way to add a luxurious or feminine feel to your brand.
  • Display fonts stand apart in their own category. Each one possesses a distinct characteristic, be it unconventional letter shapes, outlines, shadows, or an artistic/hand-drawn flair (like Metallica’s lightning bolt font). Seeking to make a memorable and impactful brand identity? Opting for a display font is an excellent choice.

Color palette

 

color meanings

Moving on to the realm of color. Individuals, including your prospective customers, hold psychological associations with various colors. Employing branding and logo colors in a strategic manner can significantly influence how your brand is perceived by your target audience.

The following is a glimpse into how the colors of the rainbow (and a few additional shades) can contribute to enhancing your brand identity:

Designing your brand identity

After establishing the fundamental elements of your design foundation, the next step involves collaborating with a designer to infuse vitality into your brand identity. This process entails transforming your brand essence into tangible design assets, which in turn can be harnessed for your marketing endeavors.

The avenues through which your brand identity can be articulated are diverse, and the significance of each asset varies based on your business’s nature. Considerations differ: a restaurant, for instance, should meticulously craft their menu and physical ambiance, whereas a digital marketing agency would allocate greater emphasis to refining their website and social media presence.

 

Colors play a crucial role in brand identity, evoking emotions and perceptions. Here’s a brief rundown of color associations:

  • Red: Represents passion, excitement, and youthfulness.
  • Orange: Conveys friendliness, playfulness, and uniqueness.
  • Yellow: Symbolizes happiness, fun, and affordability.
  • Green: Versatile; associated with money or nature, suitable for relevant brands.
  • Blue: Universally appealing, signifies stability, and builds trust.
  • Purple: Portrays a luxurious, regal feel.
  • Pink: Linked to femininity, softness, and luxury, ideal for female-oriented brands.
  • Brown: Uncommon but attention-grabbing, suggests ruggedness or masculinity.
  • Black: Denotes modernity and sophistication, a classic choice.

Choosing colors strategically can shape how your brand is perceived and resonate with your target audience.

Form/Shape

 

When considering your designs, it’s essential to contemplate form and shape. This subtle yet impactful element can be wielded to enhance the intended response from your customers. For instance, a logo comprised of circles and gentle contours will evoke a distinct reaction compared to a logo featuring sharp angles and squares.

Here’s how diverse forms can mold your brand identity:

Circular forms, encompassing circles, ovals, and ellipses, evoke warmth and affinity. Brands incorporating these shapes often generate sentiments of community, togetherness, and affection. Additionally, their rounded contours can convey a sense of femininity.

Straight edges such as squares, rectangles, and triangles instill notions of power and efficiency. The clean, unadorned lines foster a sensation of dependability and credibility. However, a word of caution: if not balanced with vibrant elements like dynamic colors, these shapes might seem distant and fail to forge a connection with your audience.

Straight lines themselves carry distinct connotations: vertical lines allude to masculinity and robustness, while horizontal lines evoke serenity and a calm demeanor.

Designing your brand identity

 

Logo

At the heart of your brand identity lies your logo design. When collaborating with your designer, your goal is to ensure that your logo fulfills the following criteria:

  • Effectively conveys your brand’s essence and values;
  • Boasts visual allure, with a preference for simplicity, cleanliness, and clarity;
  • Exudes timelessness, avoiding fleeting trends to ensure longevity;
  • Aligns with industry conventions, with intentional departures if chosen;
  • Leaves a indelible mark on your audience, making a lasting impact.

Website

website

Your website is one of the most representative aspects of your brand identity. Especially if you’re running an online business or a digital product, your customers will definitely check your website out before deciding to do business with you. Your website is where your brand identity should come through in full force.

Product packaging

product packaging

If your product is a physical one, then product packaging is key to attracting the right customers. Whether you’re thinking about the bottle of a cold-brew beverage, or the mail you’ll send to your customers who purchased clothes from your ecommerce business, don’t underestimate the value of good design in improving the experience – and driving both loyalty and repeat purchases. Packaging is an awesome opportunity for your design to shine.

 

Business cards

 

business cards

Engaged in any form of business advancement (which is practically everyone)? It’s wise to have a stash of business cards on hand. A thoughtfully crafted card presents an opportunity to enhance a favorable perception of yourself among potential clients or customers. For your business card design, simplicity is key: your company logo on one side and crucial personal information on the reverse side should do the job.

 

Enhance your email design

Email serves as an excellent avenue for customer engagement and business enhancement. However, with inboxes often inundated, standing out demands a meticulous design approach. Consider the email’s objective: For forging personal connections, brevity is key. When aiming to educate, prioritize clear formatting for easy scanning, and accentuate with images or an animated email signature. Introducing a new clothing line? Spotlight a handful of captivating product images for maximum impact.

 

Brand identity summarized…

Your distinctiveness in a crowded market, displaying your essence and client expectations. A successful brand identity, depicted through precise design, is vital for a positive perception. Having grasped this insight, step into the world of designing.

Hungry for more branding guidance? Get a free consultation here.

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