How to Build a Successful Visual Identity for Your Business
Your brand’s visual identity is more than just your logo or website – it’s your brand’s overall style. Essentially, it is the appearance of your awesome business. Your visual identity should catch the eye of potential customers and make them want to do business with you.
Visual appearance can have a significant effect on purchasing decisions. According to one marketing study, a person will make up their mind within 90 seconds of first interacting with a product.
This is your best opportunity to make a great first impression!
What is visual identity?
In the post “Branding 101: The Basics of Branding”, we briefly discussed what your visual identity is, how it relates to your overall brand, and the importance of consistency (more on that later):
“This [visual identity] is the visual appearance of your brand — creative elements such as your logo, colors and fonts, website appearance, marketing materials and social media profiles. Consistency is key.”
and then I came across this definition from BusinessDictionary.com…
It’s kind of beautiful, right? Or maybe it’s just the nerd in me…Moving on!
First things first…
Before you even start to think about your logo or website you need to know what the tone, or overall feeling, of your brand will be.
If you aren’t sure what the tone of your brand should be, here’s a quick exercise:
Take a look at the questions below and jot down 3-5 adjectives to answer each question.
- What kind of people do I want to work with?
- What kind of people will want to do business with me?
- How do I want people to feel when they interact with my brand?
Is there a common theme in your answers? Maybe you found yourself repeating the words ‘creative and fun’ or ‘professional and motivated’. Common themes in your answers are a good indicator of what the tone of your brand should be. Go with it!
As you begin to build out your visual identity, refer back to these common adjectives and make sure that the choices you’re making match the tone you’ve set for your brand.
Building your visual identity
Once you’ve set the tone, it’s time to build your brand’s visual identity. There are lots of tiny parts so I’ve grouped them into 3 buckets or phases. Your brand image, your online marketing, and your offline marketing.
1. Create Your Brand Image
Your brand image and other visual assets should match the tone of your brand and create an overall ambiance. These are things like your logo, color palette, font choices, patterns, and textures. These are the visual assets you will use over and over again in your branding and marketing. Your visual elements should be applied consistently and cohesively to everything related to your business, from your digital presence to your print marketing. Brand guidelines are a useful tool for this purpose.
2. Establish A Digital Presence
Once you have your brand image and assets established you can begin applying those elements to your online content marketing and other areas of your digital presence. This will be your website, blog, newsletter, and social media profiles. Use your brand guidelines to establish a cohesive digital presence through consistent use of imagery, colors, fonts, and your other assets.
3. Put It In Print
In addition to your digital online presence you should also consider your offline, or physical, presence. This includes print assets like business cards and stationery, or marketing materials such as brochures and flyers. If you have a physical location you will need signage and if you have a physical product you we’ll need packaging. Colors on your computer will look different when printed. Work with your designer to determine the best color options for your brand.
One more (important) thing…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – consistency is the key to successful branding. It is THE most important thing to keep in mind when you are building your brand. A consistent and cohesive brand will make your business memorable and easily recognizable. This builds your brand recognition and leads to increased sales because people are far more likely to do business with a brand they know and trust.
Creating your brand’s visual identity is no small task but it can definitely be one of the best parts of starting a business or blog. Remember to make sure your visual appearance matches your tone, keep it cohesive, and have fun with it!
Check out the graphic below!