A visual brand identity is a compilation of the visual aspects that form part of your overall brand. This is your chance to enhance your verbal branding strategy with stunning visuals. Appeal to your audience's sight sense and dazzle them with your verbal message!
Your visual brand identity includes, but is not limited to:
- Offline Marketing Publications
- Online Marketing
- Products & Packaging
- Communications (emails, direct mail, audio, video, etc.)
- Any other visual aspects that represents your brand.
When done correctly, a brand can (not only be recognized by it’s logo) but be easily recognized visually by the fonts used, color palette and graphic elements in whatever visual aspect your audience comes across. One prime example of this is the Olyvia.co brand by Erika Madden.
Whenever I’m perusing Pinterest, I can EASILY pick out an article done by Erika from Olyvia.co. Why? Because she is visually consistent with her graphic images for her articles - in particular her font selection and placement. She always uses the same Sans and Script fonts in the same manner each time. Most text is with the sans font and she chooses a word or phrase that she wants to accentuate with the script font. THAT… my friends, is visual branding WELL DONE.
The key to creating a visual brand identity is to emulate the character of the brand visually.
You want your visual branding to mirror what your brand provides, promises and delivers.
Let’s say your brand is a warm and inviting, coffeehouse-esque style brand. You wouldn’t create brand visuals that include leopard print and the bold color of red! But why? I love that combo, you say. Leopard + red evoke an emotion of being FIERCE… BADASS… and DOMINANT. The complete opposite of being a welcoming and warm, non-intimidating environment.
Let’s go back to the Olyvia.co brand. Erika has chosen to use a pink accent color and a script font with a bit of whimsy as an accent font to an otherwise simple and straight-forward visual brand identity. As an audience member, I perceive the Olyvia brand as a women’s brand that is classy with a touch of sassy (or as she has positioned herself, DELIGHTFUL) that delivers in a simple way.
Your visual brand identity VISUALLY tells your audience how to perceive you.
When you’re ready to develop and create your brand identity, you want to think about the keywords, or the brand adjectives, we walked through in the authentic brand formula worksheet (get the download in this post!). Secondly, you will want to consider your positioning statement (get the guide for that in this post!) and how you want your audience to perceive you!
With that in mind, think about what symbolizes your brand. What colors evoke the emotion you want your audience to have in regards to your brand. What fonts display the attitude of your brand. What icons, patterns, textures are a reflection, or mirror your brand’s key words and positioning statement - and ultimately, as I said at the beginning - to mirror what your brand provides, promises and delivers.
Your brand identity consists of four elements:
- Color Palette
- Font Bundle
- Graphic Elements
This is the tone of your brand. How do you want your audience to feel when they see your brand out in the world or the interwebs or when they land on your site and social media profile pages. Is it warm? Is it loud? Is it crazy? Is it flashy? Is it simple? The ambiance is a base from which you can start to coordinate the other elements to work in sync and harmony.
Based off of the ambiance of your visual brand identity. Pick and choose colors that match the tone of your brand. Here are some resources to help you with a color palette selection. I love this post on the essentials of colour psychology and it has helped myself in creating my own brand identity as I'm writing this post!
Most businesses use either a Sans or Sans Serif font (or combination) and may use a script or fun font to accent their brand, just as Olyvia.co does.
These elements may be icons, patterns or textures. It might consist of shapes such as lines, triangles, and circles. Also they may include special dingbats from a purchased or accent font.
For more inspiration, I’ve curated a Visual Branding Inspiration board on Pinterest to get some ideas flowing.
I would love for you to tell me what color season your brand belongs to if you took a look at the color psychology post! Also please check out the Pinterest boards I shared with you today. Lastly - now that you know how to create your brand identity, it's time to get to work. This is NOT my forte, so today we're passing the buck onto Jessica Safko from Love + Color that has a free brand board template for you and also dives deeper into font selections for your brand!!