Brand identity is an important tool for establishing who you are and how your customers, audience, or clients relate to you. The look and feel of your brand identity—from your logo and typography to the packaging and customer experience style you choose—can both attract and influence those coveted customers and clients. Brand Identity is not branding. Branding is how clients, customers, and audience feel about you. Brand Identity helps shape the brand.
Can you name these logos? What do you think of when you see the brand?
This tells you how a brand identity is more than just a logo. It sends a message about your company and how you want people to perceive you.
The brand identity of a company or even your own personal brand has to be cohesive and consistent. That way others like customers or potential clients can understand the company and connect with it. If you make your brand identity inconsistent, it would confuse other people and hurt your brand.
Like if Starbucks just changed its color scheme to pink in their locations and their website uses a different logo and color scheme, people would be confused and wouldn’t think the the location or website was from the same company.
So whether you are a freelancer, business owner, a company, etc. you should have a brand identity to help boost your business. People will remember you better if you stay consistent with your brand identity.
So what goes into a brand identity?
- Purpose and positioning
- Brand name
- consistent tone and voice
With purpose and positioning: You need to know who you are, your personality. Are you fun-loving? Are you more serious and professional? Are you a little of both? Are you active? Are you trendy? Are you upscale? Down to earth? A specialist? A generalist?
Write down a list of what you are. This is a brainstorming so don’t think this is the end product. Just let your ideas and suggestions flow. Once you get enough, then you can sort out what is important to your brand identity and narrow it down.
Who is your target audience? Are you targeting coffee drinkers? People who need the latest in technology? People who are looking for the best deals. Middle class? Working class? Millennials, Generation X, Baby boomers? The list goes on.
What services do you provide and what is your value proposition? In other words, what are you offering your audience. Why should they choose your services over your competition? Amazon provides a catalog of products right at your fingertips on the internet at great prices and you can receive it in a day or so at low cost.
You also need to be aware of your competition and your brand identity needs to stand out among them. Even show some similarity while getting your audience’s attention.
Your brand name is important. It needs to be memorable and not overly long or hard to spell. You don’t want your name to be too similar to the competition or even to another company that is not a competitor.
Create a mood board. This is just a document to just grab images you find that defines what you brand is. Don’t worry about copyright. This is just for you to figure it. This is what I do. Before tackling brand identity, I create mood board. I place in logos of the competition, logos that have ideas that are what I like, colors of companies in the industries, photographs of certain styles or content that may go with the look. Add in some fonts that would be good for your style.
The most obvious part of brand identity is The look.
- The logo and graphics
- Color palette
- Environmental design
After figuring all this out. It is time you need a logo. A logo isn’t a pretty picture. It is the ambassador to your brand. IT is everywhere on your brand identity system. Your business card, ads, website, social media presence, marketing, locations or store fronts (if you have one).
It needs to be timeless, simple, memorable, versatile and appropriate to your audience. Remember I showed you the logos earlier. They all reflect this successfully.
It should tell a story and be meaningful. Here a few logos to show that tell a story.
Amazon has a smile because it improved your user experience in buying what you want. But also to connects the A and Z because it offered everything from A to Z.
FedEx logo is simple and bold. But do you notice the arrow in the negative space. The arrow was a subliminal message of speed and precision.
Mitsubishi refers to the 3 diamond emblem. In Japanese, Mitsu means three. Hishi means water chestnut, and Japanese have used the word for a long time to denote a rhombus or diamond shape. Yataro Iwasaki, the founder of the old Mitsubishi organization, chose the three-diamond mark as the emblem for his company. The mark is suggestive of the three-leaf crest of the Tosa Clan, Yataro’s first employer, and also of the three stacked rhombuses of the Iwasaki family crest.
McDonald’s famous golden arches. It obviously denotes the M in the name. But originally the restaurant had these golden arches as architectural feature that made the restaurant stand out. So the logo designer realized it can be used as it looks like an M as in the name.
Typography is also important. You want the fonts to reflect the company as well. Your typography has to be readable. No gimmicky fonts. You should only have 1 -3 fonts in your brand identity system. Preferable 2 font families.
For my brand identity. I just use one font. Futura. It is very modern and readable. It is a well respected font and fits my audience of design agencies or corporate design departments.
With a font family means you can use the regular, bold, italic, light versions of the font.
These fonts should also be consistently used through your website, business cards, marketing, everything.
It should be very readable. Because design is about communication. Don’t use a beautiful font that people have trouble reading.
It should match your target audience. Using a traditional old style font wouldn’t work if you are targeting people who are trendy with modern tastes.
A color palette is very important as well. Your logo definitely uses the color palette. Like everything else in your brand identity, it has to be consistent throughout. You can see the logos earlier that they have a colors and keep to those colors throughout their brand identity. All their business cards, signage, website uses the same colors.
My autistic son saw the red and blue logo of Domino’s pizza on a passing car and recognized it as pizza. Your color palette needs to convey emotion. Your logo doesn’t have to use all the colors of your palette.
We all know that green is a natural, fresh, color that represents growth (Starbucks), while red conveys urgency, passion, and excitement (Target, Coca-Cola). The colors you choose for your branding should reflect your brand’s purpose and intent.
I use 2 colors in my logo. Gold and black. But my color palette is actually 4 colors. The brown and blue are more secondary colors that I use. I use the gold and black more.
So this is just the tip of the iceberg of the brand identity system. Thee is so much more to it like choosing the style of imagery or photography, signage packaging and more. I just gave you an overall information.