Design elements of your brand identity
How do you intend for people to perceive you? The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines a brand as “The set of physical attributes of a product or service, together with the beliefs and expectations surrounding it - a unique combination which the name or logo of the product or service should evoke in the mind of the audience.”
There are many building blocks to developing your brand. When starting out the first key step is defining the elements of your brand design.
In this blog post we speak with graphic designer Sally Newby about the importance of brand elements, what they are, tips for developing them, and their role in defining your brand identity.
How would you define what a brand is?
Your brand is the set of perceptions people have about your company.
Your company’s brand is made up of a number of interlinked elements. Any action you take to shape your brand is branding. When you design a logo, that’s branding. When you develop your colour palette, that’s branding. When you get together with your marketing team to brainstorm a new product name, that is branding.
Why is branding so important?
The design of a brand can connect with people on an emotional level. It quickly tells a customer what you do and what to expect from your company.
Branding creates your look and feel. It highlights what makes your company different, special and unique. It communicates to your customers why they should engage, trust and work with you instead of your competitors.
If you want to build a successful brand, you need to be recognisable.
The right branding, impactful logo, colour scheme, tagline, and other brand assets will help you create a distinct style and ensure brand recognition in the market.
It is important to be consistent. Maintaining a consistent look, feel and messaging will help you develop your brand awareness. It will ensure that your brand is instantly recognisable, and with the right marketing, it will help your name become established within the market space you operate.
Branding allows you to control how people perceive and experience your brand and your company can ensure that perception and experience stays consistent across all of your business.
What are brand elements?
Your mission statement and brand values are the foundations for your branding. I think of the mission as the brains of the operation, it defines the purpose of the business.
The company’s vision is its heart, it’s what your company seeks to achieve in the long term.
The mission and vision statements are the pillars of your business and then brand guidelines pull that all together to provide all of the stylistic elements of the branding. So your logo, colour palette, fonts, marketing templates, naming conventions and imagery that you use are all brand elements.
The logo is the face of your company and designing your logo is arguably the single most important branding you’ll do for your business. To help to develop all of your brand elements, how they work together and compliment each other I recommend going through a design process.
During the design process you think about who you are as a brand and how you want to be perceived by your customers.
You mentioned colour palette as being an important brand element. Do you have any tips on how to start to develop the best colour palette for a brand?
So if you want to stand out, it’s a good idea to choose a colour palette that differs dramatically from those of your largest competitors. Its good to do some research!
Design, be it in the use of colour or layout, is all about balance. The more complicated the colour choice and the scheme, the more difficult it is to achieve balance.
I think it’s good to begin by identifying which colour will be the most dominant and frequently used, and then which will be the accent colours to support the dominant hue, which ones will help balance the whole design.
It’s good to pay attention to how the colours interact with each other especially when it comes to the ease of reading text and the mood you are creating with the colour choices.
Finally what looks great on the computer screen may not always look great in print, or on different digital devices.
Are there any rules to follow when picking typography?
Typography is the art of choosing and arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing. Font choice can influence your readers’ subconscious perception of your brand.
So selecting brand typography that conveys your business’ personality and values is one of the key elements of visual branding. Good brand typography should be legible, unique and memorable.
It’s really important to remember that your typography has to work across multi-platforms, what looks good in print also has to look good in digital, and at different screen size resolutions.
I personally don’t think there is a definitive set of rules to follow, but, different font family choices do convey different brand personalities. So Serif fonts give the impression of classic, traditional and reliable brands, or a Sans-serif font works well for brands that a trying to evoke a more modern feel.
Choose two or three fonts that work well together and establish a system that aligns them in a logical way, this is called a “font hierarchy”. For example start by choosing a primary font. This is your go to default typeface, this is the one that communicates your brand’s identity, values and personality.
Then choose a secondary font, this complements the primary font and supports your font hierarchy, this font could be used for calling out important product features for example.
I think the most important thing is that your font usage is consistent and not overly complex. Above all it really does need to be easy to read!
Whether creating a new brand, or looking to rebrand, the role of design is of key importance.
A marketing agency and graphic designer can help guide your company through the different stages of the design process. They can help perform valuable market research and analysis, develop concepts and refine the final brand style.
The brand style will be used to create a number of pre-formatted marketing templates. These can be used for marketing activities in a very rapid and cost effective way, whilst ensuring a consistent look and feel.
Finally the design team will produce a brand guidelines document. This guide documents all aspects of your brand messaging, it’s look and feel - logo, taglines, colour palette and typography. The purpose of this document is to ensure that all areas of your commercial team, new employees or freelancers can fully understand your design and brand standards, ensuring consistency which helps build brand recognition.