The words “brand,” “identity,” and “logo” seem to be tossed around a lot in comparison to one another without much reflection. You’re probably wondering, “Isn’t a logo part of my brand identity?” Or, if that’s the case, don’t we feel it all to be part of our brand?
In this article, we’ll go through the distinctions and where each word can be used. In addition, we’ll walk you through an example of how to build a visual identity. By going over all the details in this article, you should have a clearer understanding of each term as well as what it means for you and your company.
What is Visual Identity
Visual identity is a combination of shapes, colors and other visual elements that help identify who the company is. One look at the branding is all it takes to tell you what the business is all about.
What is the Purpose of Visual Identity
Visual identity is meant to attract customers. A brand’s visual identity is designed to leave a quick impression on customers and gives them insight to the brand’s offerings at a glance. This extends beyond the company logo; it also shares this identity with their products and marketing materials.
At times, companies can offer different product tiers for their brand. Brand positioning can dictate how products in different tiers are designed or how services are performed. They can also use a different brand strategy to target a specific audience.
Key Elements of Visual Identity
The visual identity of a brand or business has several key elements:
The logo is the symbol of the brand. The branding should be appealing to look at and convey a message to potential customers. Logos are what the audience first sees, so this visual brand element must be eye-catching.
Imagery and photography go hand-in-hand. Well-designed images and crisp visuals make very good promotional material for social media. Active posting with great visuals, motion graphics and a likewise engaging story makes for an effective content marketing strategy, especially when shown to the right audience. There are also times when simplicity is better to make visuals less cluttered.
Fonts and typography are important elements since even the choice of fonts can send a message to the customer. A block serif font is commonly used because it is easy to read and looks professional, while a cursive design hints at sophistication and class. Text and captions used should be short and simple, but profound and eye-catching.
Brand colors have a big role in a brand’s visual identity. The color palette used in the brand’s products are made to fit their target audience. The color schemes used in images, packaging and branding should send a message to the customers or have relevance to the products.
All of those elements come together to tell the brand story in a way that is appealing, evokes emotion and leaves a lasting impression on people. A graphic designer who can visualize the brand story the company wants to tell and put these elements together on branding and web design are great assets to the companies.
What is Brand Identity
Brand identity is the impression the brand or company wants to leave on their customers. It is the reputation and face of the brand. It uses a combination of logo, colors, visuals, slogan, product line, social media presence and user-experience to build up the branding.
What is the Purpose of Brand Identity
Brand identity means to differentiate the company from the competition. Brand identity is important to companies because this directly affects the customer sentiment towards their offerings. Brand identity can instill a sense of confidence in the customer. Good products, good design choices, a memorable logo, reliable customer service and great brand experience all lead to fostering brand loyalty, and likewise, good brand identity design.
Key Elements of Brand Identity
The key elements of brand identity design deal more with leaving an impression on its customers.
The brand name is the one of the first things, if not the first, that comes into a customer’s mind when they want to buy a product. More often than not, many people already have a brand name in mind when they want or crave for something. Examples of brand names like “Band-Aid” and “Republic of Gamers” make their message clear, and this aspect usually sticks in the minds of their customers. This is what most companies hope to achieve.
For more visual people, the logo symbolizes the brand. Iconic brands employ certain shapes and colors for their logos to draw the attention of customers. Some iconic identity examples include McDonald’s golden arches and the Apple logo. The shape of the arches mimic an entrance, making them look welcoming. If you see the bitten-off Apple on the back of a product, you know what brand it immediately is.
Brands usually have to come up with catchy phrases to leave an impression on customers. One example is Nike’s iconic “Just do it”. It is synonymous with the brand’s line of active sportswear and has become quite a popular internet meme.
For physical items, the way the products are shaped and the way they handle can leave a lasting impression. Examples include Coca-Cola’s iconic bottles and Sony’s PlayStation controllers. These brands are instantly recognizable in shape, and the way Lenovo’s ThinkPad keyboards feel is nothing short of legendary.
Directly related to company logos, the visual brand design is usually uniform across the company’s products, down to the choice of fonts and the visual elements on the images and packaging. Louis Vuitton’s iconic “LV” symbol scattered all over their products is iconic in this regard.
The colors on branding can leave a lasting impression, especially when popular brands announce limited products in specific color schemes. There are also ways for companies to use certain color palettes. One example is Razer’s line of pink gaming peripherals. They were iconic enough to start a niche of its own, and now multiple brands offer products for the people who fall in this niche.
Other elements of brand identity such as the business model, brand values, the way the product sounds, smells and tastes vary between different people. It all comes down to customer preference. Some value one aspect more than another. It all comes down to brand strategy and how the brands market themselves to their target audience.
Differences Between Visual and Brand Identity
There are many similarities between the visual identity and brand identity of a company. However, these concepts have their differences.
The visual identity of a brand or company means to tell customers about the brand and its products at a glance. Through the use of images, logos, design, packaging and color palette, this is meant to get more people to notice the brand on a more basic level; through sight.
Brand identity, on the other hand, is the impression left on the customer and how the brand identifies itself among the competition. It not only uses visual elements, but also involves other aspects like brand name, business values, the tone of their slogan and the service they can offer to their market.
All-in-all, both visual identity and brand identity are intertwined with each other; one appealing more visually and the other more mentally.
Which Matters More?
Both visual identity and brand identity are important building blocks of good branding. Companies spend a fortune hiring skilled people who can identify the specific market for their brands. That being said, there is more focus on brand identity as the overall experience is what fosters brand loyalty, leading to more word-of-mouth marketing, more sales and more business.