Updated: May 28
Great branding is so much more than a designing a good logo. A brand identity is the personality of your business, from how you look to how you talk and everything in between. Before you can begin to brand your business, you need to have a clear vision of who you are, what you do, and why it matters.
HOW TO CREATE A BRAND IDENTITY
Most people starting a new business are quick to jump on getting a logo designed. I get it, having that perfect icon that represents this new venture in your life is exciting! But if you want to do it right, you have to slow down.
While the cornerstone of your brand identity is the logo, before you or a graphic designer can start designing your logo, you need to focus on defining the who, what, and why of your business.
Who Are You?
Have you ever been to a charming mom-and-pop restaurant where, on the back of the menu, they have the story of how the restaurant came to be? What’s your story? People want to connect with a brand. If you have a story, tell it. If you aren’t quite sure the plot, take some time to think it through.
What Do You Do?
What is your business all about? What service or product do you provide and why is it the best? Why is it unique?
Why Does It Matter?
This is an important one that can often be overlooked. Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes, why should your product or service matter to them? Defining your value proposition helps establish your brand’s key message.
Answering these questions is fundamental to creating a clear vision for your company. Without a clear vision of who you are, the brand identity design process can’t begin.
When I begin working with a client on their brand identity design, I have them complete this Discovery Questionnaire which asks a lot of these very questions. Some know exactly what their business is all about, while others need a bit more time to define it for themselves.
THE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN PROCESS STARTS WITH RESEARCH
As much as the brand identity design depends on understanding who and what your business is all about, it also involves market research. The best graphic designers will spend some time in the research phase before any sketching begins.
Define Your Audience
Understanding your target demographic is key to a successful brand identity. You need to know who you’re trying to appeal to, understand their characteristics and define why they need your product or service.
By putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal consumer, you can begin to narrow in on the way in which you’ll choose the style of logo, the colours you’ll use and the overall tone of your brand.
Who Are Your Competitors?
Pay attention to your competition. What branding techniques are they using that work or that don’t work? Look for opportunities where you can be different in the industry. What value can you offer that they don’t?
WHAT IS IN A BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN PACKAGE?
The logo is the cornerstone of your brand and is the first element of the brand identity. Based on your market research and your clear vision of who you are as a business, you’re now able to narrow in on a logo design that truly resonates with you. You’ll also design logo alternatives such as brandmarks and wordmarks, along with a set of guidelines as to where one is used over the other.
Choosing the right colours and typeface for your logo will also be derived from the research phase. Read more on the meaning of colours in 5 Keys to a Successful Logo.
In your brand identity package, you’ll establish a brand colour palette along with usage guidelines. The guidelines will establish the primary colour palette, which is used most often, and a secondary colour palette, which is used sparingly.
Similarly, you’ll select the typefaces for your brand. In the brand identity package, you’ll establish which fonts are used for headers, subheads, body copy, print vs digital, etc.
Brand usage guidelines are a very important component to a brand identity package. Consistency is key to successful branding and you are able to achieve visual cohesion through a clear set of branding guidelines. Have a look at Dropbox’s guidelines as a brand identity example.
The best brand design — Nike and Apple are often at the top of people’s minds — are impactful in that they are simple, consistent, and memorable. It’s this consistency that builds trust among consumers because they know what to expect and it’s delivered each and every time.
Other elements that are often included in a brand identity package is the tone of your brand. This serves to maintain consistency in your messaging and imagery.
Defining your brand’s tone will impact the way you write emails and the types of tweets or captions you write online. If your brand is fun and casual, then so should your messaging. If it’s a more serious brand, your verbiage should reflect that.
This same notion applies to the types of images you use across your brand. The guidelines here can be around the style of imagery as well as the type of content you use. Take a minute to go on one of your favourite brands’ Instagram pages. You’ll likely see a cohesive look across their imagery.
There’s real value in having a brand identity design package. If you’re in the early stages of building a business, it’s an important first step for long term success. The process should be done strategically and choices should be made deliberately. The stronger your brand identity design, the less likely you are to need to rebrand in a few years time.
If you need help getting started, get in touch with me for a quote catered to your unique business goals.