As a designer fueling heart-centered businesses, I often find myself in conversations about why a brand's visual identity and its strategy are so crucial in the entrepreneurial world. It's not just because I'm a branding aficionado, but it's the real-deal talk among many trailblazers out there.
Wondering when does branding sneak into your business journey? The moment your brand takes its baby steps into the world, visual identity starts weaving its magic.
Your visual brand identity, from your networking style to how you serve your clients, speaks volumes about your brand. Guess what? As an entrepreneur, you've been shaping your brand story without even realizing it! And that's why mindfully nailing it early on sets you up for a confident stride ahead.
So, what exactly do visual strategy and strong visual identity mean, and why are they so darn important? This blog is your ticket to understand these key terms and get armed with my insider tips to amplify your brand's visual elements and maximize your impact.
Ready to decode your visual language and skyrocket your brand recognition with visual assets that resonate with your target audience?
Let's dive in!
↘️ Psst... wondering how to design a brand that feels more like you and your unique business? Check out my free training, Get Your Brand Together.
Your visual branding strategy is the creative game plan for how you'll present your brand to the world.
It's about much more than just picking a pretty color palette or a fancy font – it's about crafting a cohesive, consistent visual narrative that tells your brand story at a glance.
Your strategy should define how you'll use your chosen visual elements to communicate your brand identity, engage your target audience, and build brand recognition. Whether you're designing your website, crafting social media posts, or creating other visual assets, your strategy will guide you towards creating a powerful visual brand identity that truly resonates with your audience.
Let's start from the top with the visual branding definition. Branding seems to be a buzzword in the marketing world that's thrown around a lot but not truly understood. As a small business owner, you probably have a strong sense that you need it, but can't quite understand why.
Well, think about it: what do you want your current and future clients to say about you? How do you want them to describe you and, hopefully, refer you to their friends?
That's when your branding comes into the picture.
Your brand encompasses many things, including your content, your copy, your product and services and your visuals. When creating a visual identity, you are focusing on the visual side of things.
Visual branding, intertwined with your compelling copy, standout services, or innovative products, constitutes a critical part of your brand's universe. Among them, visual elements often play the superhero, commanding a pivotal role in your brand's visual identity.
This prominence is underscored by the fact that our brains process visual information a staggering 60,000 times faster than text. As if that wasn't enough, a whopping 90% of information our brains digest is visual!
This means a strong visual identity is not just a pretty face for your brand but a compelling storyteller, narrating your brand story in the blink of an eye. It builds instant bridges of understanding and engagement with your target audience, enhancing brand recognition and creating an unforgettable brand visual identity.
In parallel, your visual branding strategy is key in shaping your audience's perception and emotional response. It acts as your unique language, communicating your brand values and ethos instantly, even before a single word is read.
A sound visual branding strategy ensures a consistent, coherent, and compelling visual narrative across all platforms, fostering trust, credibility, and a deep emotional connection with your audience. It's your secret sauce for standing out, capturing attention, and achieving overall brand success and growth.
When it comes to visual branding, it might be tempting to dive headfirst into the creative pool of colors, fonts, and logo designs. However, the real starting point should always be your visual branding strategy.
Think of it as your roadmap - it illuminates the direction your brand should take and outlines how to get there. It includes understanding your brand's core values, your target audience's needs and desires, and how to effectively communicate your message through visual elements.
Once your strategy is clearly defined, it serves as the guiding light for creating a visual identity that authentically represents your brand, resonates with your audience, and consistently communicates your brand message.
Before you create visual elements, let's chat about the key ingredients for cooking up a captivating visual brand identity. Imagine your brand as a unique blend of spices—each visual element adds a different flavor.
First up, your color palette. The colors you choose are the soul of your brand's visual experience. They set the mood, evoke emotions, and create an immediate impression on your audience. Make sure your color choices encapsulate the spirit of your brand.
Next, we have fonts. Think of your typography as the voice of your brand. Serif, sans-serif, script, or monospace - each style speaks volumes about your brand’s personality. Your chosen fonts should consistently communicate your brand's message.
And finally, we can't forget about your logo, the face of your brand. It's the visual shorthand for everything your brand stands for. A well-designed logo can increase brand recognition and create a professional image.
Once these foundational elements are in place, you can start to build around them with imagery, graphics for social media posts, and other visual assets. Consistency across all platforms is key to maintaining a strong and effective visual identity.
Let's put this into practice with some examples!
Visual identity isn't just for the big corporations or the luxury products you see in boutique stores, it's for any business - big or small, any entrepreneur, any freelancer and basically, any individual who is planning to sell or market a product or a service (we call these ones personal brands).
Here are 6 good visual identity examples:
Often referred to as “Coke”, Coca Cola has done a great job at nailing their visual brand right from the start. They’ve done this so well that if I ever asked what soft drink has red and white packaging, you’d automatically shout out “Coke!”. And here’s another impressive fact: have you ever wondered how Coca Cola always has the most heart-warming ads featuring Santa Claus himself? Well, that’s not a coincidence that Santa Claus’ suit is red and white! In the 1930s, Coca Cola brought Santa Claus into their brand story, depicting him as a round jolly man who loved to read letters from children and, of course, enjoy a coke!
If I say, milk chocolate in a purple wrapping, you roll your eyes and go “Cadbury” *duh*. Although there are a few other chocolate brands out there using purple as their main visual branding color, Cadbury remains our immediate guess whenever we see a purple chocolate wrapper. In April 2020, after 50 years of visual brand consistency, Cadbury finally decided to undergo a brand makeover. Let’s see how well the public responds to it!
The tech behemoth needs no introduction and its visual identity is a testament to its ethos of simplicity and innovation. Apple's visual identity, from its iconic bitten apple logo to its minimalist product design and sleek, user-friendly interfaces, all align with the company's focus on design-driven technology. Even their retail spaces are designed with a clean, modern aesthetic in mind that screams "Apple".
This global home-sharing platform is another great example of effective visual branding. Airbnb's visual identity, marked by a simple, curvy, and recognizable logo they call the "Bélo", symbolizes belonging, which is at the core of the brand’s mission. It's used consistently across the website, app, and promotional materials. Moreover, their use of real, vibrant, and inviting images of their listings immediately transports potential guests into the heart of the experience they can expect.
A standout in the beauty industry, Glossier's visual identity is undeniably on point. With its signature millennial pink color, minimalist typography, and emphasis on real, untouched photos for product promotion, Glossier's visual branding encapsulates the brand’s ethos of 'beauty inspired by real life'. They have harnessed the power of visuals to create a brand identity that's not just about the products they sell, but the lifestyle and values they represent.
You know who I'm talking about, right? That delightfully quirky gal with sparkling blue eyes, a penchant for song, and bangs as thick as a storybook. Sure, she's occasionally mistaken for Katy Perry, but hey, let's get real—Zooey owns the bangs game in Hollywood. (Seriously, has she ever sported another 'do? Not on my watch!)
This fab actress and songbird has woven her signature look and unique charm into a consistent visual brand, carving her niche in the star-studded world. It's her constancy, her unwavering presentation to her audience, that's built her robust brand credibility and recognition.
And, darling, that's exactly where you want to position your brand!
So, wondering how to make your visual brand pack a punch and stand out in the crowd? I got you.
Here's my triple-threat guide to crafting a solid, authentic visual brand.
Unlocking your visual brand's potential begins with a crystal clear understanding of your target audience. Like a decoder ring, understanding your audience's needs, desires, and pain points will translate your brand into their language. This connection can only be forged when you grasp their mindset, their challenges, and their aspirations tied to your product or service. The result? A brand that communicates effectively, resonates deeply, and attracts your ideal customers effortlessly.
Your visual brand should be a blend of purpose and adaptability. The intention behind each visual element of your brand breathes life into your visual branding, shaping its trajectory. Equally significant is the elasticity of your brand, allowing it to evolve with your blooming business. Whether it's your color palette or other visual elements, an adaptable brand saves you future headaches and keeps pace with your flourishing business.
P.S. Still figuring out your brand colors? This article will help!
A consistent visual identity is key. Without consistency, you will be unable to create that big impact you so desired. So remember to always stay on-brand with the same colors, same fonts, and same logo variations.
When you keep these few elements consistent you can be more adventurous with the rest. Nothing ever looks off even if new elements are added for seasonal campaigns and partnerships.
A great tool to use and keep visual consistency in check is your style guide. Need one? Check out this article.
Whew! That's a lot to take in, isn't it? But, hey! Now you've got a solid grasp on the whole visual identity thing and why it's a total game-changer for your small business. Plus, you've got three rock-solid strategies tucked in your back pocket to take your visual brand from 'meh' to 'wow'.
I'm stoked to have shared this with you and I hope you're feeling a tad less tangled and a whole lot more confident. You can totally do this!
In case you're still feeling like you're climbing Branding Everest alone, know that I'm here, ready to help! Check out how we can team up and conquer this mountain together here.
Plus, don't forget to snag a spot in my free training, Get Your Brand Together. It's jam-packed with all the juicy deets to help you design a visual branding that's aligned with who you are and what your business does.
Don't stop now! If you're wanting to craft a brand that amplifies your business, it's time to take the next step. With my guidance, get ready to watch your brand sparkle.