Why do we recognize brands like BMW, IMB, Starbucks, or Amazon? Because they work hard on building and cultivating a strong, memorable, and trustworthy brand identity. Small businesses and startups, on the other hand, don’t believe they need to be consistent about their brand identity.
A brand identity consists of numerous design elements, such as your logo, brand colors, typefaces, graphic elements, and tone of voice. It unifies these elements, helping your startup position itself as recognizable and consistent.
This is how you create a brand. Your brand is the combination of all emotions, experiences, associations, and opinions your customers may have about your startup.
Let’s learn how design can impact your brand identity.
Analyzing the Market
To build your brand identity, you first need to research your market.
Start by assessing your business presence. Ask yourself how consistent your brand is. Your goal is to create a stable brand early on so your target customers can remember you easier. Most importantly, you should know who your customers are and test whether your brand design resonates with them.
Interview your customers, analyze usability data, share online surveys, ask for reviews, and listen to them on social networks. Does your brand design tell them what your brand is about? Most importantly, do they remember it?
The best way to focus on the right design is to collect customer data and create reliable buyer personas. You should know your audience’s demographics, such as their age, location, family status, employment, etc. What are their goals and frustrations? What channels do they use? This way, you will be able to understand your intended customers and be able to adapt your design to them.
Creating a Brand Style Guide
A brand style guide is a building block of your brand identity. This is a set of rules any member of your team of designers should follow when creating, presenting, or promoting your content. With its help, your in-house design team or a creative agency will gain a better understanding of your brand and know their roles in maintaining your brand consistency.
For starters, emphasize your missions and purposes, as they should guide your brand identity creation. You should also define your logo, as it plays a central role in your brand identity. A guide should specify some general rules about your logo, including its size, placement, the white space around it, and where it should be used. As for colors and fonts, you should pick them early on and use them consistently across all online and offline channels you use. A guide should strictly emphasize the use of any visual assets, their sizes, and placement in advertising materials.
Choosing Brand Elements
When choosing brand assets, it’s important to keep their memorability, relevance, likability, and adaptability in mind. In other words, you want to choose those brand elements that resonate with your audiences and can be tailored to your brand changes over time. The next step is focusing on the right brand elements:
It is immensely important because it determines how people perceive your brand. Different fonts have personalities and evoke certain emotions in users.
For example, Serif fonts are easily simple, professional, and user-friendly. They’re used by brands like Tiffany & Co. and Vogue to make bold statements and emphasize tradition and authority.
Sans Serif fonts, like Helvetica or Calibri, are ideal for digital formats, especially blogs and casual companies. They’re legible, fun and, at the same time, visually appealing and modern. This kind of fonts is used by Skype, Google, and Target.
Handwritten fonts, like Pacifico or Insolente, are authentic and elegant. They’re perfect for brands wanting to emphasize their uniqueness and build more personal relationships. One of the most famous handwritten logos is certainly Walt Disney.
Decorative fonts, such as Limelight or Bangers, are creative, original, and strong. Brands like Guitar Hero use it to emphasize their fun side and explain their brand personality.
Colors are a strong branding weapon used to evoke emotions and influence buying decisions. Statistics say that 92% customers say that colors impact their purchasing decisions the most. Now, each color has a unique personality.
Red, for example, is warm and exciting, while yellow stands for enthusiasm, happiness, and youth. Green is often related to money, but it also denotes health, balance, knowledge, and nature. Purple is the color of loyalty, creativity, and mystery, while blue stands for trust, honesty, competence, and integrity.
Forms and Shapes
No matter if it includes text or an icon, every brand logo has a shape. Different shapes have different meanings and purposes, triggering different brand associations.
For example, geometric shapes convey authority, precision, and a sense of order. Many popular brands rely on geometric shapes. For example, IMB uses a minimalist square logo to emphasize its strength and reliability. Circles stand for unity and timelessness, while triangles emphasize growth and stability.
There are also symbolic logos that are highly related to a brand’s culture and depend on users’ perceptions. For example, arrows indicate directions, hearts stand for love, while stars often emphasize patriotism and religion. This is the kind of logos many global brands like Amazon or FedEx use.
Focus on Consistency
It’s a good idea to hire an in-house team of graphic designers that understand your brand values and inject them into each piece of content you create. If hiring an in-house team is expensive for your new business, you can also outsource brand design to a creative agency. Always choose an agency that can help you create on-brand and cohesive materials, be they printed or online.
Designing Brand Identity
Now that you have chosen your brand elements, it’s time to start working on implementing them into your marketing materials.
Focus on creating a gorgeous website, as it impacts your startup’s credibility on so many levels. According to some recent statistics, 75% of online customers judge the trustworthiness of a site based on its design. Therefore, you should insert your logo and colors consistently across all pages. When creating custom animations or illustrations, always use the same style and colors to make your posts recognizable.
You shouldn’t forget your printed materials, either. Your business cards, catalogs, and brochures. These are tangible reminders of your company that reach greater audiences and give you an opportunity to build a memorable brand that stands out. Pay special attention to your product packaging, as it tells your customers a lot about your brand personality and values.
Over to You
A solid brand identity means the difference between gaining a competitive advantage in the overcrowded market or failing miserably. Luckily, creating it is easier than it seems. You just need to understand your market, customers, and business and start building a brand that resonates with them. Above all, ask for your audience’s opinions and adapt your brand to them.