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What is Visual Brand Identity: Building a Powerful Brand (And 3 Reasons You Need To)

What is visual brand identity? Here we explain a brand identity’s main elements, how it's created and why exactly it's so beneficial to businesses.

By

January 12, 2022

what is visual brand identity

A visual brand identity is all of the imagery, colors, logos and typography that expresses who a brand is and differentiates it from all the others. 

In other words, a visual brand identity describes everything customers can physically see, including the logo, brand colors, packaging and the environment where it is found, such as a store shelf or social media accounts. 

So what is a visual brand identity for? In short:

  1. To explain your customers about your business and how it can help them
  2. Position your brand within a given market
  3. To create a bond and empathize with your audience on a deeper level

However, while creating a visual brand identity is an important task, many new businesses tend to breeze too quickly through this process. 

They assign a designer, complete some revisions, collect the PDF files and call it a day. But what is visual brand identity, really? And how can creating a relatable and authentic design help communicate what your brand really stands for? 

First off, let's pose a question: Would you consider purchasing from a company that is not consistent with its branding? The likely answer: No -- and you didn’t even realize. 

To achieve that strong subliminal effect, a visual brand identity must maintain consistency: Your brand marketing must be glued together by your logo, colors, typography, and even in the types of platforms where customers can find you. 

As a brand, you might have complex ideas and messaging that would be tough to convey in simple text. This is where visual brand identities come in handy. A specific color invokes a certain feeling; similarly, other visual elements hit certain right emotional chords.

Tangible elements such as logo, fonts, and colors are the building blocks of your brand identity. Your audience will recognize you from these unique choices. They will associate several actions and emotions with it — be it the choice of your colors, logo, fonts, or anything else. 

For example, the two circles, one red and one orange, might remind you of Mastercard quickly rather than the name itself.

This is the power of a well designed visual brand identity. 

How do brand, logo, and visual identity differ from each other?

Your brand is the entire boundary of your business; it includes your messaging in every manner. 

Brand also depicts the personality, tone, and everything your company stands for.

This is different from the visual depiction of a brand; this is, a logo. 

A logo is a graphical icon that identifies your brand. Although it seems a very frivolous thing to stress upon, it's a significant part of your brand story that largely contributes to your visual brand identity. 

Thus, visual brand identity is how the entire brand story is communicated in a way that is physically seen by your customer. This includes every marketing collateral, product, and online presence that signifies a single cohesive strategy. 

To build a solid and impactful brand, you need to align every piece of the visual identity, starting from font type and logo.

What are the main components of a visual brand identity?

A visual brand identity combines everything from your brand's messaging to positioning. It all takes place with a well-defined brand strategy and carefully crafted design elements. 

A visual brand identity should include the following elements.

Brand color palette

Colors are used to signify your brand and its personality. 

It is advised to use three colors at max with carefully structured hues and shades. However, you cannot use any color based on your liking. Using the correct colors for your brand can generate relevant and powerful emotions in the viewer’s mind. 

The journey of color palette begins with a logo, but then those colors will be in every marketing collateral of your brand. Keep in mind that you don’t have to go with trends; instead, align with your brand mission and its purpose.

Imagery

Images are the most sensitive part of the visual brand identity, and they act as the living visual narrative of your brand. 

Thus, you must create images that best represent your brand and target audience. 

People relate to images, and if your images contradict your brand’s message, your audience won’t trust you. Images also evoke emotions and humanize your brand, which will help you to gain the trust of your customers.

Multiple versions of the logo

A brand creates a logo to speak to its market and leave a long-lasting impression on the audience’s mind. 

It is one of the core functions of visual brand identity because having a logo gives your brand a face.

However, a logo must also be adaptable. This is why you’ll likely create more than one logo, each adapted to living in different environments, such as your Facebook account, a brochure, a PDF presentation and other places.

Brand assets

Your brand assets include business cards, letterheads, social media covers, and other avatars. They are used to maintain consistency with your brand in every manner, as well as help in recognizing the brand right away.

Typography

Typography means the style and shape of the font you would use in your branding. 

There are thousands of fonts, but instead of going for anything you like, you need to see which type best suits your audience. 

Sometimes you will need to use more than two fonts, but each one should serve a different purpose.

Any other marketing collateral such as posters, banners, etc.

Branding means being consistent, and for the same purposes you need to prepare other marketing collateral, such as banners, posters, and hoardings, to fit nicely into the visual identity you’ve created. 

The elements of your visual identity are aligned with your brand's photography, product design, stationery, packaging, merchandise, and other collateral for your prospects, customers, and the team.

How to design a stunning visual brand identity?

1. Start with defining your brand identity

The brand identity is the starting point of everything. 

So you need to start by creating visuals to express your identity, and then things will come together once you know what your brand is all about.

But this doesn't mean that you have to look over every teeny tiny aspect of your branding right from the beginning. You as a brand will keep growing and evolve with time. In your initial days, you need to figure out all the basics that go into the process of visual brand identity.

Those basics include your mission statement, values, statement for your customers, buyer personas, and your communication style.

2. Familiarity with graphics

Are you familiar with graphics and the way they communicate? To create an impact with visuals, you need to understand their language. Graphic design is also known as visual communication for this reason.

The way you implement all of the above six design elements will decide if all of them are appropriate for you or not. Because not every brand is the same, even if two brands with the same industry won’t have the same branding colors and messaging. 

Some colors will invoke excitement, while others will invoke a feeling of trust and sensibility. It all comes down to the brand’s messaging and goals.

3. Storytelling

Graphics are all about communicating visually, but then stories are an integral part of the same. 

For example, the Domino’s logo with two rectangle boxes was intended to make one think of pizza boxes. The three dots signify the initial three outlets bought by owner Tom Monaghan.

Just like this, you can also sum up the entire story of your brand in some colors, fonts, and logos. Good stories are told seamlessly, and before you know it, you are already engaging your audience.

4. Consistency with contrast

The process of creating a visual brand identity is going to evolve in many ways as your brand grows. 

But you need to make sure that every element of your identity doesn’t look like a distinct part but as one. This is why you need to have well-written brand guidelines to escape from any potential inconsistent choices.

Often consistency is misunderstood with repetition. You don’t want to sound obvious every time and have your audience guess every move without any effort. That’s just boring and lazy. 

Instead, always look for ways to blend your brand image with the new contrast that goes with the brand effortlessly.

3 reasons why you need a visual brand identity

Creating a memorable brand is essential but at the same time, making it different is also just as important. 

This is the need of the hour in this era where your competitors can have overlapping purposes and target audiences. 
Before a person makes a purchase he/she needs to understand your brand, its values, and way of operation. The rationale here is simple: people don't just shop for products, they shop with emotions.

1. Visual brand identity sets the tone

How would you communicate the personality of your brand to the ideal customer? You cannot expect that person to read a 2-page long vision and mission statement just to purchase a single product. 

A visual brand identity helps you to convey your message succinctly. For this reason, it should be designed cohesively to communicate your company's overall message and goals.

2. Differentiation

An excellent visual brand identity sets you apart from your fellow competitors, and you want that. This is especially true if your company has entered a saturated market, but you wish to show that you are different nonetheless. 

So, how will your audience figure that out? Visual brand identity will do the talking for you and let your customers know that this company is different. If differentiation is your aim, you can consider adding more vibrant colors and a logo that tells your tale in a way that sticks out of the crowd.

3. Awareness

Creating a visual brand identity ensures that your brand gets highlighted in every marketing collateral in the best possible manner, which creates awareness among customers. You want more people to come across your brand and this way, it creates a long-lasting impression on their minds.

If you are a new brand in the industry you can face fierce competition and among such established brands you need an X factor to stand out. A visual brand identity helps you in generating awareness among the people who never came across your brand.

Swiggit: Creating a new visual brand identity, bringing the company from zero to 100+ sales a day

Swiggit is an alcohol delivery service based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It serves a vast selection of whiskey, beer, wine, and other premium spirits with the promise of delivering to your doorstep in as fast as 60 minutes. 

Being a quirky start-up, they asked Brevo to come up with a fun and exuberant name, logo, and a verbal brand strategy to position the company as a trendy alcohol delivery service. Brevo was tasked with fitting this identity for both HNWI and the upwardly mobile Malaysian middle class.

Brevo conducted group interviews with the client to assess and determine the brand's look, feel, and message. The result was to be warm, spirited, fun, and accessible – with a touch of sophistication. 

At this point, the company had no name, so it was down to us to craft something that captured the brand's personality and tone.

After finalizing the name, we proceeded to craft the logo, applying it to specific touchpoints relevant to the brand. It needed to be recognizable in large and small applications. 

The brand had to be as warm and smooth as the liquor they sold. We concurrently developed Swiggit's TOV and messaging, focusing on the playfulness, speed, depth of inventory, and customer-centricity of the brand.

The Result?


Swiggit went from literally zero to 100+ sales a day in its first month of operations. The premium yet accessible brand resonated with buyers, suppliers, multiple bars, and liquor distribution channels, opening up their vaults for Swiggit to tap into. 

Thanks to optimal branding, the company was able to earn customers' trust and loyalty, helping Swiggit quickly deliver on its promise of great alcohol delivered by a fun and fast brand.

Final Thoughts

Visual brand identity is a tool that is underestimated by many, but it holds a lot of power in creating an invincible brand. With a strong visual brand identity you can ensure that your messaging is right and not misunderstood by your audience. 

However, creating an entire visual brand identity or changing it can be a lot of work for any brand. So we at Brevo are here to help you with the process and, if you want better results just like our clients did, then contact us.

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