I’ve been thinking a lot about Brand Identity Design lately and how I can explain it to potential clients and other people when they ask what I do. Most people equate a brand’s identity with its logo. While a logo is a part of brand identity, it is not the whole thing (though, that is one reason why logos are so important).
Brand identity also incorporates such things as tone of voice, target client, company values, and more. Put simply, brand identity design is a company’s values plus it’s visuals.
There’s a reason that “values” comes first in the formula. Before designing any visuals for a company, I always try to understand their foundation and goals so the design conveys that information accurately. When working with clients, I use a questionnaire or talk with them one on one to make sure I understand where they’re coming from. Some things I like to ask are:
What do you want people to feel when they think of your company?
Who is your ideal client? (Describe them in detail- age, location, family, hobbies, etc.)
Who is your competition and what makes you different?
Describe your business as if it was a person (adventurer, hipster, summer salesman, etc.)
The answers to these questions gives us your WHY and helps us establish a direction for your visuals and copywriting, which is the next step in the brand identity process.
As a designer, I use your values to inform my design choices. Every aspect of a design has an intention behind it; there’s a reason behind the color palette, a reason behind the shapes and patterns, a reason for the amount of negative space. Those reasons are based off your values and target audience.
For example, I use several pictures of me across my website to convey the sense that I am friendly and approachable. I use a sans serif font to convey the idea that my designs are clean and modern in hopes of attracting clients who want their brand to also feel clean and modern. Those are just a couple instances of my values and how they translate into my visuals.
This idea extends into copywriting as your tone of voice should match your values and design. Just how you change your voice when you talk to a baby, your brand should adopt a tone that will attract your ideal client.
Once you have finalized your values and visuals, the last part is to embrace your brand identity. If done right, your brand identity will be a reflection of you and your business goals. Your brand identity is uniquely yours and you should be proud of it.
To help keep your identity consistent over time, I provide each of my clients with a style guide. This is a document that outlines all the design elements (logo, colors, image guidelines, copy guidelines, etc.) and how to use them in different scenarios (print, web, mobile, black & white, etc.). You can share your style guide with employees and other associates to make sure your brand is being represented appropriately across the board.
Before I end, I want to point out that it is okay for your brand to evolve over time. You should revisit your identity every so often to ensure that your visuals still align with your values. Your brand identity SHOULD pivot as you and your business pivot.
I hope that this information has been helpful and that you have a deeper understanding of brand identity design and how a graphic designer can help you achieve a meaningful solution. Comment below if you have any questions or suggestions for more things I could write about. I’d love to hear from you!
Stay classy friends,