When a business gets started, one of the first things they need is a brand. A brand is more than just a logo. A logo is just part of a brand’s identity system. A brand identity influences the customer at every point of their experience with a business. Your identity is how you look, feel, and speak to customers.
Before you start thinking about creating brand identity guidelines, you need to understand what an identity is. A lot of people tend to get brand and identity mixed up. And since brand and logos often get confused as well, I’ll go ahead and explain all three.
This is the perceived persona of a business. Branding includes all aspects of your company such as customer service and design elements. It’s who you are to your customers.
An identity is the visual components of a business that customers can recognize. So without ever seeing a name, customers should be able to recognize something a company produces based on its visual elements.
Brand identity can include:
- Alternate versions of a logo
- Font and typography
- Colors and color schemes
- Slogans (catchy phrase)
- Taglines (explains what your company does)
A logo is a central visual element. It is usually either an icon or symbol, logotype, or combo of the two. A logo will flow with a business’s identity system but is not the identity itself.
If you are still unsure between them, you can check out a previous blog of mine, How to Differentiate Among Brand, Logo, and Identity.
To create an identity system for your company, you need to do a little research. Start with these questions:
- What are your objectives?
- Who is your audience?
- What is your competition?
- What media will your identity use?
What is it you hope to accomplish with your brand identity? Do you just want to make your business look credible? Are you trying to stand out from others in your industry? With your objectives laid out, you can decide what your brand needs to do to reach those goals and how your identity should look.
Your identity has to appeal to your target audience. When thinking about your visual elements, consider your audience’s age, their interests, lifestyle, and more to make sure you look like a company they’d be interested in.
Take a look at other companies in your industry. That’s what your audience is exposed to. Look at trends, visual themes, and personalities. Your identity goal is to look like you belong while standing out from the competition in a good way.
Where will your identity system be used? For instance, if your identity will mostly be seen online, it should still look its best on print. This needs to be taken into consideration during the design stage so you don’t end up restricted in the future with where you can use your identity system.
Once you have these questions answered, you are well on your way to having a brand identity that will help your business succeed. All you have to do is turn those answers into a visual form.
To make sure your brand identity is most effective, it should have five main attributes:
Once you have created a brand identity system, you will need a brand standards guide. This will explain how your identity system is to be used. These are rules, not guidelines, to establish how to use your identity elements and how not to use them. Such rules could include how to use the logo, what colors can and can’t be used, what font should always be used, etc. To view an example, check out Twitter’s official branding guide.
An important thing to remember when creating a brand identity is that this should be created by an actual graphic designer. An identity system is nothing to mess around with. Since your identity acts as your business’s face, people will judge your company on that identity. You’ll want it to look as professional as possible.
Titan Web Marketing Solutions creates identity systems for businesses just like yours. Get started with a Logo Design, Website Design, or more today!
- Distinct: stands out from competitors and catches attention
- Memorable: makes an impact on those who see it
- Flexible: it can move with the brand
- Cohesive: everything complements each other and the overall brand
- Timelessness: can withstand years rather than reflect current trends that will become outdated