Understanding the Elements of Brand Identity

Imagine you’re out shopping and have to pick between two similar products. Both have comparable features, but one has a sleek and elegant design while the other has actual no-fluff packaging. Will you spend a few extra dollars for the fancier one or opt for, the cheaper version? Many would select the item that looked higher end even if what was inside was essentially the same, especially if it was made by a company they recognized. This is the power of branding.

Photo by Kristian Egelund on Unsplash
Photo by Kristian Egelund on Unsplash

Branding should be impactful because it’s the buyer’s first impression of a product or business. Just a little extra care when it comes to the design of a box or the aesthetics of an ad can be the difference between a lifetime customer and a lost sale. If customers can recognize, understand, and feel connected to a product with a glance, they’ll be more likely to buy it. But this esteem isn’t just about having a large client base or longevity on the market; it’s about catching customers’ eyes and conveying the right message. This might not sound easy, but it can be done by paying attention to just a few details.

Brand identity comprises all the little marketing pieces, from the logo to the color scheme, typography, iconography, jingle, and more. A good brand creates value with these small details, a trait that we as humans cherish and look for in our products, and will keep your clients and customers returning for years to come.

Of course, it’s almost inconceivable to try to make sense of it all and create something if you aren’t a brand designer. This is why many brand design agencies worldwide help businesses find and reveal their brand identities to their audiences. If you still haven’t found a reliable branding company, this is the right moment to do it. Meanwhile, look at several essential brand identity elements you should know about to create successful marketing.

Logos

When people think of branding, they usually think of logos. A logo is a visual representation of the brand name and itself, whether a simple, stylized version of the company name or an artistic and abstract rendering. For example, Apple’s logo might not have much to do with computers at first glance but has become an iconic brand image of innovation thanks to its consistent brand messaging and successful marketing. Meanwhile, others take a more simplistic approach. Hershey, for instance, uses a logo reminiscent of the food itself, while brands like Taco Bell and Target use their names as inspiration.

A recognizable logo helps to raise brand awareness. Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash
A recognizable logo helps to raise brand awareness. Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Whatever form a logo takes should convey what the company is all about, give an inclination about what they sell, and be memorable and impactful. Not only is a logo something that should look good on letterheads and merch, but it should effectively showcase the brand’s identity.

Color

Playing with color can be artistic or creative but also have physiological advantages. Marketers use colors to create particular messaging and evoke certain moods. For example, silver is a luxurious color, while green is often tied to sustainable brands. These responses and connections are essential to keep in mind when creating branding, as it’s pivotal to ensure the colors will send the right message and attract a suitable customer base. For instance, if a product is made for adults but uses colors that seem ideal for children, it may not sell.

Color psychology is one of the main branding elements. Photo by Balázs Kétyi on Unsplash
Color psychology is one of the main branding elements. Photo by Balázs Kétyi on Unsplash

Off-putting or unpopular colors are usually avoided in branding but can sometimes work to your advantage and set your company apart. For example, brown isn’t traditionally seen as a welcoming color but works for UPS and Hershey because it reflects the physical representation of their products and services.

It’s also important to consider how a color scheme will look in particular conditions. For example, the message may become muddled if a logo becomes unreadable due to too many similar colors when printed in black and white.

Typography

As the great Paul Rand said, “Good typography is art.”

Language is one of the oldest living art forms, and out of language comes type. Typography is everywhere, and you don’t have to go far to find it. Great typography can be located at every street corner, on every book cover, and in every advertisement.

Like color, different varieties of typography elicit different psychological responses. Some fonts feel childish or fun, while others are more formal and straightforward. Could you imagine a prestigious university using a Disney-esque font for its marketing? Or a children’s toy brand usually found in textbooks using a stiff and uptight font? These things don’t go together, yet we often overlook the impact typography can have.

Typography is one of the key elements of a successful brand strategy. Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
Typography is one of the key elements of a successful brand strategy. Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Readability is also a significant concern when it comes to font. The more accessible text can be, the more comprehensive your potential audience. Pick impactful, functional, and appropriate typography for the industry, audience, and brand.

Typography can be handmade or computer-generated; just ensure it reaches your audience and conveys the appropriate message. Most Importantly, when choosing fonts, remember to separate the logo, headers, and body copy on all of your media, so you don’t generate confusion. Once you’ve settled on a solid typeface, keep it consistent across all platforms.

Images

In a fast-paced world, plain text on a brochure without something to look at will leave your clients or customers bored and uninterested. That’s why a key ingredient in developing an excellent brand identity is the use of illustration and photography. Like a quality logo, your brand relies heavily on these two assets.

Images are a powerful way of calling attention to something and giving an idea of its overall abilities. Visual impact can be one of the most memorable aspects of a brand or product, whether a simple icon, photograph, video, infographic, illustration, or another form of media. Visual aids can better convey specific ideas than written or spoken words and enhance those aspects in powerful ways.

A simple icon, photograph, video, infographic, illustration, or another form of media can be an important brand element. Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash
A simple icon, photograph, video, infographic, illustration, or another form of media can be an important brand element. Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

Just remember to keep photography and illustration consistent. This can be done using the same images or a trademark shooting style for video. Not all the visuals need to look identical but should look like they came from the same place.

Unique Graphics

Imagine branding is like decorating a room; all the elements are furniture. Putting them all together looks okay, but it doesn’t seem quite right; it doesn’t feel lived in or complete. It must be styled by adding an area rug or an accent wall to pull it together.

Graphics are like styling. They solidify the tone and style. A couch and a table could feel modern, industrial, or traditional, but a few frames here and there and some other minor elements pull them together to create the overall look and decor style. Likewise, graphics bring all the other branding pieces together to create a visual way for customers to experience and interact with the brand. They help to clarify and convey but also make things more cohesive.

Unique graphics help create a strong brand positioning strategy. Photo by 2H Media on Unsplash
Unique graphics help create a strong brand positioning strategy. Photo by 2H Media on Unsplash

Like a sound designer, develop a library of graphics to have handy for whenever you need to spice things up or tie them together. These can be as simple as lines and dots, text boxes, or other more stylistic or artistic choices that can serve as a mouthpiece and shape the tone of the overall message.

Conclusion on Brand Elements

Brand identity is about far more than a company name and logo. It’s the overall tone of voice and face of the brand showcased to potential customers. Good brand identity will attract business, convey the company’s message, and be unique and artistic.

Collaboration is key to developing a strong brand identity within the team, with a professional branding expert, or with test groups. But patience is also crucial. It may take some time to nail down exactly what direction to go, but being deliberate will better shape the overall company and prepare it for better success in the long run.

Thanks for reading!

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store