Building a strong visual identity takes time. It’s the first thing people learn about your business, therefore it is important to create an everlasting impression. Famous Art Director and Graphic Designer, Paul Brand, previously stated “Design is the silent ambassador of your brand” (Brand, 1950). It is our instinct to react to visual cues in all aspects of life. With content easily consumed and increased time online, it’s more important than ever to create a visually appealing identity.
What is a visual identity?
Visual mediums making up your brand and core values combine to create a visual identity. It differentiates and expresses a brand to create a lasting impression. With intentional and coherent graphic elements, your visual identity is utilised as a communication tool with your audience – forming an associated response.
Visual identity elements include:
- Colour palette
- Web design
- Physical brand assets (merchandise, packaging, brochures, business cards, email signatures, social media profile pictures etc.)
How is a ‘brand identity’ different?
To differentiate the two, visual identity comes under the large umbrella of ‘brand identity’. Brand identity makes up everything that your business is. This includes the company’s core values, tone, style, brand voice, personality and mission statement. A company’s brand identity is usually created by marketing specialists, visuals will be taken care of by designers.
Purpose of visual identity:
- Influence audience perception
- Leave a lasting and emotional impact
- Give audience an insight into what the business offers and stands for
- Create cohesion across multiple assets of the business
Companies with strong visual identity:
Purple Giraffe has created a unique and engaging visual identity highlighting what they can offer customers. The logo features a giraffe, illuminating their unique ability to see far and reach things that seem unreachable. They have chosen purple as their company colour, representing the strong and creative qualities they provide.
The outdoor brand exceeds in the visual identity realm. They offer visual elements their customers can connect with to promote their products. This past year they created short film inspired advertisements that truly tap into the outdoors. This style gives their audience an adventurous outlook in an organic and innovative way, fitting with their brands core values.
Spotify reflects their core audience of millennials in their visuals. Initially starting with a ‘black, white and green’ colour palette, Spotify decided to turn their visual identity up a notch, now oozing with eccentric colours and graphics. With their collaborative feature, Spotify wrapped and their consistent duo-toned imagery, their engaging graphics express communal joy and creativity, aligning with their fundamental values.
The popular meditation app truly understands the importance of cohesion when it comes to their visual identity. They offer an uplifting colour scheme perfectly representing their brand mission, ‘less stress, more joy’. Their social media platforms, website and application comprise of charming illustrative characters and visually engaging motivational quotes!
The action camera brand delivers when it comes to their visual communication. One of their best strategies is connecting with their target audience to create user-generated content. These videos include GoPro footage of action sports and adrenaline-fuelled activities.
They aim to get their audience to ‘celebrate and live in the moment’, this is heavily reflected in their visual advertisements. With their camera offering the opportunity to capture insane action footage and imagery, there is no limit to anyone’s experience.
Quick tips to improve your visual identity:
1. The right fit
Ensure your visual elements are appropriate and fit with your overall brand. Ask yourself ‘are these elements targeting my chosen audience?’ or ‘are they evoking the intended emotional response?’.
2. Stand out from the crowd
What makes your brand different from other businesses? Ensure your visual identity is unique to create a memorable experience.
3. Simplicity is key
Don’t overcomplicate your intended message to your audience. If your business’s overall ambience and intention is understood through visual elements, you are on the right track.
4. Stay relevant
Trends change and so will your brand’s visual identity. That said, do not change your brands’ visual elements every six months. Create visuals you believe will last or are adjustable!
5. Consistency = success
To improve consistency across all visuals, ensure your elements can adapt to every medium. The last thing you want is your physical elements to be inconsistent with your online assets.
There are endless benefits to creating a strong visual identity for your brand. It is the core element when creating lasting connections with your audience and can set your brand apart from the rest.
If you are creating your company’s visual identity, start by breaking down your brand identity and go from there! With some hard work and consistent visuals, your audience will be able to distinguish your brand in one glimpse in no time!