How to Design and Develop a Great Brand Identity

Last time, we talked about what brand identity is and isn’t. You can read the post here.

Talking about brand identity without mentioning ‘design’ is like talking about a building without including its foundation. This doesn’t mean that brand identity ends in design. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t.

The job of a great brand identity is to shape a business or product into a persona consumers agree with. Therefore, a brand identity has to engage all five senses when possible in order to create the perfect impression and incite the right feeling.

  • Sound? Think of the sound that plays you turn on your Windows computer. When you hear that sound coming from another room, it makes you think of Microsoft windows even without you seeing the origin of the sound. That’s branding.
  • Smell? When last did someone pass you by and the person’s scent made you think of a perfume brand or even a friend that wears the same perfume? That’s branding. Another example, one petrol station mini-mart increase coffee sales by 300% by pumping the smell of coffee near its gas pumps. That’s branding.
  • Taste? Pick any three wine brands with the same ingredients and taste them. Why do you think they taste different?
  • Touch? Have you ever bought a coat, a dress, or even a duvet because of house it feels when you touch it?
  • Sight? This is where design comes in. In the case of a wine business, design as a branding tool can range from the wine label and the shape of the bottle to the wine company’s website and logo?

Any of the above mentioned senses can be factored in when developing your brand identity, depending on what your business is about. However, design is the most popularly used branding tool because of its versatility. And we are going to focus on that.

Developing Your Brand Design

To develop your brand design, you need to start with the basics. When you get seamingly tiny aspects of design like fonts and colours right, every other thing falls in place.

Typography

This is the font (or set of fonts) you select for your branding materials. Typically, you can choose from four main typography categories. Check below.

Serif Fonts. These are fonts like Garamond and Time New Roman. They seem a bit old school and traditional, but they are the perfect fonts to use when you are looking to incite trust.

Sans Serif Fonts. These are fonts like Franklin Gothic and Helvetica. Unlike Serif Fonts, the letters have smooth edges and are ideal if you are looking to give your brand a more modern and sleek feel.

Script Typography. This category imitates cursive handwriting and include fonts like Pacifico and Allura. They make for a more feminine or luxurious feel in designs.

Display Fonts. These fonts are perfect when you are looking to make a bold statement–something not easily forgotten. Metallica’s lightning bolt font is a great example of display font.

Now that we have acquainted you with the four main categories of typography, be mindful as you choose one, as whichever typography you go with will go a long way in determining how people perceive your brand.

Colour Palette

Next on the list of design attributes you need to worry about as you develop your brand identity is colour palette.

Believe it or not, colours are just ordinary. Each colour, depending on your culture or side of the world, denotes something. This means that when people see a certain colour, certain image, feeling, thought etc comes to mind. For starters, let’s take a look at the most common colours, what they denote, and how you can use that knowledge to your advantage as you develop your brand identity.

  • Black can be incorporated in your designs to give your brand a modern touch or a tinge of sophistication.
  • Brown: when you are looking to stand out from the crowd, this could be the colour to use, if only because it’s rarely used in branding. Brown may also be used to convey masculinity or ruggedness.
  • Pink. This is the mother of gender stereotypes. In most cultures, it is associated with femininity. If your target audience is women, this can be an ideal colour to incorporate in your branding designs.
  • Purple: This colour is often used to portray royalty. Thus, it might work for you when you are looking to give your brand a luxurious feel.
  • Blue: this is a colour that appeals to most people. It’s easily accepted by both genders. Perfect for when you are looking to appeal to a wide demographic, it can make your brand seem more trustworthy and stable.
  • Green calls to mind ‘money’ and ‘nature’ in most cultures. If your brand has to do with wealth or eco-friendly products, this might be the perfect colour to use.
  • Orange: This is often used to denote friendliness and playfulness. Use it when your brand is looking to exude those feelings.
  • Yellow makes most people think of sunshine. It’s the colour of happiness and cheerfulness. It can be the ideal colour to use when you want to portray your brand as fun, affordable, and accessible.
  • Red. This is the colour of excitement and passion. Do you want a youthful or loud brand identity? Red might be the perfect choice.

Shapes & Lines

Just like colours, shapes can incite various reactions in people. For instance, a person’s reaction to circle will most likely be entirely different from their reaction when they see a triangle. By researching the various reactions surrounding certain shapes, you can integrate a shape in your design to inspire a designed reaction with your brand.

  • Round shapes, for instance, often inspire feelings of love and unity.
  • Straight edged shapes like squares and triangles, on the other hand, can inspire a feeling of trustworthiness and stability, since they generally denote efficiency and strength.
  • Straight Lines too have their own connotations. While horizontal line can convey peace and calm, vertical lines often depict strength and masculinity. So pay attention to them as you develop your brand identity.

Designing Your Brand Identity

Now that you understand the foundation of your design, it’s time to choose your design assets and then work with a designer to bring them and your brand identity to life. Of course, the design assets you select should be dependent on the nature of your business. Below are the most commonly used design assets:

Your Logo

This is a must have design asset for every business. You should aim for a logo that achieve the following:

  • Make a memorable impression on your prospects.
  • Conform with your industry’s standards.
  • Favour a classic feel over a trendy one, as you don’t want a logo that could go out of fashion in a few months.
  • Is simple, uncluttered, and neat. In order words, visually appealing.
  • Clearly conveys your identity and value as a business.
  • Comes in various formats (JPEG, PNG, etc) and multiple sizes
  • Has a black and white version

Learn more about designing a great logo. https://99designs.com/blog/tips/how-to-design-logo/

Your Website

This is another vital design asset worth making part of your brand identity, especially in this digital age. This is where consumers find information about your business online. If you run an online business or sell digital products, not having a website or at least a landing page is like trying to fill a gallon without a funnel. You will end up missing out leads that could propel your business to success.

Learn more about building a website.

Your Product Packaging

Whether you sell products or services online or offline, how you present that product to consumers can make or mar its success in the market. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but unfortunately that’s exactly worth people do. Therefore, never neglect your product packaging. Ensure that the designer you use gets it right.

Business Cards

This might sound a bit old fashioned, but trust me business cards are still in vogue. The best part is that you can reinforce your branding and the message you want to get across to consumers by having a stock up of business cards to give out. Who knows. A long lost customer could come calling simply because you gave them a way to reach you–a business card.

Remember to keep the design of your business card simple. The card should also have your logo and important contact details.

Your Email Design

If a website or landing page design number in your list of design assets, then so should an email design. Email marketing can become a means of reaching out to your customers once in a while to promote both old and new products or even educate about your company. While you are at it, remember that a simple design is better than a cluttered one. Also, stunning images can go a long way.

Your Branding Style Guide

This is a document that shows your design assets and how to use them. It can serve as a blueprint for your brand identity to ensure that future designs conforms to your original brand identity and inspires the desired perception among your prospects.

Now that You have learnt the most basic aspects of creating design assets for your brand identity, it’s time to reach out to a designer and give your business the best brand identity it can get.

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What brand identity is and isn't - Macaulay GidadoProtecting your personal online brand
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