The Importance of Branding and Visual Identity in Your Marketing Strategy
If I ask you to close your eyes and think of Coca-Cola, what’s the first thing that would come to your mind? Some people would say the logo, some would say their vibrant red and white color scheme, while some might think of their iconic glass bottles.
But all of these have one thing in common — they are all visual elements that are associated with the Coca-Cola brand. And this is what we call a brand’s visual identity.
Visual identity plays a major role in branding, as well as in shaping an audience’s perception and feeling toward your brand. Today, let’s dive into what a brand visual identity is, and why it’s an important element to consider in your marketing strategy.
What Is A Visual Identity?
Visual identity is the collection of visual elements that are meant to represent a brand. It’s meant to show what the brand is all about, as well as how the brand is different compared to others.
This includes a brand’s logo and color palette, down to the design of their physical store. By having a specific and cohesive visual aesthetic, it helps customers to identify a brand, and down the line, develop brand recognition.
What Is The Difference Between Brand Identity Vs Visual Identity?
While they may sound similar (and are even related to each other), the two concepts are still different from each other.
Brand identity is the overall personality or representation of your brand. While yes, it includes your visual elements, it is also composed of non-visual elements such as your brand voice, brand persona, your brand’s mission and vision, your unique positioning, and more.
Visual identity, on the other hand, is mainly focused on the visual elements of your brand. It focuses on design, aesthetics, and the overall visual look of your brand.
To put it simply, brand identity is what the brand is on the inside, while visual identity is what a brand is on the outside.
While they are different concepts, it’s important that they work together. Your brand identity will dictate what your visual identity should look like, and your visual identity should be carefully constructed to ensure that it’s accurately representing your brand identity.
Why Is Visual Identity Important?
A brand visual identity is important because:
- It increases brand recognition – Having a set and specific visual identity used in your branding materials is a great way for customers to associate those visuals with your brand, therefore increasing brand recognition.
- It sets your brand apart – With multiple brands vying for a customer’s attention, having a unique and memorable visual identity can help you stand out from the crowd.
- It catches your customers’ eye – People are visual creatures and tend to make judgments based on a brand’s visuals. Having a well-designed visual identity, it increases the chance of a customer getting interested in your brand.
- It makes you more relatable – Depending on how you design your visual identity, it can help your audience to connect more with your brand. For example, a customer that is looking for a more approachable and casual brand will gravitate to you more if you are using a light pastel color scheme, unlike if you are using vibrant and bold colors.
- It increases brand loyalty – Customers tend to prefer brands that they are familiar with, and having a recognizable brand visual identity can massively contribute to that. The more your customers recognize your brand, the more familiar your brand will feel to them, therefore increasing their connection and loyalty to your brand.
What Are The Elements of A Brand Visual Identity?
Here are the elements that compose a brand’s visual identity:
Your logo is usually the first thing that people see in your brand. This is why it’s an important element and is usually what dictates the color palette, typography, etc., moving forward.
Your logo design cost will depend on the personality of your brand. For example, if you want to represent a more playful vibe, a colorful mascot-based logo might work for you. On the other hand, if you want a more elegant vibe, a cursive wordmark logo is more suitable. You can explore a logo maker app for iPhone to create the perfect logo for your brand.
Aside from accurately showing the personality of your brand, a great logo should also be recognizable, memorable, simple, yet timeless.
2. Color Palette
Believe it or not, the color palette that you use for your brand has a huge impact on how your audience perceives you. It’s tied to color psychology, where specific colors can affect a person’s emotions.
For example, red is the color of power and passion, which is why it’s a top choice for brands that are in the entertainment or automobile industry. It also incites hunger, which is why it’s commonly used by fast food chains like Wendy’s and KFC.
Blue, on the other hand, denotes stability, peace, and trust. This is why it is more used by banks, hospitals, airlines, and software products.
Of course, it is not only the individual color that matters but the color palette as a whole. The colors you’ll use should work well together, as well as be suitable for your brand’s identity.
Using your color palette across all your products is also a great way to increase brand recall in your customer’s minds, which is what Google is doing with their brand. They use their iconic blue, red, yellow, and green color palette across their suite of products (ex., Maps, Calendar, Drive), which reinforces that all of those are under the Google brand.
Typography is the art of arranging letters and text to make them visually appealing to its reader. It includes the typeface, point size, line spacing, word spacing, and others. In short, it deals with the overall design of letters.
Just like with your color palette, your typography choice has a huge impact on your visual identity. For example, each typeface has a different connotation to your customer’s mind. A sans-serif typeface can give off a modern, clean vibe, while a serif typeface can denote an older vibe. A script font can suit you if you want a fancier and more luxurious feel to your brand, while a bold graffiti-style font is suitable for brands that want to give off an edgier feel.
Other typography traits such as the distance between the letters, alignment (ex. left aligned, centered, right aligned), size (ex. pt. 10 vs pt. 20, weight (ex. bold, thin, italics), and accents (ex. drop shadow, glow, outline) can also give a different impact on your brand.
Typography is not only just present in your logo but in the overall text that you use for all your marketing assets. This includes the text on your website, business cards, posters, flyers, social media posts, packaging, and many more. Since it makes up a lot of presence in your brand and visual identity, it’s important to make careful considerations when choosing your typography.
The images that you use for your brand’s image and video content are crucial in conveying to your customers your brand’s personality.
For example, Adidas uses a lot of action shots, which is fitting since they are a sportswear brand. On the other hand, teen-oriented makeup brand Unicorn Glow uses a lot of vibrant colors in their product shots and uses casual beauty shots to showcase their brand’s approachable and friendly vibe.
Aside from ensuring that your images are suitable for your brand’s personality, it’s also important to consider the quality of the images. Make sure to use high-definition, well-lit photos, and avoid using stock photography as much as possible.
5. Graphics or Illustrations
Some brands prefer using creative graphics and illustrative content instead of photographs for their brand visual identity. This is a great way to stand out, as well as have a more personalized approach to branding.
A great example of this is Headspace. With their identity centered on mindfulness, they use cute and friendly characters with a pastel color scheme to give a peaceful vibe. They design their characters with wide smiles and a more rounded shape to reinforce their brand’s positive personality.
Consistency is also key when using graphics and illustrations. By using the same art style across your marketing materials, your brand’s visual identity will be more recognizable to your customers.
6. Website Design
Your website is essentially your brand’s office in this digital world. It’s where customers will go if they want to get to know more or interact with your brand.
Aside from the UX side of the website (this includes the loading time, ease of navigation, ease of use, mobile-friendly design, etc.), another important factor for your website is its visual design.
Why? It’s because 75% of users make judgments about your brand’s credibility just by your website visual alone, and 38% of users will stop using your website if the content and layout are unattractive. As you can see, your website’s visual is a crucial factor to consider.
To ensure that your website is well-designed, make sure it complements your brand. It should contain your color scheme, typography, images, or illustrations. You can also add animation or effects that are suitable for your branding.
Take note of design principles as well. Consider the alignment of your website text, the layout, the placement of your buttons, the size and color of your icon, the harmony of your color scheme, the readability of your text, etc.
7. Store Design
The design of your physical stores is also a key element of your brand’s visual identity. As with all the other elements, your store design should be consistent and suitable to your brand identity.
An example of this is Sephora. They use their sleek and elegant black and white color palette in their physical stores. Their stores are also brightly lit and use a lot of glossy finishing for their makeup shelves, to represent their high-end vibe.
The growth of e-commerce and online shopping has led to brands using packaging as another part of their branding. Brands now use this as another way to wow their customers and hopefully communicate their branding message to them.
An example is Happy Socks. This sock retailer uses a very colorful and lively pattern for their packaging, and it is also inspired by the sock pattern itself. As you can see, they use this visual element as a way to show that they are a fun and vibrant brand.
On the other hand, Tiffany uses a more minimalist and no-frills packaging, with them using a simple box for their jewelry. Instead, they chose to focus on using their iconic “Tiffany Blue” color to show their branding.
9. Marketing Materials
How your marketing materials are designed contributes to your visual identity as well. Whether these are your traditional marketing materials, such as brochures, posters, and flyers, to your digital materials, such as paid ads and social media content, how they look and how they relate to your branding is an important factor as well.
A great example of well-designed and consistent marketing materials is from Spotify. This music giant uses the same typography, illustration style, and color palettes across their materials. Their aesthetic always shines through, whether it’s on their billboards or their Facebook posts.
With this, most people can see a Spotify ad in passing yet still immediately think of Spotify. This is why aligning your marketing material design with your brand personality is the best and most powerful way to reinforce your brand image and visual identity.
Your brand has a story to tell, and the best way to make your message come across to your customers is through your visual identity.
While people will usually think of just the logo and color scheme, your brand visual identity encompasses a huge chunk of your branding materials, such as your website, posters, social media posts, and many more.
The key is developing a distinctive and suitable visual identity to fit your brand and your brand identity.
Ask yourself the following questions when designing your visual elements: Are these suitable for your brand? Will your customers remember your brand? Are they easy to understand? Are your designs adaptable to any medium or platform?
These should help you get started in building your brand visual identity. We hope this guide helped you, and don’t hesitate to share your comments below.
About the Author
Pristina is an Outreach Specialist at BrandCrowd, an online logo maker site. Outside work, she loves playing video games, traveling, and expanding her knowledge through reading.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is visual identity?
Visual identity is the visual representation of a brand or organization that communicates its values, personality, and characteristics through various visual elements such as logos, colors, typography, and graphics.
Why is visual identity important?
Visual identity plays a crucial role in brand recognition, differentiation, and perception. It helps organizations establish a consistent and memorable image in the minds of their audience and builds trust and credibility.
How do you create a visual identity?
To create a visual identity, start by defining your brand's values, personality, and target audience. Then, develop visual elements such as a logo, color palette, typography, and imagery that align with these values and appeal to your target audience. Finally, ensure consistency in the use of these elements across all communication channels.