A company’s “brand” and “logo” are often used interchangeably. But even though a logo can be a symbol of a business, it’s not necessarily the brand. Creating a logo is just one small step in creating a brand design identity.
A brand design identity consists of the visual elements of the business, such as colors, logos, typography, and graphics that are used to identify and distinguish the brand in consumers’ minds.
With millions if not billions of businesses trying to stand out to consumers, having a strong brand design is crucial for businesses to differentiate themselves from the competition.
If you are developing your first brand design identity for a client or your own business, it is important to understand what creates a brand design and what it takes to do this well. Read on to get a deeper level knowledge on the idea of a brand identity, and how it can make your business more valuable and successful over time.
What is Brand Design Identity?
Brand design identity refers to the key brand elements like logo, color scheme, fonts, and other design elements that make a brand recognizable to consumers.
It is the process of creating a brand’s visual identity by creating a unified compilation of visual elements. The visual identity is the aesthetic that encompasses positioning and brand personality. So, the most effective brand design is informed by research, deep consideration, and guided by strategy.
When a business effectively executes a brand design identity, the insights of research and strategy come to life in the form of websites, marketing resources, packaging, graphics, presentations, etc. Before any of these touchpoints can be created, you must define the design elements you will create.
What Goes Into Brand Design Identity?
A key part of creating a brand design is crafting elements that make up visual identity. They exist as components of a brand’s visual identity, so it’s essential that they work together. Keep the system as a whole in mind when creating each of the following design elements.
A brand’s calling card and imprint on the world is its logo. It can take on a variety of forms and dimensions, although in the end, it should be recognizable, and communicate the brand value.
A logo is an aesthetic symbol full of meaning that has the power to communicate the essence of a brand instantly to everyone that sees it.
The color palette a brand chooses for its design is important. Different shades elicit various feelings and reactions. The audience of a brand is affected psychologically by each color.
Understanding the impact is key to identifying the best colors for your brand and will help you get the most out of your design. Color is so important, that research has shown ‘using a signature colour can cause an 80% increase in a consumer’s recognition of your brand‘.
Like colors, fonts and typefaces are unique to designs and can say a lot about the brand. Some fonts can communicate power or leadership, while others might convey playfulness or creativity.
The fonts you choose in your brand design identity should fit with your objectives and overall visual style.
Great typography is meticulously and internationally chosen and designed; they bring a distinct personality to the brand.
Shapes can be the simplest visual elements that go into brand design identity, but they are still important. Just because they are basic doesn’t mean they don’t have meaning or create a response from customers.
Whether they are suggestive or just representational, shapes can make or break the foundation of a brand. Choosing the right shapes to create building blocks for the rest of the design can have an impact on the final product.
Another aspect that can give your brand an immediate and powerful personality are illustrations. It’s essential to develop a consistent illustration style and take into account how illustrations will be included into all design elements.
The style of your illustrations will also create a response from consumers, they can be friendly or thought-provoking, either way, the illustrations you decide to use have an impact on brand design.
Icons and iconography are ways to communicate information with simplified illustrated graphics. Icons are an art and a science, they should concisely communicate the message you wish to convey.
Good iconography gives designers an illustrative language inspired by the industry and medium that they are created in. Essentially, icons should be simple and clear to communicate a point.
Texture and Patterns
Texture is the surface quality of the design and patterns are the intentional repetition of shapes or forms. Textures can be a variety of things like, rough, smooth, fuzzy, soft, etc. visual textures can define the quality of a surface when designing a brand.
Patterns are planned structures that can be easily replicated and produced. It’s important to remember that both are supporting elements for a brand design identity. If you are going to use them they should enhance the message you want to communicate, not distract from it.
Animation and Motion
Motion and animation in corporate branding breathe life into still images. Both are used in moderation, rather than to entertain users, use them to give feedback on an action or a small interaction.
When used intentionally it can help users build mental models about how a brand works and how they can interact with it. Both animations and motion attract attention, make sure to not make them distracting from the important content.
The foundation of effective brand design identity is how all of the visual elements fit together to create the brand design, this is known as the layout.
Layout gives meaning and organization to the brand and can make it visually appealing or easy to navigate and understand. A good brand design provides balance to a page and implements a hierarchy for users.
How to Execute a Brand Design?
When it comes to building a brand design, the elements we’ve outlined are just the building blocks. The brand design comes to life in execution. Effective brand design is the product of proven and well-done research. Evolving a brand through data is key to making it the best brand possible.
1. Do Your Research
Design research is an important factor of the product development process. Although businesses frequently try to find justifications to avoid the process, they cannot afford to dismiss research. Instead of taking a chance on the performance of your product, committing to research will yield valuable insights that are important for the effectiveness and success of your brand design process.
2. Create a Strategy
Brand strategy is the planning and outlining of your brand so that it is perceived by your target audience to be recognizable, unique, distinctive, trustworthy, reliable, and attractive.
Your brand strategy incorporates your company’s goals. It outlines what distinguishes your brand from the competitors, what makes it unique, and the way you want your users to perceive it. After all, how can users differentiate your brand if you can’t do it yourself?
3. Design Brand Elements
The fundamentals of a brand design identity are made up of combinations of elements that make up the entire brand image and message.
Logos, colors, fonts, shapes, icons, and patterns are only a few of the fundamental components of brand design. To create a brand identity that evokes emotions, creates a specific image, and attracts the attention of a target market, designers use a variety of brand elements.
4. Test Your Brand Design
Usability or A/B testing elements of your brand identity eliminates uncertainty around design decisions by validating them with real user feedback.
A human-centered technique known as usability A/B testing utilizes real people to test logos, websites, products, and other resources to gain real feedback on user experiences and preferences.
In usability A/B testing, two versions of the resource are presented to a panel of users in order to determine which version has the greatest impact, achieves the test’s objectives, and will be successful once they go live.
Having a distinct brand design identity has never been more important with increasing levels of competition. Companies who take the steps to properly communicate their values and express them in a way that captivates user’s interest through brand identity will always be an advantage.
People who support what your business has to offer are drawn to it by a strong brand identity that has a face, can be trusted, and has a mission. However, once they start using the product, that same brand identity makes them feel a sense of belonging. A good brand with all its elements, creates loyalty as opposed to just customers with a quality product.