You only get ONE chance to make a good first impression.
Truth is potential customers interact with your visual branding before they interact with you, so you want it to speak eloquently. Potential customers need to be IMMEDIATELY attracted to your brand so they feel connected to you and want to learn more about you and the services or products you offer.
Before we dive into discussing the components of your visual brand, let’s start with the definition of visual branding.
“Visual Branding, also known as visual identity, is what visually communicates your company’s VALUES and PERSONALITY.”
Did you know your values and personality are communicated by the visuals you select? I can look at your branding and tell if you value quality, fun, are professional, experienced, or even if you care about the environment. Everything about your visual brand is speaking to your customers. When the brand components are combined well, they create a powerful language. I like to say your visual brand is the language you use to speak to your customers without uttering a single word.
Your visual brand includes: Your logomark or wordmark, your color palette, your fonts, graphical elements, and photos/images.
Let’s go a bit deeper with each one.
- Logomark or Wordmark: This is one of the most identifiable elements of your visual brand and speaks for you when you’re not around. When people see your logo they should be able to make an immediate connection to your company. Over time as your customers are exposed to your brand, the logo will become easily identified for them. That’s why it’s important not to change your logo too often as your customers need time to get familiar with it. It’s even critical to large brands. In the example below Uber underwent a second rebrand in less than 3 years after the company’s reputation took a hit after accusations of their toxic culture. They received a lot of flack for the rebrand but they wanted to move away from the all caps masculine-looking Uber logo (on the bottom) to a more modern and open logotype. They knew the logo said a lot to their customers about what they valued and who they wanted to be in the future.
- Color Palette: Every color means something and it’s important to select the correct colors for what you want to convey to your customers. Choose colors that complement each other so they look appealing and modern. Start with two primary colors as your foundation and then select 3-5 colors which can be used to complement the two primary colors. The wrong color combination can make your brand look unprofessional, unattractive, and dated. Below is a sample color palette. Color is a very important element to any visual brand as it is 80% of what any customer sees first. In the future, I’ll devote an entire post to color as it deserves its own deep dive.
- Fonts: The fonts you choose are one of the most important decisions in your visual brand. It’s the cornerstone of your brand’s communication language. Different types of fonts evoke different types of feelings and it’s important to use the right font to project the image you want your customers to receive. Even the weight of the font you select can evoke a feeling. I recommend that you have you at least two fonts that pair well. A great font library to use are Google Fonts as they are free and can be used for both Web and print. The example below shows how Google Fonts Raleway and Open Sans are paired to produce a beautiful ad for a burger joint. Once you select your pairing stick with it throughout everything you create for your brand. As tempting as it maybe don’t stray from using them. Over time people will recognize the consistency across your brand and will associate it with everything you create.
- Graphical elements can include textures, images, stylized icons, a line style treatment, how you use white space or color blocks. These are typically created by your graphic designer. Not all brands have any type of stylized treatment and some opt for a cleaner and more minimal look. It’s a personal preference. Work with your designer if you want to create elements that will be associated with your brand. Notice the geometric elements in The Brand Stylist images below. She’s consistent about using it across her brand.
- Photos or images: You don’t have to use the same photos again and again but maybe all your photos have a similar design style, shading, or pose. The key here is to be consistent. The example below shows how The Brand Stylist uses color, font, graphical elements, and photos in her brand. There is consistency across these areas. It is an elevated design that gives you the impression that she knows what she’s doing. You trust her to help you with your brand.
So now let’s discuss the elements of a good brand identity/visuals:
- Attractive – It’s impactful upon your first encounter with it and makes you want to learn more.
- Consistent – It Uses the same colors, fonts, images, and design elements no matter where you see it which makes people trust you and what your brand represents.
- Distinctive – You feel that it is unique to your company and stands out among the competition.
- Memorable – people remember your visuals and it makes them want to engage with it again and again.
Now It’s Your Turn: Take a look at your visual brand from your business cards to your social media to your newsletter headers. Does it include all the components listed above? If not, now is a great time to get help to improve your visual brand.
Before you go…
I hope that you see how consistent and cohesive messaging, story, and visuals can help you connect with your customers and ultimately gets them to take action. Now it’s time for you to take action and put your brand strategy to work for you as you build an impactful and engaging brand.
Have a question about your brand strategy? Post it below and I’ll be happy to respond.