Expressions like “second chances” have no ground in the 21st Century’s competitive world. Do not make the mistake of thinking, “ My customers will get it, eventually,” when building your brand and forming its visual identity.
A brand’s visual identity decides how customers will form an impression of the brand. As per research, the efforts you put to build a unique and memorable brand identity are very critical as it only takes 0.1 seconds for people to formulate judgements about the faces and visual aspects they see.
So, you need to make those 0.1 seconds count and create something that makes them look and interpret as trustworthy, likeable, and attractive. It is easier said than done, but not impossible.
Follow our guide to know more about brand visual identity and how to build one.
Understanding Visual Identity
A more recent and particular study in relation to the one listed above finds that your visitors will decide whether or not they want to stay on your website within the first 0.05 seconds.
Your visual identity graphic design should be strong enough to make great first impressions, otherwise it is easier to become prey to people’s snap judgements. Simply put, an organisation’s visual identity is an expression of the values and ambitions of the company with a mix of brand elements having unique properties.
A logo or header image on the website does not suffice the meaning of visual identity. It also includes the typography, colour palette, imagery, text, layout, along with other nuanced aspects of creative designing.
By bringing all these elements to work together, your motive must be to create a single and unified design that is an accurate representation of what your brand is and what it intends to be.
What is the purpose of curating a unique visual identity from scratch?
Creating a visual identity graphic design helps evoke an emotional response from your viewers and potential customers. It allows sending out a message about the nature of the brand and creating a visual representation of your brand.
Building a strong brand and visual identity is like writing a compelling, easy-to-remember story and narrating the central idea sufficiently. The cast and crew of this story are the brand elements.
What are Brand Elements?
Six brand elements are integral to every aspect of creating the right visual identity.
These six elements can be divided into two categories;
- Offensive Strategy includes memorability, meaningfulness, and likeability.
- Defensive Strategy includes transferability, adaptability, and protectability.
Satisfying all these six elements is pivotal to creating memorable brands. If you have an indifferent set of customers in all the locations your product or brand reaches, then can you leverage the true potential of all these elements.
77% of the customers like to engage with brands that share the same values with their customers. Because your customers in one country can relate to the meaningfulness behind the brand message, the chances are that those in other countries may not connect with the same potency. To merge all these elements into a single frame, we need to utilise colours, imagery, typography, graphics, icons, logo, and other visual plus interactive elements.
What’s the Difference Between Visual Identity and Brand Identity?
Style of Expression
Let’s understand it this way; visual identity is a subset of brand identity. In other words, to create a complete visual identity, we need to ace the aspects related to brand identity.
Brand identity includes both visual and non-visual elements of branding, while the visual identity graphic design solely consists of creative elements like images, colours, etc. The non-visual aspects of brand identity include the tonality, content formation, layout, objectives, and core values a brand needs to share.
Another line of difference between these two is the thought process required to build them. The thought process varies because the people looking after these aspects are also different.
Where the creatives and designers oversee the visual identity and its creation, the brand identity is looked at by the marketers, who also have to look at other aspects of promoting the brand on a larger scale.
When it comes to visual identity, it is more related to how people see the brand. People will see your brand’s visual elements and decide in fractions whether or not they will continue to associate with it further.
But when it comes to brand identity, it's more about how they feel and think about your business when they hear the name. See it like this, when people hear about your brand, if your logo comes to mind, it means that you have successfully created a memorable logo that aptly justifies its creative elements.
While we are discussing the differences, it would be good to understand how they overlap, and yes, they do overlap to some extent—both brand identity and visual identity help in creating a unique perspective for the brand. If one does it by visuals, the other engages in a thought-provoking strategy.
Also, while creating a visual identity, the creative team must understand the brand’s core values. On the other hand, to create a successful brand identity, the branding team must incorporate visual cues into their message delivery.
Since our guide is more skewed towards helping you create a brand and visual identity, the succeeding sections will talk about creating a memorable visual identity.
The Core Constituents of Visual Identity
Any sort of visual identity is only as good as the usage of its visual elements. Your visual identity graphic design is your story brought to the world with the help of creative aspects. Using these to make designs will surely evoke feelings and make them easy to perceive.
Here are the constituents of visual identity:
Colours play an integral role in sending out the right message. Even though people have not read about colour psychology, they still formulate perceptions based on colours. That is why if you are into financial products, you may want to use gold, orange, and green shades.
Products that sell and associate with health and nutrition will find a relevant audience if they use grass green shades, yellow and so on. For luxury products, black, silver, and gold are the right choice for the colour palette.
A 2006 study found that more than 62% of customers' decisions are influenced by the colours you use in your branding. Although the research may be a bit old, the results are still relevant. Albeit, a more recent study has found this number to increase to 75%.
Colours play a significant role in ensuring that your brand is recognisable and memorable. In other words, they are crucial to build a positive side of the customer’s snap judgement.
The text you use in your branding efforts differs in terms of type of text, its shape, and styling. Typography also plays an essential role in determining the aesthetics appeal of the website. In a scenario where 46% of customers assess the credibility of the brand based on aesthetics, it is time that you pay attention to the typography too.
This is where you have to select the right images or videos to create a unique visual identity. However, take note that 39% of people will stop engaging with the website if the images take too long to load.
Imagery can be directed as the living image of your brand. In other words, images stick better in the mind than anything else that you can use for your branding.
One thing that brand strategists seem to miss is “For whom are they using the images?”
The images should resonate with the end-users instead of only associating with the brand. They need to empathise with the end-users and how they will perceive the same.
A better way to do that for the brand identity team is to draft guidelines for the visual identity team with regards to the image setting, creation, and layout.
Some Outstanding Examples of Visual Identity
Here are some examples of unique brand visual identity examples.
- Headspace: Headspace is a meditation application. So, their homepage must reflect the same values as they wish to provide.
Headspace has gone with the right content and typography, keeping everything simple yet attractive. Most importantly, it reflects what they want to sell - A stress-free and happier life.
- Buffy: Buffy is a sleep brand that sells comforters. This means they want to sell a comfortable sleeping experience.
Their pages ooze out a beautiful vibe with muted colours and a playful experience created with illustrations. Buffy uses different visual elements to create the right perception and send out the perfect message.
As a patron of creating the right visual identity, your job must be to make the brain’s work easier. A few things to keep in mind are that you need to tell a compelling story, KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid), and always be consistent while creating a balance between different elements.
Most importantly, never stop trying and absorbing new information. Trends change, customer preferences change, the way people perceive brands change. There is no point for you to stop there and wait for your time to come. Make your own identity and keep moving forward.