A strong brand identity allows your business to stand out from competitors and connect with customers. This can lead to brand loyalty, which can increase your business’s revenue.
Branding should be organic and reflect who your company truly is. Start by learning about your natural customers.
Branding is more than just a logo — it’s everything your company does and how you present yourself.
1. Determine Your Core Values
Developing your company’s core values is an important first step in creating your brand identity. This set of guiding principles will determine how you and your team interact with customers and each other.
A strong brand identity gives your business a personality—whether you want to be bold and confident, like Nike, or ritzy and sophisticated, like Givenchy. It also identifies your target audience and influences everything from product design to marketing campaigns.
Start by creating a list of all the qualities that matter most to you personally and professionally. Then, rank-order them by importance. This will help you identify your top 3-5 core values. It can be tricky, as all the values may seem important at first, but you need to decide what’s really worth your while.
2. Create a Logo
Now that you have a clear understanding of your brand values and have determined the aesthetic to convey them, it’s time to design your logo. This is a strategic step, and often requires brainstorming with your team or even with friends to help you find the right aesthetic for your brand.
Be sure to choose a logo that will look good in different sizes and contexts. Your logo should be able to stand out on a billboard but also work in a small favicon for your website or as a thumbnail on social media business pages.
When selecting colors for your logo, keep in mind that certain shades can convey specific connotations to consumers. For example, red can be associated with power while green can evoke a sense of naturalness and freshness.
3. Create a Color Palette
The colors you choose to represent your brand are crucial. They impact mood, influence impressions and can help define your company’s identity.
If you’re stuck, check out this site that lets you browse millions of palettes created by the design community and search for specific hex codes. Plus, you can run your potential color combinations through a contrast tester to ensure they’re accessible for people with vision loss or blindness.
Another option is to use a triad branding color palette. These palettes feature three colors that are equidistant from one another on the color wheel. For example, Miranda uses different tints and shades of pink to create a beautiful contrast in her visuals. It’s also worth getting feedback from others about the brand colors you’ve chosen.
4. Create a Style Guide
A brand style guide sets the rules for how to create your visual assets. It includes specific guidelines on how to use your logo, typography and color palette to create consistency in your branding. It also provides detailed instructions on how to use imagery and iconography.
You could think of it as your company’s dress code. If someone came into work wearing ripped jeans and a t-shirt with a lion on it, you would probably wonder what they were thinking. The same goes for brands that send mixed messages to their customers through inconsistent visuals and language.
To prep for your brand style guide, pull together references from brands that have already established a strong identity and are performing well. This will help you establish standards that feel authentic to your own audience.
5. Create a Style Guide Template
Brand identities are more than just logos and marketing campaigns; they represent the whole of your company and how it interacts with its audience. This means everything from product design to employee relations and even the tone of your voice.
Creating a style guide is an essential part of any brand identity project. It sets the rules for how your company should look, giving creatives a concrete set of guidelines to follow in order to create designs that are on brand.
A style guide can include guidelines for color, fonts (including sizing and spacing, tracking, and kerning ratios), photography styles, illustration techniques, iconography, and applications (like how to use the logo and other brand assets). Whether you choose to publish a full style guide or just create a template for internal teams, it will make the creation of future projects much easier and help your brand stay consistent.