You start your own business and wonder how to develop its unique visual identity or you already a business owner, but you would like to take care of how others see it. Creating your own brand is a challenge and requires knowledge and consistency. If you don’t know where to start or wonder if you need a visual identity at all, this article will help you make the right decisions. This is a short guide for those who would like to create a distinctive brand that will remain in the memory of consumers and allow them to reach it faster.
Below you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions and doubts related to creating a corporate identity and learn where to start building its image consistently.
Table of Contents
Let’s start from the basics – what is corporate identity and brand?
A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.
~ Seth Godin
In short, it promises you to make to people who choose to interact with you. This is the reason why people choose your service. Without a brand, it’s hard to get customer loyalty. You should also know that a brand is not only a visual aspect but above all the experience and feelings that accompany the recipient in contact with it.
What people say about your brand, not what you tell them about it.
So what is a visual identity?
It is primarily an image that you show your customers. Whether you’re creating a personal brand or launching a new product, the message you sent to the world should be clear and recognizable. Identity helps you maintain consistency in building a visual message and thus stay in the mind of consumers for longer. It supports your actions and helps you succeed.
Starting a business costs money, and CI in this situation may not seem like a necessity. But are you sure this is the case? You already know that having a strong brand helps you establish relationships with customers, visual identity can help us deepen this relationship.
What other tasks visual identity has and how does it help us succeed?
- Helps to get more customers and gain their loyalty,
- May help our brand to be identified faster by people who need our services or products,
- Creates a sense of trust among recipients,
- Helps to stay in the consumers’ memory for longer, thanks to which they will come back to us sooner,
- Give you a chance to stand out from the crowd,
- Supports you in promotional activities,
- Supports establishing business relationships,
- Increases the market value of the company,
- Supports its development,
- It can motivate your employees and make them feel part of something bigger.
How to find a designer who will help you build the corporate identity
As an entrepreneur, it is important for you to surround yourself with people who will help you grow your business and take it to the heights. A designer who will spend time to understand your needs, propose appropriate solutions and help you implement them is a treasure for your still developing company.
When you are looking for the right person, you need to be sure that they are trustworthy, communicative and ready to listen to your needs.
What else should you pay attention to before you decide to hire a designer? A designer is not only about a good portfolio but above all, it is about interpersonal skills that will help to pursue the intended goal.
So what are the characteristics of an ideal designer?
- Listens and asks the right questions,
- Is communicative and stays in touch with you,
- Informs you about the stages of work and explains the design process,
- Shows initiative and is open to discussions,
- You feel that you can ask they a question and you will get a comprehensive answer,
- Has good references from confirmed sources,
- You feel that they cares about your needs and understands market issues,
- Has extensive knowledge and is able to use it in accordance with the situation.
Before starting work on visual identification
A professional designer, apart from offering you graphic elements of brand identification, will try to look deeper to create a strong foundation. The so-called discovery stage is a tool to recognize your needs, understand the specifics of the company and look at what direction the brand will be heading in the next years. Together with you, they will try to answer key questions about the brand and its mission.
What specific information is collected during the discovery phase?
Mission, positioning, values and goals – there are various reasons for creating a brand – usually, it is a personal or market need. Putting it on paper helps you see clearly what problem you solve with your product and what elements should be shown to people. Thanks to this, you will focus on aspects that will attract that are important to your audience and to people that seek your gelp.
Market and target group – before you even think about any style, color or form, you should know who you are talking to and what are the needs of these people. Knowledge of recipients will help create an image around the brand that resonates with their preferences, dreams and values;
Customer avatar – you need to be even more specific to reach the right recipient. Narrowing your target audience to 1-5 avatars of ideal customers will help you focus on the right target group.
A few elements of visual identity that every company should have
Many people while thinking about the brand see the logo as the main component. This is an important element of branding, but it’s just one of its many. Still, a good logo design can help you become recognized. However, it will not perform miracles unless it is part of a larger whole.
In that case, what other elements should the identification contain? Depending on the industry and the specifics of the company, the elements of visual identification will vary.
Distinctive visual elements of brand identity
Once you know the reasons behind creating a brand, what effect you want to achieve and what your ideal customer looks, you determine which elements of identification will be most important to you. What materials will allow you to effectively build a relationship with the audience?
Below are the elements that I include in my basic branding package. Thanks to the experience gained in cooperation with clients from various industries and corners of the world, I was able to create an offer that helps new business owners achieve the intended results.
Logo – the role of a great logo is to identify the brand and facilitate its faster recognition. Although the logo alone will not guarantee success, it will create a strong image in combination with other elements. A professionally designed logo, in line with several basic design principles, will represent your company and make you look more professional;
Typography, colors – each branding should contain typefaces and a basic range of colors. These are elements that definitely help distinguish your brand from others. Well designed visual identification will ensure the proper use of these elements. Shows typography, paragraph structure, colors, weight, and proportions;
Image and illustration usage – When you design all kinds of printed and digital materials, you’ll probably need to use photos or illustrations to make your products look even more attractive. Before creating ready-made materials, you should determine how you will use them and what their overall style will be;
Tone of voice / language – elements of brand identification support communication. When setting guidelines, consider introducing rules for the language that you communicate with the audience;
Other elements – packaging, digital materials, marketing materials – visual identity elements should probably contain other important elements. No matter what materials you need to produce, always make sure that they follow the same rules as all other elements;
Brandbook – guidelines for materials related to branding – is a guide book that shows all the rules for creating an identity. This helps maintain consistency in communication and stay in the minds of customers for longer.
Things to keep in mind when creating your corporate identity and after
Corporate identity should last for years. Create your image consistently, help you establish relationships with customers, become memorable. To achieve this, however, there are a few important points to keep in mind.
Stand out – choosing the right elements will help you stand out from the crowd. This does not mean that we must be different from everyone at all costs. The main purpose of creating an image is to stand out from the competition.
Be consistent – this is one of the most important principles of effective branding. Create and follow rules for brand identification elements. Being consistent will help you to be remembered;
Learn the preferences of the target group – without knowing what they like, you can mislead them or simply reach the wrong group of people. It can cost you time and money;
Know the trends – I always say – don’t follow trends blindly, especially when it comes to brand identity, but knowing what people are looking for, what they are interested in will help you be visually flexible and up-to-date;
Be flexible – while branding is about consistency, it’s natural that your brand will change over the years. Your brand identity elements should be flexible enough to stand the test of time;
Remember the rules – follow the brandbook! If your brand needs change and you don’t know how to implement new elements into your brand strategy, contact a professional who will help you find the best solutions.
Does your corporate identity work?
Creating visual identification is hard for us to be objective and verify that our image reflects the mission well and reaches the right target group. That is why it is so important to work with people who are able to look at the issue from a new perspective, ask appropriate questions and propose solutions. Regardless of whether you are just starting with your company, or you want to redesign your existing identification, finding the right visual language will help you achieve success.
Hi, my name is Magdalena. Freelance graphic designer with a passion for creative thinking, travels and coffee. I'm inspired by new challenges and every day life. I observe, read and listen. That's how I learn and gain experience to use it in my works.