This article explains how to create a consistent travel brand visual style and what elements should be included in the visual identity to create a recognizable brand.
One of the most challenging aspects of building a brand’s image, according to my community, is creating a consistent brand style. That’s not surprising. In the absence of a professional designer, it can be extremely problematic for those without experience.
For many travel and hospitality brands, maintaining a consistent image is a matter of survival.
In case you are among those without design experience but would like to create a consistent brand image on your own, this article is a good place to start.
Start with a brand strategy
When entrepreneurs are new to the design process, they create their identity right away, without a basic understanding of their target group, goals, and market. They do this because building identity is fun and creative.
This artsy approach can, however, lead to some costly mistakes. Art is about expressing yourself, and design is about serving others. For this to happen, we need to start with gathering more information.
A brand strategy is essential for any travel business that wants to establish a consistent visual identity. With the strategy, we can understand our motivations and determine how to differentiate ourselves. Based on this information, we can then try to build the right style and tone of voice for our brand.
What elements of the strategy should be taken into account when designing the travel brand visual style
With the strategic program I offer to my clients, we go step by step through the strategy and brand identity. We focus on business plans and motivations. We look at the offer and determine the benefits, we research the market and trends that may shape the future of the business.
As a result, we can effectively develop elements that will help with all marketing activities.
Target group and the brand’s visual style
A brand’s visual identity should not be dictated by your own tastes and preferences.
Have you ever bought something on impulse? For instance, a piece of clothing that you then put on the bottom of the closet?
A similar situation applies to the elements of identity.
It may take years to build a brand that people remember. If we base our decision on our own likes and dislikes, we are prone to change our minds quickly. If the change is not well-planned, we risk wasting what we have been working on for months/years.
Archetype and brand’s visual style
I find archetypes to be one of my favorite tools that I use when working with clients. I am able to use the examples of well-known cultural icons. It works better than using generalizations without a point of reference.
Each archetype has its own distinctive attributes and specific communication and emotional tone. This is a good place to start building your image.
Mood boards – inspirational boards
It is a collection of inspirations that match visually, both in terms of color and emotions. What information can you include on such a board? A logo, typography, colors, photos of landscapes, people reflecting the audience, styling, gadgets, and more. It all depends on the industry and products that you offer.
Based on chosen archetypes, I usually create 3 visual tables. My goal is to reflect brand’s emotions and dynamics. Next, I look for public figures, celebrities, and movie characters. The way they dress and the brands they wear are important. This way, it is easier to achieve a consistent result.
Using the boards, we can determine the colors, type of photography, and general style of logos. For example, they allow the choice of promotional items, interior decoration elements, complementary products and many others.
Read also: Moodboard – a short guide for non-designers
Basic distinguishing elements and travel brand visual style consistency
A visual identity contains various elements that distinguish you from others. Items may vary from company to company. Typically, they include logos, typography, colors, photos, illustrations, packaging designs, websites or social media templates.
A common question is how to change elements without affecting the consistency. It can cause a lot of trouble for people who do not have design experience.
You can find these principles in a brand book – a document handed over at the end of the design process. Identifying the variables simplifies work in the future.
I think the logo, colors, and typography represent the absolute minimum of elements that shouldn’t be changed. There should be strict rules regarding the size, location, and color values of the elements.
In addition to photos, illustrations, and icons that change frequently, it’s important to keep them consistent through their dynamics, composition, placement, etc.
You can learn this knowledge from a good designer, but keep in mind that nothing can replace the years of experience that a specialist has.
Want to build your brand visual style? Check my Brand Visibility Packages.