At Flux, we talk a lot about brand identity. And we regularly share different examples of how your brand is not your logo. It’s a much more complex combination of strategic insights, visual language, and written tone.
But while your brand is bigger than your logo, the visual components of your brand ARE critically important. Why? The brain processes visual information faster than words, and on average you have just .05 seconds to capture someone’s attention in the marketplace.
So, how you look as a brand – your brand identity – can quite literally make or break you business.
What is a Brand Identity?
We already mentioned that your brand identity encompasses all the visible elements of a brand, such as logos, colors, icons, and typography.
But brand identity really refers to the way a brand visually communicates.
It is the first point of contact that consumers have with your company, which is why logos often become shorthand for an entire brand. But creating a strong visual identity isn’t the first step in the branding process– it actually comes much later.
Before jumping into a new brand identity, make sure you’ve done the following:
- Prioritize strategy first. Have you looked deep inside your company to find your why? Have you looked at your competitors to see how you’re different? If not, you’re probably not ready for visuals. Start instead with a clear brand strategy process.
- Have a clear position. Have you honed in on your brand positioning? This is your unique angle in the market. You should have a clear sense of your ideal brand voice and personality before forming your outward-facing visual identity.
- Create a mood board. Collect images and colors that communicate that tone. Are you dark and moody? Light and airy? Think about what kind of feeling you want your visual presence to evoke.
- Know yourself. The brand intelligence developed in the brand positioning phase is translated into concrete elements like logos, colors, and typography.
3 Brand Identity Elements
There are several key components that make up a cohesive brand identity.
We’ll walk through these using an example of a brand identity that we crafted for Respara, a collection of luxury residences in Los Angeles.
After gathering core insights about the property, target tenants, and competitors, we positioned this secluded building as a pocket of tranquility in the heart of the city, inviting people to discover a hidden gem. The brand identity is a visual representation of the brand’s core concepts and messages.
Color is a powerful tool in creating an atmosphere. Your colors should reflect your overall personality– whether that’s bright and colorful, more subdued, or somewhere in between.
For Respara, the building’s location and design focus on natural elements like stone and earth. And the brand tone is sophisticated and elevated. We created a palette inspired by the natural world with soft, warm tones, avoiding harsh contrasts and pure whites and blacks.
The gold accent gives a sense of luxury without feeling overly flashing.
Typography immediately and intuitively communicates a sense of your brand, which is why it’s so crucial to choose the right font. A modern and streamlined brand might use a sans serif font, while a company looking for a traditional, established look might go for a serif.
The options are quite literally endless.
Respara needed something modern but warm, with a bit of a romantic sensibility. We created a custom, hand-drawn typeface for the name. The effect is personal and intimate like you’re being let in on a secret. It feels grounded, crafted, and refined, reflecting the overall brand direction.
For text, we used Sackers Gothic Heavy, a modern sans serif typeface that nicely balances the delicacy of the handwritten script.
We intentionally put this as the last element for your brand identity.
Your logo is a visual shorthand for your brand – but it should be developed after you’ve done the strategic work of building a brand. At a minimum, it includes your name or your brand’s initials. But it can also include a mark and a tagline. Typically your brand identity agency will deliver a principal logo and several lockups. The latter are versions that work within different spatial confines.
The atmosphere at Respara is all about relaxation and well-being– it’s like stepping into your own personal retreat.
The logo needed to express laid-back elegance and simplicity, beckoning you to find out more. We kept it minimal and clean, with the combination of typefaces striking the balance between soft and stable. A series of lock-ups show how the logo easily adapts to a wide variety of dimensions.
Show the World Your True Brand Identity
Creating the key elements of your brand identity is a big step, but it’s not enough.
Consistent brand presentation across touchpoints is necessary to reap the full benefits of branding. If you’re always showing your logo in different colors or fonts, you won’t be getting the brand recognition you deserve. If you’re stylizing your name differently across platforms, people aren’t going to know which to trust.
Make it easy on your customers by sticking to your brand guidelines.
A style guide that sets down the rules of your identity can be hugely helpful, aligning external collaborators and ensuring the correct usage of your visual elements.
Brand consistency has been shown to increase revenue by a whopping 30%, and it’s easy to see why. We’re inundated with information all the time, but an effective visual shorthand for a complex set of ideas makes it easy for consumers to trust and believe.
Your brand identity is more than about looking good– it’s about showing who you are and why you matter. When visuals are the authentic reflection of your big idea, they become a powerful tool for communication.
We’re passionate about helping brands find and express their why, charting the course that will take you from now to next.
Are you ready to show your brand to the world? Reach out and let us help you on your branding or rebranding journey.