At Flux, we talk a lot about how your brand is not your logo. It’s a much more complex combination of strategic insights, visual language, and written tone. While your brand is bigger than your logo, the visual components of your brand are critically important. The brain processes visual information faster than words, and on average you have just .05 seconds to capture someone’s attention in the marketplace. How you look is make or break.
What is a Brand Identity?
Brand identity encompasses all the visible elements of a brand, such as logo, colors, icons, and typography. It refers to the way a brand visually communicates.
Your brand identity is the first contact that consumers have with your company, which is why logos often become shorthand for an entire brand. But creating a strong brand 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 taken these key steps:
Strategy comes first. Have you looked deeply 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.
Have a clear position. Have you honed in on your brand position– your unique angle in the market? You should have a clear sense of brand voice and personality before forming your 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 intelligence developed in the brand position phase is translated into concrete elements like logo, colors, and typography. Your brand identity should be a visual encapsulation of who you are and what you believe.
Brand Identity Elements
There are several key components that make up a 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 focuses 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.
Your logo is a visual shorthand for your brand. Your logo includes your name, and can also include a mark and a tagline. Typically there will be a principal logo and several lock ups, or 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
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 a strategic and well-crafted brand identity. If you’re always showing your logo in different colors, 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 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 why, charting the course that will take you from now to next.
Are you ready to show your brand to the world?