The Ins and Outs of Creating a Brand: Brand Guide Part Four

April 16, 2020 / Branding

The Ins and Outs of Creating a Brand. Part Four. Visual Identity.

Recently, I introduced a new series to the Grace Built Blog: The Ins and Outs of Creating a Brand. Throughout this four-part series, we will be discussing all of the essential aspects of creating a memorable brand, that works for your audience and drives sales. 

We’ve already covered a lot! In part one we covered; what is branding, brand evaluations, and identifying your target audience. Part two walked you through setting brand objectives and brand tone. In part three we discovered how to create a branding moodboard and why you should.

In this, the final installment of our brand guide we’re going to talk about visual identity, combining everything learned in Parts 1-3. We’ll cover the difference between a brand and your logo, what makes a good logo and what different elements can be in a logo. 

Shall we get started?

What’s a Brand Visual Identity?

Visual identity and branding are often terms that get confused. A brand visual identity is the cohesive look and feel of everything visual you create for your business. Visual identity is part of your branding but not your whole brand.

Your brand is how your audience feels about your business as a whole, aka, “Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

How your brand is perceived can be hugely influenced by your visual identity and that may include the following elements:

    • Logo
    • Colors
    • Typography
    • Hierarchy
    • Photography
    • Illustration
    • Iconography
    • Data visualization
    • Interactive elements
    • Video and motion
    • Web design

We’ll be talking about some of these elements in a moment.

What Makes a Great Visual Identity?

A strong visual identity is more purposeful than pretty. Getting it right helps you to communicate who you are, your brand values and resonates with your ideal audience. A great visual identity is:

Flexible: It can grow with your brand even if you develop new products and it can be used on multiple platforms and in various formats.

Unique: It sets you apart from your competition and makes you instantly recognizable.

Consistent: When you have a great visual identity you need to use it! Be consistent with how you use your logo, sub mark, colors, fonts and any other element of your visual brand.

Brand Colors

Color is one of the most obvious aspects of your brand and can influence the emotional response to your brand’s visual identity. Using colors consistently will help make your brand memorable, recognizable and attract the right kind of clients.

To keep your brand consistent and cohesive you should follow some basic rules:

    • Limit your color palette to one main colour and up to 5 complementary or accent colors
    • Use appropriate colors that appeal to your target audience and reflect your brand values
    • Make sure your color palette is unique in your sector so that you can be easily differentiated from your competitors

Typography

The fonts you choose can have a huge impact on the way your visual brand communicates. By choosing fonts that reflect your brand’s values – traditional or modern, formal or playful – you can let your clients know more about you. Typography refers not only to the style of type but also to the particular size and weight (boldness) of the text.

Follow these basic rules to make your typography work for your brand

    • Choose a maximum of two or three fonts for your brand
    • Be consistent 
    • Use hierarchy – combine fonts in a way that separates different elements like headlines, sub-headlines, body copy, and captions
    • Use fonts that complement each other but are not too similar
    • Focus on readability

The difference between a brand and a logo

Often people confuse logos with branding. While a logo is a symbol (sometimes with text, shapes or icons) that can represent your business in a quick and easily recognizable way, your brand is so much more. Your brand includes who you are, what you believe, what your customers think about you, and encompasses every element of your visual identity including your logo.

Elements of a Logo

Your logo may include typography, imagery, color and context and it may be static or dynamic. Your logo may also be available in several versions that can be used in various settings. You’ll notice that Grace Built Co. has a logo and a submark. Our submark is used on social media or where a square logo is needed. You may also have different versions of your logo for use on light or dark backgrounds.

What makes a good logo

A great logo that works follows certain rules, this will ensure that your logo works in a variety of contexts. 

The golden rules for great logos: simple, elegant and scalable. 

Your logo will pull in everything you’ve learnt about your brand so far. You’ll incorporate colors and fonts that suit your brand personality and may use a graphic element. Graphics or icons incorporated into a logo may be used as standalone marks that can be recognised without even your brand name.

It is important to ensure that your logo can be used for various media, a simple logo can have so much more impact than something too detailed and will work better where you must display it in a small format.

Keeping Your Brand Consistent

Being consistent will help with brand recognition and memorability. The more familiar your audience becomes with your brand the more likely they are to contact you or refer you to their friends and colleagues. 

Being consistent means knowing your brand inside and out. I recommend keeping a quick brand guide to help you keep your visual identity on point. A brand guide can include your logo, logo variations, fonts, colors and even info about how to use imagery or tone of voice.

If you have any questions about our brand guide, please leave a comment below or email me at courtney@gracebuiltco.com.