How to Develop Your Visual Brand Identity

Branding Your Business

One of the strongest ways you will communicate to your prospects and customers has very little to do with words or information.

Surprised? 

Don’t get me wrong – those things are important, very much so. But there’s something else that your customers and prospects will have seen before ever reading your website, and it’s something that will have caused them to have an opinion about you.  And it’s an opinion that could end up being very difficult for them to change at any point in the future.

I’m talking about your branding and the visual elements that go into communicating your brand. This includes items such as your colors, your logo, and your tagline.

Now –last time, I talked about color, because that’s often a place where people like to start. Color is fun and it’s very attractive.

But here’s the funny part about color (as well as your logo and tagline). Just because they’re the part you see, they’re not necessarily the part you start with. Actually – they really shouldn’t be the part you start with. 

Because those elements of branding communicate about your brand. So you can’t really choose them until you know exactly what it is that you’re trying to communicate about your brand! 

 If you choose elements of branding without understanding what it is about your brand that you want to tell people through your logo, colors, and tagline, it is quite likely you will end up having a disconnect between the message that you think your brand is sending and what the visual elements of your brand are actually telling people.

Questions to Ask Before Developing Your Visual Brand Identity

(Note – This is not an exclusive list!  There are many entire books built about this concept.  But this should get you started thinking about the things that you need to consider)

  1. What’s important to you?
  2. What’s your background?
  3. What does your brand do?
  4. What are the values of your brand?
  5. Who are you marketing to?
  6. Who are you competing with?
  7. What makes you unique in the marketplace?
  8. What’s important to you and your brand outside of the work that you do?
  9. What causes do you believe in/what does your brand support?
  10. What impression do you want your branding to give?

These are some of the questions that will let you start building a brand experience, which will lend itself to choosing things like colors, logos, and taglines.

It’s easy to look at logos and see their simplicity and think that you can choose just any tiny picture or icon and call it done.  But if you do this, you risk having your logo contradict the answers to some of the questions you just answered about your brand.

Think about some of the most iconic logos of our time. The Nike swish. It’s just a simple brush stroke, really. But it hints at speed, movement, action – all messages important to the Nike brand.  The Starbucks mermaid or siren blends mystery with nautical heritage – a perfect combination for a fledgling coffee company in 1971 in the port town of Seattle. 

The image of your brand is one of the last pieces to be created after much reflection on the message you’re trying to send about your brand in the past, present and future. 

QUESTION – Time for some honesty – how well is your logo working for you?  Did you do any reflective work on your brand’s message before picking your logo and colors?  Leave a comment below! 

 

14 Comments

  1. My blog is the center of my social media marketing; I have made many changes to it as I have developed my brand; I started my blog around the same time I began my business, and the theme of my blog from the beginning has been "Join Me On The Journey" as I shared with my readers my experiences of learning and growing my Virtual Assistant Business.

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  2. Nicely done once again, Edmund. Thanks for your thoughtful analysis. I think brand images (like logos) evolve over time and it's important to make sure that as they change/update, you don't totally lose what you had before IF you are sticking with the same product/service. Agree or disagree? Would love to get your take on it. 

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    • Most definitely.  There is always a time/place for changes/updates.

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  3. I do love my logo but it does not stand alone very well.  Fortunately in this age where business cards can be much more creative than just a logo and basic info, it's working well still.
     

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  4. As I begin the rebranding process, I happily take any and all advice on the subject. Thanks Edmund!

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  5. Great advice Edmund! I'm sure people jump striaght into this and do not give it much thought.

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  6. These are essential questions to be asked and answered when developing one's visual brand. Not only will they help with branding, but answering them thoughtfully will help you see the direction and plan you have for your business. Great article, Edmund.

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  7. I know what Kerry means, we can be so keen to get started that we make do, but your words give us a much needed kick start – thanks!

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  8. Edmund-

    Well done! Good points about 'not' creating your logo first. I agree that it takes time to know all the attributes for a logo to portray.

    I just finished my logo re-design to simplify the image for my new website. Had I done it all first, I would not have had the clarity and certainty that I gained from a bit of patience and reflection.

    Thanks for the reminder/tips!

     

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  9. I just went through this process and used similar questions for my business. I'll be undergoing a brand revamp very soon!

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  10. Another informative post!  First impressions last and this is exactly what you should bear in mind when creating your visual brand identity. Here's a thought, if you were undecided which you would use between the two visual brand identities you have created, how would you make your choice then? 

    Reply
    • The one that resonates most with you and the core mission of your business.  Pay attention to how it makes you feel.

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  11. Great points… take time and think things out before proceeding.  Branding a company especially on social media leaves little room for re-do's.  First impressions!

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