Visual identity is so important to a brand or company that some may spend thousands if not millions on the creation of one. The good news is that this doesn’t mean that visual identity is just for big business.
A good visual identity is, in fact, available to everyone. All the basic principles apply across the board: from individuals and small start-ups to international corporations.
A well-crafted and consistent visual identity will start to build trust between you and your target market – and if customers trust you, then they will start to buy your products or services.
At Individualise, we offer a visual identity creation service for our clients, most of whom are individuals or small businesses.
And although you might feel as if you are too busy building up your business to think about your visual identity (not to mention the extra expense), putting in the extra effort at the beginning will pay dividends. Not only will having a consolidated visual identity help your company establish itself, if you know it is in place from the outset it can (and will) grow with your business.
So what is visual identity?
Your visual identity is not just your logo — although that’s a very important part. It’s a collection of colours, fonts and visual elements that you use to put across your company’s values and ethos.
How does it relate to the digital world?
There are many platforms available to small businesses today, from traditional print formats to the digital mediums of websites, social media and Google search engines. This makes it even more important than ever before that your visual identity is consistent across all platforms. This will not just help your company be instantly recognised, stand out from the crowd and also engage your audience, building trust with your overall brand.
So where do I start?
Think about when a potential customer looks at your website. The colours, fonts and photographs are going to be the first thing they see.
Sit down and think about your ideal customer. Who are they, what are their spending habits, how might they use your service or product? If you want to have a bit of fun, you can even give this person (or avatar) a pretend name, job and lifestyle!
Then start thinking about your keywords. Here at Individualise we went through a whole host of keywords to identify our values and objectives. After whittling them down we came to a list of three that we look to in all the work we do:
Approachable. Bespoke. Collaborative.
Every time we start on a new project we go back to these words to check we are still working towards our values.
Once you have the basic values and audience outlined, then you can start a design process to create your visual identity.
Although your visual identity is more than just your log, your logo is a very good place to start. Once you have your keywords and your audience type, we like to start with a conceptual approach. Brainstorming, however good, bad or clichéd the ideas that come from it are, can help start to define what you like and what works for your business.
For your colours there’s lots of research into which emotions certain colours evoke. McDonald’s traditionally used the colour red and yellow to evoke efficiency but now these colours area associated with bad food they focus on green – which evokes trust and a more wholesome approach.
Look at the associations with each colour but perhaps think out of the box. Every market is crowded so with careful thought having something different may help you differentiate yourself.
Using the right typeface can make all the difference between a professional looking visual identity and something you threw together in MS Paint one Sunday night. This is a great resource for finding out what fonts evoke what emotions: https://digitalsynopsis.com/design/font-psychology-emotions/
Choose a logo font, a typeface for online and a secondary typeface, and then use these on ALL media and you will instantly be consistent.
A logo in conjunction with the colours and fonts you will use can be the springboard to a brilliant design that you are happy with and one, more importantly, that will attract the right kind of people to your business.
Consistency is key
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be consistent. Make sure that you use these elements on ALL of your media. If you are creating print media but fail to use the same fonts you instantly compromise your brand. Besides which, why go to the effort (and perhaps expense) of creating a visual identity if, ultimately, you’re not using it properly?
At Individualise we always give our clients a complete visual identity digital package that includes all the fonts we have used so they can be used consistently across any future media.
One you have your logo and colours they can start to form the basis of your website’s look and feel.
But be creative
However, there is just one caveat. Your visual identity needs to be consistent but it’s also about creativity – and creativity should be, well, creative!
So sometimes there’s a little wiggle room for something that’s a bit different and that challenges your brand. Maybe it’s a campaign; maybe it’s a set of photos. As long as you stay true to your business values and appeal to your target audience, there’s always room for creativity.
Interested in help with your visual identity? Even if you already have a logo, we can audit what you have and help you create one. Just get in touch.