Being a digital designer has its perks. There is nothing more satisfying than being a part of a brand identity development project, sending it out into the world to interact with people and other businesses, watching it grow and succeed and reviewing these results. It can make you feel like a proud father, and I don’t even have kids yet…
In order to achieve these wonderful moments, we go through extensive phases of design thinking and strategy, bouncing from idea to idea in order to create a visual story. This is at the core of every good designer and can not be bypassed. However, in our industry, we often come across brands with nothing more than a basic logo and “strategically” selected colours. Nothing special.
Now, when we are handed a task to create a unique marketing campaign or custom graphic for said brand, we have no assets to work with, no guides and no direction. Leaving your brand’s identity in the hands of whoever is working on it at any given time. Which could change from day to day or person to person. Bad idea. Consumers feed off consistency and need visual stimulation from your brand in order to engage and return for more.
How does something like this happen?
It all starts when setting out on the personal journey of branding your business “I need a logo…” is the first instruction most clients give to designers as a high-level job request, before considering the full scope of what a brand is or should be.
“You will need more than just a logo design to establish a popular, engaging and likable brand.” There is often confusion and back peddling after hearing this, due to the fact that the need for a logo design has been generalised over time as the most important and sometimes only visual element your brand needs, leaving the rest of your brand’s identity as the white paper or image it is pasted on.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Sometimes you will find yourself liking a product for no specific reason. Is it the unique layout of elements, the logo, a pattern, the photography? Well, it’s everything – everything working in harmony, playing on the senses and emotions of consumers, leaving a lasting impression and forming a visual identity.
Why is a logo not the only element?
A logo is just one aspect of your business’s visual impact on consumers and the feeling they have towards it. It is a rare occurrence to find your logo isolated in one single space with all the bells and whistles (slogan, icon, custom typeface and all brand colours) to communicate your brand.
Displaying your isolated logo in a single white space, was however true two hundred years ago before websites, social media, LED billboards, responsive devices and complex print finishes. During this period, your logo did all the talking while your product or service proved its worth.
Focusing all your efforts and budget into developing a single, perfect logo, which looks fantastic centred on a white background on the nice big monitor at your desk, is where most people go wrong. In today’s hyper-competitive market, developing a unique and solidified brand identity is crucial to standing out from the rest.
What is a brand identity?
A brand identity is the grouping of elements, portraying the right image/message to its consumer. It is the perception of a company in the eyes of the world.
Let’s take this a little further.
Let’s say you want to be a model. As a rookie in the scene, you want to be noticed. You could work all day and hustle for years as you work your way up to the top, but that takes time. What you need is an identity, something that screams you and stands out! In order to develop this “brand”, you need to do some work.
So you start posting vlogs with content like “day in the life of…”. You start working on your social media presence and build relationships with like-minded people. These actions are the work you’re putting towards developing your desired image – the strategy.
Finally, you need to make sure you look the part. You save up to get an entirely new wardrobe and matching hairstyle, you shoot a high-end portfolio and start selling your own branded merch.
These tangible elements: the new clothes, the hairstyle, the portfolio and merch—are brand identity.
Your brand identity is what makes you instantly recognisable, your logo is one aspect of this and cannot carry the weight of your entire business ideology. Your audience will associate your brand identity with your product or service, and that identity is what forms the connection between you and your customers.
What simple steps can you put in place?
To build a good brand there are three key terms we can help you build on.
- Brand: How people perceive your company
- Branding: The actions you take to build a particular image of your company
- Brand identity: the collection of tangible brand elements that together create one brand image.
Think of your brand and apply these key terms. Are you just a logo, or does your brand have something more to give?
We would love to hear from you, give us a call or pop into our studio and let’s break it down.