4 simple (but necessary) ways to build your brand identity

What is a brand?

Before you start building your brand identity, you need to have a clear idea in your mind about what a brand is. This is tricky because a brand is not easy to define. Author Marty Neumeier said “a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization” and left us all a little confused…

But he isn’t wrong – humans are emotional beings who often base their choices on how a product makes them feel rather than strictly what the product has to offer. As Seth Godin wonderfully puts it, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

So what is brand identity?

Brand identity is the visual side of the brand made up of all the imagery, typography, colors and other visual elements that identify and distinguish the brand in the mind of the consumer. Strong visual branding elements can make the brand stand out among all other alternatives and lets the consumer connect the brand with a set of brand attributes, benefits, impressions or emotions. This is why it is very important to choose your visual branding elements carefully.

Building brand identity

What brand identity you aim for depends entirely on what your brand personality and positioning is, what buyer personas you are targeting and how you want those personas to feel about your brand. Your brand personality is determined by your brand’s vision, mission, core values and the keywords that you think define your brand best.  If your brand is built for Generation X and wants to come across as trustworthy and reliable, you might want to go for a more classic, even vintage, look for your brand – case in point: Gen X’s beloved, Harley Davidson. If your target demographic is Millennials and Gen Y, a minimalist look might suit you best to convey your brand’s modernity, like Catalyst Design Studio.

This decision depends entirely on your brand but we can help you figure out what elements you need to keep in focus when you begin building your desired identity.

Colors

Your branding colors are the first thing the consumer is going to notice about your brand and will greatly affect how they perceive your brand because all colors evoke different emotions in the consumer’s mind. Hence, it is important to do your research into color psychology before you make a commitment to a set of brand colors. Here’s a useful infographic about what feelings certain colors may induce:

Image credit: The Logo Company

McDonald’s color choice, for example,  is all about creating a warm and happy experience for families and friends, while a brand like Coca Cola is always focused on experimenting with exciting new ideas and adding youthful energy to its communication with consumers.

Choose colors that reflect your brand personality and attributes, keep your visuals clear and easy to understand and/or read, and make your brand stand out from the crowd.

Logo

The next step is to design a beautiful logo using the colors you have picked out. Here are some things you need to keep in mind when designing a logo:

1. Keep it simple

Avoid unnecessary complexity in your logo that might make the logo hard to read or comprehend for the consumer. Less is always more.

2. Keep the design scaleable

The design should be useable for everything from an app icon to business stationery to a billboard advertisement.

3. Be unique in your approach

Try to avoid clichéd designs and definitely avoid copying your competitors. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing and experiment with new designs. After all, you are trying to stand out, not blend in.

If you are not a design genius (most of us aren’t, it’s okay), PosterMyWall is a great online graphic design software to help you design your own customized logo easily, no design expertise needed. Simply pick a logo from the hundreds of templates available and customize it using your own colors. That is easy to do using the hex color picker in the editor. Pick a color or add your chosen brand colors’ hex codes to customize. Add your own text and voilà! Your logo is ready to go.

Typography

Did we say your logo is good to go? Well, almost. One more thing you need to take care of is the typography you use for the text you are adding. In fact, your font choice is important for all the imagery you are creating for the consumer. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when choosing the right font:

1. Keep it unique and memorable

Don’t follow trends just for the sake of following trends. It’s good to be different.

2. Keep it legible

Don’t compromise on readability. The consumer has to be able to read your brand name at first glance; it is unlikely they will make an effort to demystify your brand name instead of moving on to the next, more legible brand.

3. Keep. It. Scaleable.

The typography must look good on every platform, from your business card to your billboard ad.

4. Communicate your brand personality

If you are going for a classic identity, you might want to use Serif fonts like Playfair Display or Times New Roman that make the brand look traditional, trustworthy and respectable, or script fonts like Alex Brush or Petit Formal that come across as elegant and unique. For a modern, minimalist look, sans serif fonts like Roboto and Open Sans work best, or for an informal, artistic vibe, Amatic would be a good choice.

Here are some fonts for you to try:

There is a wide variety of fonts and font styles available in the PosterMyWall editor. There is something for every brand personality but if you still don’t find what you are looking for, you can upgrade to PosterMyWall’s Premium subscription and upload custom fonts for your brand.

Branded Imagery

Your brand identity is not limited to the branding elements you use. All marketing visuals you create and publish, like social media graphics and blog imagery, will be building associations and projecting a certain image of your brand in the mind of your consumer.

Use supporting visuals for your content that are on-brand and in line with the brand personality you are trying to project. Pick a mood for all your content and stick to it, whether it is bold and colorful, dark and moody or light and airy. A lifestyle blog, for example, might want to go for a light, airy and elegant feel in their content so all promotional visuals and web graphics for the blog must consistently reflect this vibe.

Maintaining a particular aesthetic might sound like a lot of work but, again, PosterMyWall makes it surprisingly easy. Simply search for the keyword that best reflects your requirements and find hundreds of options to choose from. Searching for ‘lifestyle’, for example, returns these beautiful, fully customizable images to work with:

Even if you like a template but you think it is not on-brand for you, you can simply personalize it by adding your own fonts, branding colors, imagery and logo, all with PosterMyWall.

For on-brand imagery, even if you don’t have your own brand portfolio, you can choose from PosterMyWall’s massive stock photo repository featuring Getty, Flickr, Pixabay and StoryBlocks stock images.

On PosterMyWall, you can pick a size for whichever avenue you are creating a visual for, for example, social media graphics, blog imagery, web visuals, and even flyers, banners and other sizes. If you like a template that is not in the size you need, you can resize it very easily using the resize button in the PosterMyWall editor.

Conclusion

According to Jeff Bezos, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” To make sure what people are saying about you is good, and only good you must put in the necessary effort into building a brand that makes people turn heads. It seems like an intimidating task at first but if you keep your approach organized, tackle all brand identity elements one by one, and make good use of helpful tools like PosterMyWall, you will soon be knocking other brands out of the park!

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