The Basics of a Brand Identity

January 2, 2022


By just creating a logo, you are selling yourself and your organization short. A striking visual identity reinforces your brand's message. It helps to make your story more powerful. Next to describing your brand's core values, mission and statements, a brand book contains various branding guidelines in regards to visual communication. These guidelines provide a consistent use of the logo, a selection of fonts you use (typography) and rules around color usage, as well as images and icons. A brand book is used to monitor a brand. It helps all employees to bring consistency to their communicative work across online and offline platforms, both internally and externally.

As start-ups are often continuously subject to change and gradually building their business, it can be difficult to establish an extensive and definite brand identity straight away. As I've had the pleasure to help establish a visual identity and corresponding brand book for differenst starting companies, I've developed my personal approach by setting up a basic brand identity consisting of four key elements. In this blog, I'll give you a brief explanation of these different elements.

Logo

Although it's not the only element of your brand identity, it could be considered the most important due to its wide usage. Therefore, it's important that your logo effortlessly reflects your brand's values and is ultra-recognizable to consumers. Your brand logo is like an umbrella of your visual brand identity. It describes and somehow covers all the other elements that represent your brand. That’s why it’s critical that your logo looks unique and reinforces your business name and brand personality. At the start of creating a visual branding strategy, I like to play around with different logo designs before settling on a final version.

Typography

Typography is the shape or styling of the text you use in your branding. Beyond what your words are saying, the scale, font, and arrangement of your text also impact your visual identity. There are many different types of fonts and each one can have a different effect on the viewer. For the purposes of visual identity, you’ll want to consider the wordmark to your logo, a headline font and a standard, legible paragraph font.

Colors

The logo is often the starting point for the color palette, which should then be repurposed for all brand materials. A simple color scheme (containing a primary & secondary color) of very specific hues, shades and tints should be selected carefully. Specific hues, shades, and tints all conveyt a different message, each generating powerful emotional response from your audience. For instance, yellow is often perceived as optimistic / youthful / energetic, whereas blue conveyes a sense of strength / trust / calmness.

Graphics

Graphics, in the context of visual identity, refer to picture assets that are drawn or designed. A coherent usages of graphics (such as shapes, textures, patterns, icons and negative space) help tie the different design elements together across al platforms.

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