8 Elements for a Comprehensive Brand Identity

Matching branded print products organized on a table

Brand identity is a key component to a successful business. There is a reason brands such as Nike, Apple, and Amazon are so well known. They have a solid brand identity. Brand identity goes beyond a simple logo. It’s the way a brand portrays itself and interacts with its audience. This includes everything from audience targeting and customer support, right down to the logo. These are the top 8 elements that will help you build a comprehensive brand identity. 

Nike swoosh logo in the center of a Iphone with the camera app open

1. A logo

Logos provide instant brand recognition. Companies such as Nike, Apple and Amazon are instantly recognizable by their logos alone. This is why many companies invest so much time and resources into logo design and development. Pepsi spent a whopping $1,000,000 to have their logo designed by the Arnroup in 2008. A logo can be a combination of both text and imagery that tells your audience the name of your business as well as provide a visual representation of your vision. An ideal logo will be simple, unique, appropriate to the brand and memorable. The most important thing that your logo should do is convey the company’s messaging.  

2. Logo lockups

Logo lockups are variations of your main logo. You may need horizontal versions, vertical versions, black and white, transparent etc. If you have a logo that includes both text and an image, you can opt for a streamlined version that does not include the text for smaller marketing materials. Social media plays a big role in any businesses’ marketing strategy, so ensuring you have logo variations that work with each platform is crucial. Even though most profile pictures are the same shape, they are different sizes on every platform. Check out this site for a breakdown of all the correct sizes here!

Also, when the profile picture will appear smaller throughout and viewers might not be able to read your whole company name. So you will want to simplify your logo while keeping it on brand and recognizable. If your logo is not naturally square or circular, you’ll want to keep this in mind and make sure you design a variation that can be cropped or resized to fit these different aspect ratios. Similarly, horizontal logos come in handy when being printed on promotional items such pens or pencils, as well as website banners. Having a variation of logos will be a benefit when it comes time to produce all of the different marketing collateral needed to get your brand in front of your audience, in both the print world and digital world.

Color pallet held against wall

3. Color palette

Establishing a strong color palette will only enhance your brand identity. While brands generally have one or two main colors, you can opt for a more complex color palette of even more! However, limiting your colors will maximize your brand impact. Having only one or two dominant colors will increase how memorable and impactful your brand is. By utilizing one or two primary colors, you’ll create a unified visual identity that is very easy to recognize.

Color is such an important part of branding that some companies have even trademarked their signature colors. Think Tiffany blue or UPS brown. Choosing the right colors for your brand may involve more than you’d think, as different colors can evoke different emotions from your audience. According to color psychology, colors can influence the way someone behaves and perceives a product or brand. This is why companies take great care in developing their branding and choosing the colors they want associated with their product or service. 

4. Font 

The fonts that a brand uses are just as important as the colors they choose. Any time text is used, from the logo to the website, it is selected with the intention to communicate the personality and values of the brand. Similar to color psychology, different fonts communicate different messages. The right font will contribute to your brand’s personality and increase brand recognition. 

The right fonts will also help establish hierarchy. Hierarchy is what guides your audience to the right places in the right sequence. You can establish emphasis by weight, color, size, style and placement. This allows you to control your messages and how your audience discerns them.

Time square, taxis, big screen advertisment

5. Tagline

Your brand messaging is how you communicate what you have to offer. A tagline is a great way to emphasize what you have to offer in a memorable way. Think about companies such as Nike with “just do it’ or Maybelline with “maybe it’s maybelline.” Some of the most well known companies have memorable taglines that you can’t help but get stuck in your head. Nike is able to drive their message home in three short words. Just do it. Just get up and work out. These three words paired with the simple Nike swoosh logo have left a lasting impression on millions.  

6. Brand voice

Brand voice is the personality that comes through in your social media presence, marketing materials, and all communications really. This brand voice is the voice that your audience will subconsciously read all of your copy in. From the text on your website to the text on your product. Tone of voice is one of the most effective ways to influence how your audience interprets your brand. Your brand voice can be more light hearted and utilize slang, or you can opt for a more professional and to the point voice, it’s really up to you and what you want to portray to your audience. Once you have established a brand voice, you will want to maintain consistency, and of course adapt your voice to different circumstances when necessary. 

7. Image style

While you wouldn’t want to use the same image over and over again, you also don’t want to use images that are so vastly different they don’t look consistent. The imagery you use, if any, is up to you. You can opt for photography, charts and graphs, or illustrations, so long as you maintain some sort of consistency. This can be within the color palette of the images, the style, the subject, etc. The key with any visual elements you use in your branding is consistency. Consistency will help with brand recognition. You wouldn’t want to put out a flyer with images that don’t match what you normally publish as your audience may not even recognize that the flyer is from you. They may even breeze right past it without giving it a second look or thought.

Sidewalk with words on it

8. Brand values

The final component to your brand identity are your brand values. Any memorable brand stands for something. What you stand for could be as big as saving the environment, or a bit smaller scale to creating inclusive clothes for all body types. Values help you establish goals for your brand to work toward. Oftentimes these goals align with the goals of many individuals in the world. Establishing these goals and making them known to your audience will help them connect with your brand on a deeper level. This will help your brand stand out from your competitors by forming a deeper connection with your audience. These days it is important to people to feel a connection with a brand and know that they believe in the same things and have the same values. 

Establishing your brand identity can seem like a daunting task with all of the components involved. By starting with these 8 key elements, you’ll be on your way to a solid brand identity in no time. No matter the size of your business, it’s important to put time and effort into each element, as your audience will be able to tell when you’re being authentic and when things are forced or rushed.

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