Brand Identity: How to Design One That Stands Out

Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room, said Jeff Bezos, the guy who built a company that’s now a synonym for online shopping. Oh, and the richest man on the planet. 

So, why is branding important?

Because it can transform your small brick-and-mortar store into a business that’s well-known in your area, or even globally.

When the market is competitive, your brand identity can indeed turn your small business, a startup, or even yourself from a complete unknown into a reputable and recognizable figure, one that stands out from the others and inspires trust.

Read on to learn more about brand identity and how to design one that will make your business look unique and trustworthy.

What’s Brand Identity?

Before we begin this brief tutorial, let’s begin with making a few essential distinctions, so we can be sure that we’re on the same page.

There are a couple of terms that are most commonly used when talking about branding:

  • Branding – a marketing strategy aimed at shaping a distinctive brand
  • Brand identity  – a collection of all elements you create to shape the brand. It’s the way your brand looks, feels, and interacts with people.
  • Brand image  – the perception of your company in the eyes of your target audience based on their interactions and experiences with your brand
  • Brand personality  – a set of human traits and characteristics that are assigned to the brand. Think about how Coca-Cola invokes the feeling of happiness, warmth, and good times in all their imagery. 

When we’re talking about designing your brand identity, the main factors we have in mind are:

  • Logo
  • Brandmark
  • Color
  • Typography
  • Photography
  • Illustrations
  • Structure
  • Character
  • Tone of voice

Now, let’s see how you can design the identity that will be easy to spot and recognize by your prospective customers.

Who’s Your Audience?

To form an identity that your audience will find appealing and that they’ll connect with easily, you need to start right there, with your customers.

Identifying your target audience will make it possible for you to understand their needs and interests, so that you can communicate your brand message to them.

Gather all data you have on your customers and create your ideal customer profile and your buyer personas. Research tools from Google can help you determine your target audience’s demographic, location, and other relevant data so that you can know what they would find attractive and tailor your communication strategy accordingly.  

Know What Makes You Unique

The most straightforward reason people are interested in you or your business is that they have a problem that they need to solve. They aim to solve this problem using certain products or services, whether it’s as simple as quenching thirst or as complex as counseling.

You’ve got a solution for them, but to succeed with your branding efforts and entice them to choose you, you need to know exactly what distinguishes you from all the other companies that can address their pain points. 

How does your business fit into people’s lives?

That will be your unique value proposition, and it needs to blend perfectly with your brand core values – a set of fundamental beliefs you’ve built your organization on.

Having clear core values and knowing what you stand for will guide you throughout the process of building a brand identity. 

Build a Strong Brand Personality

Great visuals won’t mean much if you haven’t put enough effort into shaping a strong brand personality. That personality is what your customers will recognize you by and use to connect with your brand on a deeper and more personal, emotional level. 

Imagine what your brand would be like if it were a person. How would that person speak, behave, or dress? Would it be sassy like Wendy’s, or motivational like Nike with their “Just do it” or “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything” taglines? 

The answers to these questions are crucial for a strong and consistent brand identity, as they are strongly interconnected.

Of course, being consistent is another critical element of a brand’s personality – it’s what will make your brand more genuine and recognizable. Make sure that your brand guidelines are carefully implemented in all your social media updates, conversations with customers, and even your visual identity. 

Nail It With Your Design

Every tangible element you use to communicate with your audience – from your logo, packaging, web design, to your business cards and uniforms, needs to be thought out strategically and designed with care.

Nothing should be left to chance, as every detail matters, including your color palette, the font that you use, symmetry, graphics, and shapes. All this reflects your identity and affects how your customers will perceive you.

People form their opinion very fast. For example, they need no more than 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about a website. Essentially, that’s how much time you have to make an impression. Based on this first impression, they decide whether they will leave your site or stay. 

If we bear in mind that  94% of first impressions are design-related, your visuals shouldn’t be anything less than stunning.

And when it comes to design, less is usually more. Overly complex design is often confusing, hard to grasp, and it tends to drive the focus away from the essentials, so go for minimalistic solutions. 

Let’s go back to the company from the beginning of this article, Amazon. If you take a look at their logo, you’ll notice that they managed to condense their entire philosophy and show what they do in this short visual message – an arrow connecting the letters A and Z and representing that you can find everything in their store. 

Designing a distinctive brand identity that reflects your brand values, mission, vision, and uniqueness should be on top of your priority list. Take a cue from successful brands and follow these tips to point you in the right direction.