New Year, New Branding: The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Brand Identity
“Branding isn’t that important” said no one. Ever.
Now that we’re entering a new year (happy 2022!), you might be thinking of giving your brand the spruce up it deserves.
Let’s face it, we now live in a world of consumers who are drawn to what’s aesthetic. So, the only way to stand out in an industry (any industry) that’s highly saturated is to have a unique brand identity. It’s a serious red flag when brands don’t invest in their overall design and a lack of brand identity can result in insufficient business growth overall.
To be frank, brands that tend to lose their ‘identity’ over time, never had a strong one to begin with. While manifesting your business’ whole persona into a consistent design can be quite the challenge, here is everything you need to know to get the ball rolling!
Make Google your Bestie (Research, research, research!)
Before you start building your brand identity, it’s crucial to know what’s already out there. Research every competitor, logo, colour palette, theme and design worth exploring. Find out what works, what doesn’t and start strategising how to position your brand identity design so that it not only stands out, but truly has a point of difference. In other words, dissect your competitors’ logos and branding and find their strengths and weaknesses. It’s your chance to establish what you actually like and what you want to avoid design-wise.
For instance, maybe their colour palette is too bright, maybe their logo isn’t very creative or maybe the pages on their website aren’t very clear or readable. Take note of these observations and insights and use them to your advantage.
In addition, use this stage to dive deeper into who your ideal client is as well– do a little study on their psychographics and the different design elements that might attract them. Perhaps even the brands they currently interact with on a frequent basis. To help you visualise your audience even more, you can create a profile card of this consumer: give them a name (hello Zoe!) and list down their age, occupation, activities and interests to best see how you can please them and their needs.
Throughout this stage, don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed by all the content out there and instead, draw your attention to gaining tons of ideas and inspiration!
Create a Mood Board
Now that you’ve done the research, it’s time to get a little wild. Nothing will get your ideas flowing better than an inspiration board that will help you visualise your signature brand design. A mood board can be created digitally on Canva or Pinterest (among other sites) or it can be as simple as opening a Powerpoint slide and dropping all your ideas and images onto a fresh document. Your mood board will serve as your initial style guide so it’s important to include as many elements as possible from typography and fonts, to logos and themes, to colour palettes and photography– lay it all out on the board!
You can start with as much content as you want but it’s important to start eliminating the design elements that don’t really go with your product/service as you go. One of the biggest tips we can give is to keep the branding simple. Don’t overdo it!
When choosing fonts, prioritise its legibility. This doesn’t mean you can’t choose more “creative” fonts but you may want to avoid ones that are too curly, too thin or too light because they limit the legibility for those experiencing the logo for the first time. Like all other design elements, make sure your top fonts exhibit your brand’s tone of voice.
For instance, is your business meant to have a serious tone or does it have a more playful vibe?
In a similar manner, identify the types of photos and content you’d like to produce and publish online. Depending on your business, establish whether your website photos should be bright and airy, dark and mysterious or colourful and playful. You can learn more about what makes a great website here.
Also think about your content pillars. What are the main messages you want to express through your brand identity? How can these pillars be portrayed through imagery and text? For example, if one of your pillars is to inform, what are particular elements you can use to achieve this?
In the end, make sure your mood board is filled with elements that go together. When finding designs, remember to keep them somewhat uniformed and cohesive. Building your brand identity design is one thing but building a consistent brand identity is a whole other level you want to reach!
Start your Style Guide
Once you’re happy with the look and feel of your mood board, it’s time to turn it into an actual style guide. This is the part when you tell us your brand has an awesome personality, without telling us your brand has an awesome personality!
Your style guide will include your final logo, colour palette, fonts, typography, tonality, brand story and content pillars to ensure your design is consistent across all channels, ALL of the time. You may want to start by first creating your logo and slogan and base the rest of your style guide off these two key elements. We’ve created a very helpful guide on creating logos & slogans for your reference!
Protect your style guide at all costs and make it an accessible document for all members of your business to refer back to when creating any type of content. If an image is worth a thousand words, all the little elements that make up your brand identity design are worth so much more!
…And then you should be all set. The aesthetic culture is here to stay and it’s time to catch up! Invest in your brand identity design today!
We’ve shared some of our best secrets but you might still be overwhelmed by where to start or unable to make the time to create your brand identity design internally. In this case, we’d love to help you out! Contact us at MBP today to find out more about our graphic design and branding services and how we can best elevate your brand identity design this 2022!