Branding Made Easy with a Simple Visual Identity

Web Design, Website Planning

Are you the type of person who steps out in the morning looking pulled together like you actually put a bit of thought and energy into how you want to show up today?

Or does putting yourself together mean rocking out in the first pair of pant’s coupled with the first tee you pull out of the wardrobe? (raises hand slowwwly)

I’m not judging sister but when it comes to how we show up in business, we really need to get it together!

And if you’re coming to the table half-dressed it’s going to show.

Which is why you need a Simple Visual Identity.
The way you show up in business determines how your audience perceives you. And if you’re coming to the table half-dressed it’s going to show. Which is why you need a Simple Visual Identity.

What is a Visual Brand?

It’s the face of your overall business Brand and if used consistently, people will have time to absorb it, get familiar with it, know how to treat it, know what to expect from it and recognise it the next time it shows up.

Powerful stuff isn’t it!

Think for a minute about how you interact with a complete stranger. Even before ‘Hi!’, you’re both forming a perception of each other and that happens largely by the visual + instinctive ques we receive.

Your Visual Brand (identity) is an ‘all-sensory’ experience that informs the way your audience perceives you. It’s an end product of your business’ overall Brand.

What makes up a Visual Brand?

On the surface your Visual Brand consists of:

  • Logo
  • Color Palette
  • Font’s
  • Imagery
  • Patterns, textures and other illustrative elements.

Pretty simple right?  When all of these things are pulled together on a website and used consistently in print and digital media, people will not only recognise you, they’ll also learn to trust you. But there’s so much more to it than that.

As I said earlier, your Visual Brand is an end product of your overall business Brand and there’s a whole lot to consider before you can create an accurate Visual Brand. But since you’re still finding your feet, you won’t have all the answers to bang up a full-on Brand just yet. Which is why you need a simple Visual Identity to step out with.

And just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s not going to achieve anything. Simply by showing up visually, in the same way, consistently, people will begin to recognise you anytime you show up.

The idea behind a simple Visual Brand is that it evolves as you learn more about yourself and this little biz of yours. It serves as a base that can be molded and tweaked (when necessary). It’ll be your savior in your daily operations especially when it comes to marketing. And… without one, your website & marketing materials could end up looking like a scrapbook collection.

How to create a simple Visual Identity?

Logo

Instead of spending dollars you don’t have on a full blown logo that might only fit your biz for the first 6-12 months, start with a simple wordmark logo which is basically a type-based logo. You can totally do this yourself with the use of a stunning font. All you need is a great font (or two!) and a graphic editor that let’s you use fonts from your computer like PicMonkey. Canva also offers this function as an upgrade.

BUT BEWARE! Each typeface has a personality – so be sure that the one(s) you choose is appropriate. For example:

 Amadeus Font example - poor choice for Visual Branding

Amadeus Font

If you were in need of a criminal lawyer, would bother checking Joe Blogs out based on the feeling you get from his logo? Or how about this one…

Poor choice of font for this brand.

DJ Gross Font

Would you consider hiring Jane Doe to take care of your finances? Probably not.

Of course I’ve chosen standup careers and paired them (ridiculously) with typefaces but the point is, the typeface you choose must be relevant to what you do and how you want to be perceived.

Now let’s take a look at more suitable typefaces for these professions.

font examples for logos

Both examples now use typefaces that are more relevant to their professions. The Joe Blogs example is classic, robust and trustworthy while Jane Doe has an approachable, friendly yet professional feel about it.

Color Palette

Gather inspiration from Design Seeds or COLOURlovers but first, be sure that your chosen color(s) elicit the desired emotion with your audience. Think about how you want them to feel when you (your brand) walks in the room.

What do your brand colours say about you?

Infographic by Carey Jolliffe

And if you feel like you’re getting overwhelmed by all the choices you have, you can certainly take on the minimalist design approach and simply choose one color. There are no hard and fast rules about how many colors a brand needs.

Coca-Cola uses a single color, why not you too?

Typefaces

Forage for fonts at Font Squirrel that vibe with your Visual Brand. You’ll want to choose a font for:

  • Headlines
  • Body

Again you can make this really simple by just choosing one font + using different variations of it throughout your site.

Dustismo Font

Dustismo Font

In the above example I’ve used the Dustismo font to show the contrast that can be achieved simply by increasing/decreasing the font size. And if you want to take it further, you also have the option of bold, itallic, splashing it with a bit of color and  i n c r e a s i n g  or decreasing the space between each character (letter spacing).  Ahhh! The choices.

Just remember to be sure that whatever you choose is readable.

Imagery

When we talk about imagery it includes images you’ll use for your blog posts, social media, email marketing, marketing in general, the whole she-bang! So it’s a good thing to be as detailed as you can about what’s acceptable and what isn’t to maintain consistency.

Relevance is again, a really important guiding principle here since the images need to convey your brand values to your audience.

Also think about:

  • What type of imagery your audience might feel emotionally connected to.
  • What the imagery style of your brand is. Ie; High contrast, saturated, black and white maybe?
  • If you’re using human subjects, will they be candid, un-posed shots or do you imagine they belong in a magazine? How about close-ups?
  • When and where is it appropriate for a typeface to be used with your imagery? If so, what typeface should be used?
  • What other embellishments are acceptable and when should those be used?

Now go ahead and create a document detailing all of the above so you have a reference for the future. Edit your document as you need but be mindful of how often you introduce these tweaks to your audience. You want to become memorable to them and that can’t happen if you’re continuously switching it up.

Have you been feeling stuck trying to figure out your Visual Brand? Let me know in the comments below and of course, if you’d like to collaborate with me on this, contact me here.

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