Is it your logo? Your color palette? Your infographic style? It’s all that—and more.
Brand identity is “the outward expression of a brand, including its trademark, name, communications, and visual appearance.” To customers , a brand identity is the sum total of how your brand looks, feels, and speaks to people.
Ultimately, a brand identity is a way to communicate with the world, differentiate yourself from your competition, and create a brand experience that encourages people to engage with you.
Some brands elevate brand identity to an art (think Apple, LEGO, or Levi’s). Unfortunately, some brands struggle because they don’t know who they are or don’t know how to communicate it effectively.
If you want to be a competitive and successful company, crafting a strong brand identity is mandatory. When you can successfully communicate who you are, you can better communicate with people and form the strong relationships you need for long-term success.
What Does a Brand Identity Include?
A logo and a color palette alone do not make a brand identity. When designing your identity, you need to create a comprehensive visual language that can be applied to everything from your website to your packaging.
A basic brand identity includes:
- Design System
- Data visualization
- Interactive elements
- Video and motion
- Web design
Remember: Your brand identity should translate across mediums, so include everything you need to make sure it does.
The Keys 🔑 to a Strong Brand Identity
That said, just because you design those elements doesn’t mean they’re effective. As you embark on the design process, make sure your brand identity is:
- Distinct: It stands out among competitors and catches people’s attention.
- Memorable: It makes a visual impact. (Consider Apple: The logo is so memorable they only include the logo—not their name—on their products.)
- Scalable and flexible: It can grow and evolve with the brand.
- Cohesive: Each piece complements the brand identity.
- Easy to apply: It’s intuitive and clear for designers to use.
If any of these elements are missing, it will be challenging for your brand team to do their job well.
How to Build a Brand Identity
To demystify the process for you, we’ve crafted this step-by-step guide to build a brand identity. The process can seem intimidating, but we’ve been through it many times with our creative partners (and through our own rebranding), so we know firsthand what mistakes to avoid, and how to make it easier on everyone.
If your brand is in its early stages or preparing to rebrand and not sure where to start, follow these tips to move through the process seamlessly and build a stronger brand identity that sets you up for success.
Your brand strategy is a detailed plan that outlines exactly what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it. It is comprised of your:
- Brand Heart (purpose, vision, mission, values)
- Brand Messaging
- Brand Identity (logo, color, typography, etc.)
Your brand identity is really a tool to help you communicate your brand visually, thus supporting your brand strategy.