A brand is a product or a service, a value proposition, but also a visual identity. Essential, it allows a company’s partners and customers to easily recognize it. A guarantee of credibility, visual identity is often the first thing consumers see of a brand. It must therefore be successful. But what exactly is a visual identity? How to create the visual identity of a brand? Here are the answers to those questions.
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What is the visual identity of a company?
Visual identity is an essential element for a brand, because it is this which conveys its image. It must reflect its activity, but also its values, its vision or its positioning. A visual identity is made up of different elements, namely the logo, typography, colors, pictograms and icons. It should allow consumers to recognize the brand at first glance.
The importance of having a visual identity for a brand
The visual identity of a brand is the first element that the consumer experiences. It is this which influences the perception he will have of the brand.
When the visual elements of a brand have not been thought out, the consumer feels the incoherence of communication: their opinion of the company is bad. On the contrary, his opinion can be totally different if the values of the brand are correctly translated in his visual communication.
To succeed in this mission, you have to take an interest in the different components that go into building a brand’s visual identity and then create a style guide.
The logo is the basis of a brand’s visual identity: it is present on all of the company’s communication media.
A successful logo is simple and memorable, able to convey the company’s positioning with as few graphic elements as possible.
The logo must be available in several colors and in several sizes to adapt to all types of media.
Typography refers to the fonts used on communication media (e-mails, mobile application, website, etc.), as well as the size of the text and the formatting rules (bold, italics, highlighting).
The typography must always be in line with the offer sold. A company that markets a serious service to B2B customers must therefore choose a policy suited to its activity. For example, a thin font evokes elegance while an italic font suggests dynamism.
The choice of colors should not be done at random. Indeed, each color corresponds to a symbolism or a specific emotion.
For example :
- Blue represents trust and security, which is why it is often found on bank websites.
- Black symbolizing elegance and prestige, it is often used by high-end brands.
- Pink evokes gluttony and sweetness, a color of choice for a pastry.
Good to know : a logo must not contain more than 3 colors.
In addition to choosing the right graphic elements, you must be able to organize them (choice of margins, for example).
Whether it is the creation of a business card, a website or even an e-mail footer, nothing is trivial. Each element of communication must be treated to give a positive image of the brand.
Pictograms and icons
Pictograms, icons, signs and shapes are an integral part of a brand’s visual identity.
Each of these elements should be chosen with care. Indeed, the same pictograms and icons will be used on the application, but also as a reminder on the website, for example.
The visual identity of a brand also includes the photos and visuals displayed on all communication elements.
The visuals can be taken from a shooting, but it is also possible to use royalty-free visuals to avoid additional costs, especially when starting a professional activity.
Create a visual identity
Several steps are necessary to develop a visual identity that reflects the company in a coherent way.
Think about your business environment
To create a brand’s visual identity, it is important to understand its environment, starting with the sector to which it belongs. You have to observe what the competition is doing in terms of visual identity and identify the distinctive elements of the company.
This analysis makes it possible to develop a graphic line specific to the brand’s sector: the design used in the luxury sector is very different from that of early childhood, for example.
Studying the environment of a company also means drawing up a list of personas, that is to say targets. Defining their expectations makes it possible to know whether the visual identity should be minimalist, refined or even surprising, the goal being to be attractive and to make a potential buyer want.
After studying the brand’s environment, one must observe the visual identities of other companies, whether they belong to the same sector or not, to identify what the expectations are in terms of design.
Then comes the time to brainstorm, alone or in a team, and think about:
- Adjectives to qualify the brand.
- Her values.
- His expertise.
- Its axes of differentiation.
If the development of the visual identity is entrusted to a professional, it will then be necessary to draw up specifications incorporating all of this data.
Creation of the visual identity
To create a brand’s visual identity, you have to follow the following 4 steps in order.
To begin with, we must determine the color palette of the company according to their symbolism. Be careful not to choose more than 2 to 3 colors.
Next comes typography. It is advisable to opt for a maximum of three policies which must be selected according to the professional activity and all be complementary.
When choosing icons, pictograms and shapes, keep in mind that their use should be recurring for brand consistency.
The last step is to define the logo. It should not be created beforehand, because it must be imbued with the previous elements to meet the challenges of the brand.
Creation of a graphic charter
So that all the teams within a company can find their way around, it is essential that the elements of the visual identity are integrated into the graphic charter. It is this which allows a brand to fully control its communication.
The graphic charter includes all the elements that appear on a brand’s communication tools, such as the format, the dimensions to be used or the typography. This document is essential to ensure the consistency of the visual identity of the company.
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