The foundation of your brand identity

Branding plays an important role in the success of your company. It creates your unique identity that lays the foundation on which you build your legacy. In other words, nailing your design = nailing your brand identity = building a successful business that’s an accurate representation of who you are as a brand. So, how exactly do you nail your design and build a brand identity that will take your business to the next level?

Developing your brand design

Before you start creating your design assets, you need to start from the ground up and lock in the basics of your design structure: the building blocks of your brand identity. The building blocks you’ll want to determine before you create your design assets include:


Typography
Typography refers to you guessed it the font (or type) you choose for your branding materials. There are four major types of typography:

Serif fonts (like Times New Roman or Garamond) have what look like an anchor (or to some people, little feet) on the end of each letter. This classic typography is great if you want your brand to appear trustworthy, traditional, and just a little old school.

If “serif” is the foot, “sans serif” is without the foot. Sans serif fonts (like Helvetica or Franklin Gothic) are letters that have smooth edges and lack the anchor or “feet” of their serif counterparts. Sans serif fonts give a more sleek, modern feel to brands.

Script typography emulates cursive handwriting (so much for all those cursive lessons in elementary school!). These fonts (like Allura or Pacifico) can be a great way to add a luxurious or feminine feel to your brand.

Display fonts are kind of in a league of their own. Each display font has a specialized element, whether it’s an unusual shape to the letters, outlines, shadowing, or a more artistic/hand-drawn edge (think Metallica’s lightening bolt font). Want to make a bold statement and create a brand identity people won’t soon forget? A display font is a great way to do it.

Color Palette

Next up is color. People your potential customers included have psychological ties to different colors, and using colors strategically in your brand color palette can have a serious impact on how your brand is perceived by your audience. Here are what the colors of the rainbow (plus a few extras) can do to help your brand identity:

  • Red: Red is the color of passion and excitement. It’s the perfect choice if your brand identity is loud, youthful, and exciting.
  • Orange: Orange is another high-energy color and is great if you want to appear friendly and playful. It’s used less commonly than red, so will also make you stand out.
  • Yellow: Yellow, the color of sunshine, is all about happiness. The cheerful vibe makes it a good choice if you want to feel fun, accessible and affordable.
  • Green: An incredibly versatile color, green can be used for just about any brand. Culturally, though, when people see green, they think two things: money or nature. If your brand is tied to either of those things, green is an especially good choice.
  • Blue: The most universally appealing color in the spectrum, blue can help your branding to appear more stable and trustworthy, so if you’re looking to appeal to a wide demographic—and get them to trust you in the process—go with blue.
  • Purple: Purple is the color of royalty, so if you’re going for a luxurious feel in your branding, this a safe bet.
  • Pink: Right or wrong, pink is culturally tied to femininity, so if your brand is targeted towards women, pink should be a definite contender for your brand color. It’s also a great color for brands with a soft or luxurious identity.
  • Brown: Brown is perhaps the least use color in all of branding, but that could actually work to your advantage! Any time you do something different, it helps you stand out. Brown can also help people to view your brand as rugged or masculine.
  • Black: If you want to be viewed as modern or sophisticated, there’s nothing as classic and effective as black.

Form / Shape

When it comes to your designs, you also want to think about form and shape. This subtle but effective element that can be used to reinforce the desired reaction from your customers: so, for example, a logo that is all circles and soft edges will inspire a very different reaction from a logo that’s sharp and square.
Round shapes: like circles, ovals, and ellipses are all about the warm and fuzzies. Brands that incorporate round shapes can create feelings of community, unity and love. The rounded edges can also be viewed as feminine.
Straight edged shapes: like squares, rectangles, and triangles make people think strength and efficiency. The no-nonsense lines create a feeling of stability and trustworthiness, but you need to be careful: if the shapes aren’t balanced out with something fun, like dynamic colors, they can feel impersonal and fail to connect with your customers.
Straight lines also have their own implications: vertical lines suggest masculinity and strength while horizontal lines suggest tranquility and mellow vibes.

Designing your brand identity

Once you’ve figured out the building blocks of your design, it’s time to work with a designer to bring your brand identity to life and translate who you are as a brand into tangible design assets you can use in your marketing. Your brand identity can be expressed in any number of elements. Depending on the nature of your business, one asset or another may be more or less important. For example, a restaurant should put a lot of thought into their menu and physical space. A digital marketing agency, however, needs to focus more on their website and social media pages.

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