Visual identity is the term used for how you remember a brand, company or product. What colours are prominent? Have they got a logo that fits their brand? What shapes or symbols are used, are they ‘on-brand’? These visual factors all play a huge part in how the brand stays in our minds.
Here’s an example of a logo for a company with a very strong brand visual identity.
Even without the brand’s name written beneath the logo as usual, this is instantly recognisable as Pepsi. Your brain has become so accustomed to seeing it that it has been conditioned to link the logo with the brand.
What to consider when creating your visual identity
The fundamentals of a successfully strong visual brand are made up of the following:
In terms of colours these are usually segmented into a ‘main colour’, ‘secondary colour’ and an ‘alternative colour’. The main and secondary colours usually make up the logo. For example for IKEA the main and secondary colours are yellow and blue. If you saw them together without the brand name in the middle, you would most likely recognise the company. However, other brands use the third colour or in some cases a fourth or fifth when writing copy for their website or advertisements.
Colour and memory recall have a strong link in our brains. A piece titled ‘The Influence of Colour on Memory Performance: A Review’ from The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences states that “Colour is believed to be the most important visual experience to human beings. It functions as a powerful information channel to the human cognitive system and has been found to play a significant role in enhancing memory performance”. This is how we are able to recall colourful objects instantly, such as a red bus, a yellow door or a green book.
Logos work like a stamp in our brains. They incorporate all three of the above design elements – colour, shape and font. A brand will typically have one main logo which is used across all channels; website, social media, email correspondence and advertising. In some cases a company may have a monochrome version of their logo, or perhaps a transparent one for design work. However, the makeup of the design stays the same to ensure consistency.
A shape, like a colour, is a powerful visual bookmark for a brand and often relates to the brand itself in some way. Take, for example Dolphin Square, an apartment complex in Pimlico, central London, with flats for rent available for short and extended stays. As the name suggests the building is a square shape if viewed from above, therefore the logo is a simple black square set against a white background. Simple yet effective.
The write stuff
An element that is sometimes overlooked is a brand’s font; the typeface used across any copy on the website, social media, email correspondence and advertising. As with colours, a brand usually has 3 or 4 different fonts. These are commonly known as the ‘header font’, ‘subheading font’ and ‘body font’. The header and subheading fonts mainly feature in the logo, whereas the body font is used for large volumes of text, for example website copy or a newsletter.
The variety of fonts available is almost infinite and choosing the correct one is vital for portraying the brand in the correct way. For example, a calligraphy font would be perfect for a jewellery or wedding brand, but not for a tech company who specialise in PC repairs. Fonts can convey the wrong tone of voice if not used correctly, but also a depth of personality when you get it right.
So why is having all of these elements aligned so important in creating a strong and lasting brand identity? The answer is because they all give the brand a personality, characteristics and a style. A brand is as individual as a human being, no two are the same. To ensure that your brand is remembered, make sure that your brand identity is strong and check that all social media channels are aligned with the website.
How we make your visual identity work throughout your digital marketing
Here at Kitch, we understand the importance of a strong visual identity for businesses that we work with. When we take on a new client, we pay close attention to their existing visual identity and work closely with them to maintain a recognisable face across all their channels in the content we create for them. We ensure that the same fonts and colour palettes are used and that the content is consistent with the brand. As a particular example, in our work with Aubaine, a relaxed and stylish group of restaurants in London, we have created brand-aligned pinned stories on Instagram. As you can see, we have taken the strong branding within its font and used the famous wisteria for which it is so well-known. These create congruous and attractive tiles which are unmistakably ‘Aubaine’.
Visual identity is just one of the factors we take into consideration in our work with clients. Whether it’s tone of voice, imagery, style, values or target audience, we are experts in making your social media platforms an extension of your brand. If you’re looking for someone to manage your digital media, we would love to chat to you. Call us, email, or just pop in for a coffee!