Business, Design, How To's
How to Create Your Brand Identity
Your brand is the most valuable asset of your business. It is what distinguishes you from all your competitors in the industry. Your brand identity will be used for all your marketing and branding endeavours in the future.
Developing a brand is more than just creating a cool logo or name for your business. A brand is a promise you make to your customers about what kind of experience they will get whenever they buy your products or avail your services. It is what helps you relate to your customers on a more personal level.
Your brand design is comprised of different brand elements including the logo, brand colours, fonts, and even the tone of voice. All these elements work together to create a cohesive message about your business for the customers.
The very first thing you need to decide is the personality of your brand. This means that you want to identify a set of human-like characteristics you want to be associated with your brand. This decision will come to define all other aspects of your branding. Think of it this way: if you want customers to perceive your brand as friendly, you need to actually portray friendliness through your branding. But, how do you define the brand personality?
In order to decide on a brand personality, consider these points and try to answer the following questions:
- Your mission. What is it and how do you want to accomplish it?
- Your company values. What are they?
- Target customer group. Who do you want to attract? What are your customers’ interests and what is their personality?
- Your products/service. What problems do you solve with your products/services? How do your customers benefit from your company? What is the design of your products?
- Your shop, be it a website or a brick-and-mortar store. How did you design it? What vibes does it give off?
Keep in mind that you don’t have to have a set of characteristics written down that you have to follow. This first step is more about getting an idea of how you want your brand to be perceived by customers. Along the design process, the decision you took in this step can be changed, modified, altered and completely disregarded. However, it is good to start somewhere.
After you have an idea of your brand personality, it’s time to create your logo. Logos are identifying marks, emblems or symbols that will help customers set you apart from other brands. They also help customers better relate and connect to your brand. It could be in the form of an icon, logotype, or even a combination of both.
Designing a logo is a long but rewarding step-by-step process. It involves a lot of self-evaluation, time, and research. Though the process can seem hard we have condensed it into a quick step-by-step guide that will help you create your own unique logo:
Self-evaluation of your company helps to figure out your brand identity. Recall why you started your business in the first place. Identify the things that set you apart from others in the industry and what you value. This is the moment to think of your brand personality.
Consider what you want to portray. List down some adjectives you want customers to relate to your brand. Start looking for inspiration for designs that might portray those qualities.
Gather all the necessary and relevant information you need to create your logo. That includes researching different symbols, images, colours, and fonts, your competitors, and the latest trends.
Determine the symbols and images that can best represent your brand. Different symbols can portray different meanings. Circles, for example, can mean a million different things. They can represent totality, wholeness, eternity, perfection, or even the sun.
Take a look at the logos of your competitors too. See what symbol or object they used to represent their brand. Why did they choose this image? What image or personality are they trying to portray with their logo?
Now that you have all the necessary information to start creating your logo design, it’s time to lay down all your logo ideas on the table. You can do this on your own or with a group of people. No need to use a computer for this step. A pencil and paper will do.
Create different thumbnails (also called rough preliminary sketches) of your logo design. It doesn’t have to be detailed. What’s important is that you get out all possible ideas out in the open.
Creating the Initial Draft
Once you’ve more or less settled on a specific form of the logo, it’s time to create a rough first draft. This step allows you to experiment with different styles, shapes, forms, colours, and fonts for your logo.
Refining and Finalizing
Choose the best three versions from your initial drafts. Refine the designs for each logo, complete with the colours and fonts already. Compare and contrast the different versions, perhaps with some friends or co-workers, to see which one generates the best response.
Once you’ve narrowed down all your choices into one final logo, it’s time to iron out the tiny details. Create different versions, if possible. And make sure you take your time choosing, it’s good to discuss it with co-workers, take some time, then go through the variations again.
Colours have a subtle, yet strong influence on customer behaviour and emotion. Choose the appropriate colours that reflect your brand identity and evoke the right emotions in your customers. During the logo creation process, you, more or less have an idea of what colours to use for your brand.
Once you’ve established a fixed colour palette, specify the following details:
- Define the colour names
- Define the colour values (CMYK for print, RGB and HEX codes for digital, and Pantone name and number)
- Define the primary, secondary, and alternate colours and how to use them
A set colour palette guarantees consistency in all company assets from a small notepad to a large billboard. That consistency reinforces and increases brand visibility and recognition in the market.
Typography is another essential element in the design of your brand. Together with your brand’s logo and design, it represents who you are and what you value as a brand.
Choose a combination of at least two to three typefaces that best display your brand’s personality. Define the different typefaces and fonts that should be used for your brand. Set rules on its proper application on both print and digital to create consistency.
Note: To avoid legal conflicts, make sure to buy a commercial license for the font you want to use. Otherwise, use free fonts that already come with a commercial license.
Tone of Voice
Your brand’s personality isn’t only expressed in visuals, but in content as well. The communication style you select is also part of your brand. You need to have a unified and consistent tone of voice, be it written or spoken, across all communication channels.
Your brand’s tone of voice guides not only what you say, but how to say it. This entails choosing the right words, but also their order, rhythm, phrasing, and pace.
Establishing a tone of voice is crucial for the following reasons:
- It influences the way you create the company’s copy. This includes emails, social media posts, press releases, blog posts, tweets, and other mediums of communication.
- It represents the personality and values of the company.
- It builds familiarity and trust between the company and its customers.
- It can influence and persuade customers.
How do we go about setting your tone of voice? Below is a step-by-step guide that will help you establish your tone of voice:
To establish your tone of voice, you must go back to the company’s roots and foundations. Ask yourself why you created the company in the first place. What did you want to address with your company?
Consider what your company has to offer that can’t be found in other brands. What values does your company uphold? What is your vision, mission and highest priority?
Once you’ve identified who you are as a company and what you value, you can start thinking about how to express your personality through words. Think of three values that best describe the essence of your brand. It could be as simple as fun, reliable, economical, and other words.
Consider also how formal or informal you want your tone of voice to sound. On one hand, too formal of a tone can express professionalism and authority but can come across as stiff and detached. Too informal of a tone, on the other hand, gives a personal and familiar touch but can also come off as reckless and lacking professionalism.
Keep in mind that a tone of voice is a continuum, a line between formal and informal on which you can place your brand. It’s not a matter of either-or, but it’s rather a question of finding the right balance.
Once you’re settled on the overall tone of voice, you also have to think about the technicalities. How technical should your writing be? While it is important to use technical terms in your language, it is crucial that you use language, which your customers can understand.
Consider also the words and phrases that should and should not be used. Define simple rules regarding slang, humour, sentence length, the order of pronouns, and even how to address people within the company.
Once you’ve settled your logo, colours, typography, and tone of voice, create a brand book containing all the guidelines to using your brand design. It will serve as a guide for creating cohesive and consistent collaterals for the company. Everyone needs to follow what is outlined in your brand book to avoid inconsistencies that will confuse your customers.
Once you created your brand’s design and artwork, it’s time to start ordering your printed products.