How to Create Your Brand’s Visual Elements
If you’re looking to grow your business, then establishing a strong brand identity is a must. Specifically, a strong brand can communicate your company’s values and identity, lending your business a stronger sense of trust and connection with your target audience.
And as you craft a strategy to build your brand, you’ll find that much of it is visual. This means that making smart design choices can give your business a better chance of capturing your audience’s attention while leaving a lasting impression.
Of course, defining and creating a brand’s visual elements isn’t always easy. This is exactly why businesses shell out a lot of money to marketing professionals.
However, if you’re looking to tackle your visual branding successfully and cost-effectively, then you may want to handle it yourself.
This begins with a solid understanding not just of your target audience and your brand identity, but the most important visual elements of any brand as well.
While the exact visual elements of a brand can vary from one business and industry to the next, there are seven key components that you’ll want to consider as you build your visual marketing strategy:
- Color Scheme
- Style Guide
By having a solid understanding of these elements and why they matter, as well as some tips for tackling each one, you’ll have a better chance of marketing success.
6 Key Visual Elements
No matter what industry you’re in, there’s a good chance your competitors are already using the following visual elements in their marketing plans.
1. Color Scheme
Establishing a color scheme or color palette is key to improving brand recognition and possibly even creating an emotional connection with your target audience.
Specifically, a color scheme refers to the series of colors your brand uses most in its marketing. McDonald’s, for example, is known for its signature red and yellow color scheme. Which color palette is best for your brand?
When deciding on a color scheme, consider elements of color psychology. Different colors can evoke different emotions in your audience.
Red, for example, is often used to evoke feelings of intensity and urgency. Meanwhile, green is often used to symbolize wealth, nature, and growth. Contemplate these principles carefully when selecting a primary color palette for your brand.
Your use of fonts/typography can also go a long way in building a brand image. Just as with colors, fonts and typefaces can be used to evoke different emotions.
Serif fonts, for example, are often associated with professionalism and knowledge. Meanwhile, sans-serif fonts tend to be seen as more modern.
However, typography in branding goes beyond choosing fonts. It also refers to how text is displayed, whether it be on your website or in print.
Make sure you set up a list of approved fonts, as well as guidelines for font sizes, when text should be bolded, and the like to convey your message correctly.
When selecting fonts, opt for easily readable ones and universally displayed on different devices. The last thing you want is to use a font that doesn’t display correctly on a mobile device, causing confusion that can affect your brand image.
One of the most important visual elements of any brand is of the logo. This is the graphical mark that will symbolize your company and its identity.
Logos are undoubtedly important because they often serve as a first impression of sorts. Likewise, a great logo can drastically improve recall of your brand.
In fact, studies have found that up to 75% of consumers can recognize brands based on their logos alone.
So, what do you need to keep in mind when designing a logo for your brand? Consider, for starters, incorporating the typefaces and colors you’ve already established to keep things consistent.
From there, focus on keeping things simple, as your logo will need to be versatile enough to use on your website, social media, email signatures, business cards, signage, and any other marketing materials.
If you’re feeling stuck with your logo design, you don’t necessarily have to shell out thousands of dollars to hire a graphic designer; instead, you can go online and use a logo maker which generates logo ideas in a matter of minutes, and get it out of the way quickly and with less.
Your brand’s use of imagery and/or graphics can also have a huge impact on your marketing. From patterns and shapes to photography and illustrations, your imagery should communicate your brand’s identity and values while remaining as consistent as possible.
There’s a lot to keep in mind when creating style guidelines for imagery in your branding. For example, will you primarily use photography or illustrations in your marketing materials?
What about patterns or specific shapes? At the end of the day, using imagery to your advantage is all about making design decisions that will best capture the attention of your audience.
From there, it’s important to remain consistent; this means that you shouldn’t use vectors/illustrations on your website and then simple photography in your brochures and other print materials. Choose your brand imagery and stick to it across all mediums to promote cohesion whenever possible.
5. Mascot (If Applicable)
Depending on your brand, industry, and audience, you may want to delegate a “mascot” of sorts to represent your company.
Having a mascot can strengthen your brand identity and help your audience better connect with your company on a personal and emotional level.
Likewise, a great mascot can capture your audience’s attention while increasing overall engagement and awareness.
Think of GEICO, the insurance company, and its beloved gecko mascot. Some other examples of memorable mascots include:
- The Planters peanut
- The Kool Aid Man
- Chester, the Cheetos cheetah
- The Michelin Man
If you decide to go the mascot route for your brand, start by deciding whether a human, animal, or object mascot would best represent your business.
From there, work to develop a personality and a clever name for your mascot. You might benefit from hiring a freelance cartoon artist to help you turn your ideas into reality.
Regardless of what you choose as your company mascot, just be sure to do your research and make sure that it hasn’t been done already; the last thing you want is to end up with copyright infringement or other legal issues because you accidentally copied another company’s mascot.
6. Style Guide
A style guide, also known as a brand book, is another important visual component to have. Specifically, a style guide is a physical and/or digital document that provides details on your brand’s guidelines for visual elements and design.
The idea behind a style guide is that any one of your company’s team members can create content that adheres to the brand’s overall aesthetic and reflects its identity.
If you’re not sure how to go about it, this is also something that you can get done quickly and easily by using style guide templates. Keep in mind that it can be used not just for creating visual content, but written content as well.
Tips for Creating Visual Branding Elements
While creating visual branding elements may seem complicated (and it can be), it mostly boils down to following a few basic tips.
First and foremost, know your audience. If you haven’t taken the time to conduct thorough audience research, you cannot possibly create content that will resonate with them.
If you haven’t done so already, it may be time to earmark some marketing dollars to better understand your audience demographics, interests, and buying habits. Otherwise, your entire marketing plan could be off-target.
Perhaps just as important is understanding your own brand identity and how you want your company to be perceived by the general public.
Sit down with other members of your team and actually write this down on paper. What are some of the characteristics and descriptive words you want your audience to think when they hear your company name?
Once you’ve documented the identity you want to build for your brand, you can work on creating visual content that reflects that identity.
Last but not least, use the right tools to create your visual branding elements. Logo generators, for example, can be great for brainstorming logo ideas and even turning your existing ideas into a reality.
Likewise, there are plenty of other resources (such as places where you can download fonts and color scheme generators) all over the web.
If all else fails, it’s generally better to hire a professional graphic designer to help you with a visual element than to end up with a finished product that doesn’t accurately reflect your brand.
Even if your budget is relatively small, it’s important to look at this type of spending as an investment in your company and its future.
The Final Word
The design choices you make have a huge and direct impact on how your potential audience perceives your brand, so it’s important to tackle these visual elements wisely.
From your logo and color scheme to your font choices and use of imagery, even the seemingly smallest of details matter.
By keeping these tips and best practices in mind, you’ll be better empowered to make smart design choices for your brand.
From there, you can leave a positive and lasting impression while increasing awareness within your industry.
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