A strong visual identity is the core of successful corporate branding. But how do you create a compelling and cohesive visual identity? What makes it recognizable? And will it drive attention to a small business?
Most entrepreneurs have these questions in mind as they set out to transform their brand image.
I don’t think branding is rocket science; but it does make a world of difference.
There are key elements that create a powerful visual identity. For business owners, it can be overwhelming to think about them—which ones work and which ones don’t?
Complex variables go into determining the best image for your brand but one thing’s certain—you have to know your audience to create a successful identity. Once you’ve got this foundation set, the rest will fall into place.
To harness the power of visual marketing, my top piece of advice is this: don’t overdo it. You’ll be closer than ever to making it happen once you see that simplicity really is the ultimate sophistication.
Here is how you can develop a strong visual identity for your brand (and your customers’ brands) based on my own years of experience in the field.
#1. Create a Logo to Set You Apart. The logo is the most basic, but also the most critical, aspect of a strong visual identity. It’s more than just colors, fonts, and icons. It’s the first thing a customer notices about your business.
My experience at Front Signs suggests that a logo is the start of positive associations with customers. It’s how you create the right impression with the right customers.
At Front Signs, we’ve discovered that descriptive logos with a clear combination of texts and graphics are the most impactful for attracting new clients.
When creating a logo for your business, it’s important to be original. Choose stylistic elements that distinguish your products, reflect your values, and deliver your brand’s ethos.
Don’t forget to keep the logo simple. A simple logo is easy to remember and recognize. With a little refinement, simple will be the most sophisticated way to represent your brand image.
Make the logo catchy, cohesive, and scalable. The design should be attractive, consistent with your brand, and clear in small or large print alike. A logo design with these characteristics indicates professionalism.
Choose the right colors and font. Typography and colors are critical to conveying your brand message. They can add a sense of personality and familiarity. Colors, in particular, affect customer moods and decisions.
#2. Enhance the Customer Experience. When you’re new in an industry, putting your business on the map takes hard work and lots of sleepless nights.
You have to utilize every opportunity to ensure that customers enjoy your work in order to remember your name. I learned the significance of this by working with thousands of new and renowned brands for over a decade.
But how do you create great experiences for visitors, customers, and employees?
You don’t have to play by strict rules or invest in an expensive design or marketing budget to achieve success in this regard. Instead you can use timeless visual elements in strategic locations to make an impact on customers.
Place dazzling signage in the interior and exterior of your business location. It’s the first step to making a positive impression.
Well-designed establishments can draw attention and create a unique experience for people. Especially in today’s visually driven market, a cool sign like a marquee can be the object of viral photos and a great marketing strategy.
Meanwhile decals placed on windows, floors, walls, and other smooth surfaces can amp-up exposure and visual appeal exponentially. They’re ultra-affordable, attractive, and easy to apply and remove. They can be changed up periodically to announce special promotions and freshen up the atmosphere of your space. Artistic decals add a sense of luxury without the expense.
#3. Use Quality Materials for Prominence. There is no question about it—visual components should be of the best quality you can attain on both online and offline marketing platforms. High-end products are a mark of authority.
Whether it is your brochure, print ads, business cards, or graphics for online ads, marketing material should reflect the taste and quality of your business. High-definition prints and marketing materials ensure that customers can easily trust and distinguish your business from others.
Our experience with prominent brands such as the Los Angeles Times, Coca-Cola, Burger King, FedEx, MGM, and others confirms this. Premium materials help your branding be more memorable, recognizable, and trustworthy. People can identify and connect with your business by the quality of your marketing materials.
#4. Be Consistent to Become Reliable. Consistency is the key to achieving significant results with branding. Your visual identity has a key role to play here. It should convey a coherent brand message across all channels. Avoid multiple designs; they can confuse and drive customers away.
To maintain a clear message, use an identical logo, brand name, and tagline across all channels. Using it frequently in marketing campaigns will improve your business reputation and familiarize your audience with your brand. People are far more likely to buy from brands they know over new and unfamiliar ones.
To become reliable, visual identity must be uniformly communicated. It must embrace a clear-cut style and values. While mostly aiming for minimalism and consistency, remember to also add a touch of creativity to your branding strategy.
#5. Secure a Strong Digital Presence. Digital presence is a game changer. A digital presence with an engaged audience is extremely advantageous in today’s market. Your web site, social media pages, and customer support team should synergize to create an approachable ecosystem for customers.
Most importantly, it’s my personal experience that your visual identity must be impressive in real life in order to translate properly online.
In virtual spaces, like your web site and social media pages, it’s wise to incorporate images of your physical location, including its business signs.
A boring venue design can be a blow to your overall branding, whereas an appealing one will be the reason people share it across their own media channels. An aesthetically pleasing physical space can be used to harness digital presence and elevate exposure. It’s the key to trending in the current market.
When I first heard the term “branding,” I assumed it was a kind of magic wand—a wand powerful and influential marketers used to drive millions in revenue each year. It was the wand that instantly hypnotized customers and compelled them to accept that their brand was simply the best, most authentic and trustworthy in existence. It was a complex and mysterious tool to me. And it worked.
Thankfully I soon discovered a more realistic and attainable term for the magic wand of branding: visual identity.
Your company is not only a name, logo, or tagline—it’s the window through which customers peek into your company’s image before they use your products and services.
Make sure you give them a unique perspective—a window worth looking into.
Lily Travis is a content writer at Front Signs who loves to share insights and expertise about the advertising and marketing industry.