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How To Curate Your Brand Identity

March 25, 2019

What does brand identity mean for you? For starters, it's the way that your visitors perceive your business. Everything from your logo, color scheme, content, relationship with clients, and industry has an impact on your brand identity. At DigiFox Studios, we like to give our business some personality to separate us from the pack, as our relationships with our clients are a critical component of our business. But creating a brand identity isn't just any old task, that's why we've created this guide to help you through the process.

Phase 1: Brand Strategy Outline

You didn't think we were just going to jump into color schemes and logos right away, did you? Your first action needs to be a plan. A strategy. A detailed outline of how you will build your brand identity. Just like content strategies, a brand identity outline is a detailed plan of what your goals are and how you're going to achieve them. To clarify, this blog post is going to be focused on helping you design your brand identity, not necessarily your fleshed out brand strategy.

It's important to create that overall strategy and define your core values, brand voice, and smaller components such as your tagline, stories, and positioning. To get started with that overall brand strategy, we've linked this guide to help you get started.

Phase 2: What Makes A Brand Identity Great?

Although colors and logos are components of brand identity, they are not the whole story. A great brand identity is comprised of various things that make up a comprehensive visual language; or how your visitors will perceive your content and brand. Some brands may have a bigger list of components, however here is what a basic brand identity includes:

  • Logo
  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Design System
  • Photography
  • Illustration
  • Iconography
  • Data visualization
  • Interactive elements
  • Video and motion
  • Web design

With that in mind, just having these doesn't make them effective. A strong brand identity is something communicated to everyone involved, from your internal team members to your customers. There's a few different factors involved with that, here's some of the most important:

  • Distinct: You need to stick out from your competitors, and a unique brand identity catches people's attention and makes your brand memorable.
  • Scalable: It can grow around various platforms (stationery, website, social media).
  • Cohesive: Each piece complements the brand identity.

Phase 3: Research

In this phase you'll want to be highly critical. Every aspect and thoughts needs to be analyzed and refined, as you are defining how you present your business.

  • Personality: The way you communicate your content and represent your brand is controlled by your "personality". What you present should accurately communicate who you are. Often times, people tend to base this off of what they want to present. This isn't always true, though. It's also influenced by what your visitors want to engage with, or what they are accustomed to seeing. For example, you might not trust a bank with cutting edge design, because you perceive their basic design principles as a strong foundation and long lasting. It gives the vibe of security, which is what a business that is holding your money would want to portray. That doesn't mean your customers will choose your logo and color scheme, however. You want to balance your personality between what you want to voice and what your customers want to see. Try looking at your brand from various angles to put yourself in the shoes of your visitors. This will help you understand their wants and enable you to balance your branding with that.
  • Competition: With so many businesses and ease of accessibility these days, it's easy to blend in. This is why you'll want to identify and differentiate from your competition. Document this research and take note of various components such as visual elements, trends, industry-specific themes, and their personalities. You might be surprised by your findings, such as Youtube and Netflix having the same color scheme, or startup online banks using green as their dominant color. This may help you identify a strong point in which to differentiate.

Phase 4: Building Your Identity

This is the step in which you transform your documentation and emotional language that was gained from your research into visual concepts. You should have a rough mental map of your brand's personality, goals, and values. Now you need to find how you will communicate and enhance those components.

For your logo, you want this to be able to convey a message without color. A good logo should be able to deliver your core values on its own, further enhanced by your color choice.

You also don't want to have a wide array of colors. Consistency is key here and your palette should be straightforward, generally with one or two primary colors, one to two secondary colors, and three to five complementary colors. These include accents and slight differentiation to not overwhelm the visual aspect of your identity.

Typography is a relatively simple concept, although there are some important things to note. Limit your number of font families from two to three. This helps with consistency and allows you to have a main font for specific purposes.

Imagery is also a factor of note, as colors, filters, and sizing can help your design look clean and professional. For more notes on how to use photos and videos, check out a recent blog post.

Phase 5: Style Guide

After all of this is done, you'll want to compile all of your components into a style guide, which can help you refer to it later for other applications. It should include clear guidelines for every aspect of your identity, as well as note information on why those choices were made to help designers replicate that identity on various platforms (hence a scalable identity as talked about earlier.) Often this is a document that outlines everything you've just created and the information you have compiled.

That's about it when it comes to building your brand identity. Although you can dive much deeper into each aspect and get a firm grasp on everything, that's a basic review on all you need to know on how to create a strong brand identity. Feel free to reach out to us at jakob@digifox.us for more help or additional information on the topic.

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