« Back to Blog January 15, 2016 | Branding

Why You Need a Visual Identity

What do you think of when you think about what Apple looks like? or what Coca Cola looks like? or Starbucks?

Odds are that no matter who you ask those questions to, you’ll get similar answers for each one. Why is that?

We all have such clear and similar mental pictures of these brands because they all have clearly established visual identities.

What is a visual identity?

A visual identity is a collection of different visual elements that support a brand. Where a full brand identity includes things like a brand’s history, mission statement, and goals, a visual identity is a system of different visual elements that support the greater brand identity.

A visual identity gives clarity to a brand so that it’s customers can more clearly understand their message and identify them quickly and easily. Consistency is king when building a brand.

An identity guide can be as simple as a word document or as detailed as a book. What’s most important is that you compile your visual identity in some manner so it can be referenced and understood by others.

Knowing that your visuals support your brand goals should eliminate any desire to deviate from them. Your business is established to perform a certain service for your customers, and your visual identity is established to provide consistency and focus to your business.

Why do I need a visual identity?

Without a visual identity, a brand can’t hope to build anything of value in the minds of their customers. The product might be amazing, but if your customer doesn’t remember you, they won’t come back to buy your product again. Your identity is what makes you stick out in your customer’s mind, good, bad, or otherwise.

Imagine if you turned on ESPN and their logo was green instead of their classic red? Or on a personal level, imagine seeing your friend who always dresses impeccably in sweatpants and an old baseball cap. It would be very confusing and unexpected.

People begin to expect a certain thing from you when you deliver it consistently. Consistency is king when building a brand.

How can a visual identity help my business?

Establishing a visual identity isn’t just for big brands like Apple or Coca Cola. A solo business owner can benefit from setting up a visual identity in all the same ways.

Is our logo being used in the proper way to maximize its legibility? Are we using the right color blue? Are we using the same typefaces people have come to expect when they see our ads? Do both of our locations have the same interior style?

By following the guidelines set in your visual identity, you build that all-important resource known as consistency. And as I’m sure you know by now, consistency is king when building a brand.

By establishing a visual identity and following it, you are showing that you care about your business’s appearance, its quality, and that you care about your customers. That translates into one thing, greater success.

« Sketchbooks Are Not Precious | Designing an Adaptable Identity »

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