Crafting a brand identity design from scratch is an intimidating process. After all, the identity of your brand is what people are going to associate it with for a long time to come. The identity of your brand goes far deeper than its logo or color scheme; it branches out into the target audience, personality, and history of the brand. There are a lot of important questions you’ll need to ask yourself before creating a brand identity design. What is the story behind the brand? Who is their desired audience? Is the brand serious, or is it more playful?
If a brand is trying to target children, they’ll use bright, eye-catching colors and inviting shapes. This is seen especially when brands are attempting to attract particular genders of children. Just take a look at Hot Wheels branding; they use the colors red, blue, and yellow. While these are the primary colors, they are also colors that, when paired together, tend to be geared more towards boys. Their logo also includes a flame, which signifies aggression, which also says something about the personality of young boys. On the other hand, take a look at the packaging of Barbies. The Barbie logo, packaging and design are all pink! The font is a playful cursive, reminiscent of the playful, happy personalities of young girls.
The target audiences of both Hot Wheels and Barbie are extremely noticeable at first glance. But what about companies that choose a more minimalistic approach? In some cases, the minimalism directly corresponds with the brand. In other cases, the minimalism allows for open interpretation and the chance to appeal to many different audiences. Take a second to think about the Museum of Modern Art. The sleek, minimalistic design represents the minimalistic aspect of most modern art these days. Although simple, its design helps audiences understand what the museum is about. Let’s also consider American Apparel. Their bold, minimalistic type extends all the way down to the clothes they make. The typography on their t-shirts is the same font that is used in their logo, and the minimalistic approach is reflected in their wide variety of “basic” clothing such as comfortable tees, sweatshirts and jeans.
The Overall Personality
An image or a specific grouping of colors can make you feel happy, sad, overwhelmed or excited. If you take a look at a sign in flashing neon pinks and greens and blues, you may feel overwhelmed. But if you take a look at a logo that is in a simple typeface with a combination of pastel blues and purples, you will feel relaxed. The combination of font, images, color and placement of all of these things can affect the way that people view the brand. That’s a lot of pressure to get it right!
Let’s say you’re trying to create a brand identity for a new club in town. You want to portray the fact that this is a hip, fun place for people to hang out. Are you going to market yourself with a small, hard to read font in pastel yellow? Probably not. You’re going to want to think big and bold, just like the club. Bright, eye catching colors and a large imposing font. While you don’t have to get too crazy, as this could work against you, you want to create an identity that is going to catch people’s attention in the right way. It’s all about balance.
If you’re creating the brand identity design for a brand of homemade soaps, this is where you should get a little more playful. Since the soaps are homemade, choosing a font that looks like handwriting (or using your own handwriting) would be a creative way of showing the homemade aspect of each soap. Adding in sketches of various ingredients that are used in the soaps could add a personal touch to a product that could otherwise be mass-produced.
Steps to Success
If you’re trying to create a brand identity design, where do you begin? The first thing to remember is that brand identity is not just the logo of the brand – although this is an important part of it. The brand identity is the logo, the packaging, all of the visual elements; everything that consumers see in relation to the brand is its identity. Once a logo has been designed, the brand identity is developed around that logo (this can happen the other way around, but they both play off of each other equally).
- Consider your font. Is your brand serious and professional, or is it more playful? When choosing the font for you logo, consider what fonts can be used in combination. You may choose a highly stylized font for you logo design, but will need a simpler font for packaging and marketing materials.
- Consider the colors involved. Are you going to keep it minimalistic, or are you going to use bold, bright colors to attract attention? What do the colors used say about the brand’s personality? Do these colors accurately represent the personality of the brand and its products? Consider additional color palettes as well. If your colors are orange and yellow, consider using variations of orange in yellow for different parts of your identity. You may choose to have a bright orange font over a pastel yellow background on one package, and then choose to use a sunshine yellow font over a burnt orange background on another package. Consider both bolder and more subtle versions of your main colors for different uses.
- Consider the visual images. While you don’t need to use the same image over and over again, you’ll want to make sure there is a consistent style between images. You may choose to only use images that are extremely geometric in nature, or are hand-drawn, or are extremely high-key. Whatever your choice, make sure it remains consistent.
- Consider the versatility of your design. Brands need to change and adapt to what consumers want and are attracted to. Does your design allow for simple, seamless transitions? While you don’t want to completely redesign your brand (you’ll likely keep the same colors throughout the years), you’ll want to be able to alter your logo and design to fit on various platforms.
- Consider the uniqueness of your design. Are other brands that offer similar products using similar typeface, colors, or images? If so, you may want to rethink your design. Even if you believe the design is successful, you won’t stand out from the crowd if it’s too similar to someone else’s brand identity. You want people to see your colors, your font, your images, and automatically know that it’s your brand. When you see the Apple logo, you know it’s Macintosh. This is what you want to strive for.
When a brand identity design is extremely successful, consumers will be able to recognize the brand by its colors and font even without seeing the name. Without seeing the word Nike, you automatically know what it is by its distinct swoosh. If you see distinct red, cursive letters, you can tell that it’s the font used by Coca Cola even if the name isn’t spelled out. Every successful brand has created a simple, unique design that is all their own. Ikea, Dominos, Youtube; when I mention these brands, what comes to mind? Specific colors, images and typefaces, most likely.
Crafting a brand identity is not an easy process, but it can be an extremely rewarding one if done right. If you need some inspiration, Udemy has an all-encompassing course that will help you successfully develop your own brand identity.