Have you ever wondered how to use visual branding in your business?
If not, you should be.
To be honest though, you might not even know what visual branding is, or why you need it.
Those are the questions we’ll answer today.
To begin with, let’s focus on why visual branding is important.
Images have power, especially in the fast-paced world most people operate in daily.
When in a foreign town, you might decide between two unfamiliar restaurants based at least partially on the appearance of the building or the signs in the windows.
We walk down the street and size one another up every day, going on nothing more than what we see in passing.
If you pay attention, you’ll realize how often you form perceptions and act on snap decisions based on visuals.
When a company builds a visual brand, the goal is to lead consumers toward favorable impressions of their brand.
Consumers in the market for your products and services will hopefully choose to learn more about your company rather than a competitor based on the visual elements of your branding strategy.
Strong visual branding can also drive repeat sales as images related to your brand stick in the minds of satisfied customers.
It’s all about cutting through the noise of our overcrowded marketplace and quickly delivering information to consumers by using images and other visual elements.
What is Visual Branding?
What is a visual brand, and why should you spend time and money creating one for your own products and services?
A visual brand is a collection of images and other elements that consumers can see online, in stores, or as they move through daily life.
Those elements may include but are not limited to:
- Color schemes
- Icons or symbols
- Typography (fonts)
If you can see it with your eyes and relate it back to a specific company, it’s likely an element of visual branding.
Logos are often the foundation of visual branding designs.
Most companies now place logos on everything from letterhead and business cards to office buildings, social media pages, and promotional gifts.
Consumers themselves grow to associate the logo image with the company name.
Why Is Visual Branding Important?
We’ve covered what visual branding is, but why do you need a visual brand?
It all comes down to what naturally and easily sticks in the human brain.
Images, colors, patterns, and shapes are easily picked up and processed quickly. You don’t have to read words or focus on an image for a long period of time to understand what it is.
You can also give off a sense of attitude or personality through visuals.
A restaurant with hot pink plastic dining room furniture would deliver a different a powerful first impression. More so than one with solid oak furniture with a glossy shine.
You may decide which restaurant fits your budget or is most likely to serve the food you want to eat just by glancing through a window and glancing around the dining room.
Think of visual branding as communicating with your target market entirely through images.
If you strip away all text, how can you tell the world what to expect from your company?
Do you want to create an image of prestige and luxury? Or are you more casual, chic, or quirky?
The visual branding elements you employ should coordinate with the image you want to portray for your products and services.
How to Create Brand Identity
Before you start playing with color palettes and fonts, spend some time creating a solid visual brand strategy based on the needs and interests of your target market.
You don’t want to attract anyone and everyone to your brand.
Instead, you want to attract people who have a legitimate need and/or desire for what you have to offer.
You could create a general visual brand with neutral colors that may appeal to people in any demographic. You’re not likely to stand out to the people most likely to buy your products and services.
It’s better to pick all visual elements with your target demographics in mind.
Maybe you won’t appeal to everyone, but that’s not what you’re shooting for anyway.
You want the right people to remember you.
Once you identify your target market, look at other products targeted to those demographics.
What color schemes seem most successful?
What are the typography trends?
Looking at what is working for other brands should help you find ways to stand out from the pack while remaining competitive.
You don’t want to copycat, but rather elevate your brand.
Once you have an idea of what may catch the eye of your ideal buyer, you can start experimenting with design elements.
That may require working with a branding professional to ensure your logo design, colors, and other visual brand elements are well-chosen and properly implemented.
From there, it’s all about consistency.
When learning how to create a visual brand, you may come up with multiple logo designs and color options that you like.
Do some A/B testing or ask members of your ideal market to tell you which ones resonate most with them.
Then pick just one!
From your social media pages and websites to printed material and the sign out in front of your local shop, you want your visual branding to remain consistent.
The goal is to get those visuals in front of as many people as possible and then repeat them.
The more they see the same design, the more they should associate it with your brand and remember you.
3 Visual Brand Examples that Work
Are you ready to see a visual brand at work?
You probably encounter examples on a daily basis, even if you don’t realize it at the time.
The following three companies are just some of the more successful visual branding pros.
1. 4DMind – This digital studio has a unique logo design that stands out plus a consistent color scheme that is used throughout their marketing materials online and offline. They use shapes just as well as color to create a standout visual brand.
2. Don Q – You can use a different color on each of your products and still create a consistent visual brand that represents your values well. Don Q does a beautiful job of that by allowing each of their rums to have a unique bottle color but keeping the typography and general label layout the same.
3. Falk Real Estate – You don’t need flashing colors to stand out in most markets, and Falk proves the point with their solid black visual branding elements. They create an image of strength, prestige, and respect by using just two colors and an elegant logo that is hard to replicate or beat.
Where to Get Started with Your Visual Brand
You have to know two things in order to create a winning visual brand strategy:
- Who you’re speaking to
- What you want to say
- Start with identifying your market. What needs will your product or service fulfill for those demographics?
- Next, determine what qualities you want to reflect in your branding. Are you a trustworthy, casual company or are you more prestigious?
- Then create a short list of brand qualities that you want to convey with your visual branding.
- With brand qualities in mind, create your logo. Pick a color scheme shapes to help you elevate the logo design.
- Rinse and repeat. Use the same elements of the design in other visual branding materials.
When it comes to creating a visual brand, these five steps provide you with the groundwork to move forward.
Work through these steps and remember, consistency is the key.
Use the same brand colors, shapes, and elements over and over until they are etched in the hearts and minds of your customers.
Your business will thrive as a result!
© Shawn Casemore 2020. All Rights Reserved.