How to design a BRAND IDENTITY for your business

By EB

A strong brand identity design can set you apart from all those crappy competitors, and help you to sell more. Here is how you can build a strong brand identity for your business.

How to design a brand identity? We are going to discuss the whole process of designing a brand identity for your business under eight topics.

  1. What is a brand identity?
  2. A strong brand identity design can help you to sell more
  3. How to design a brand identity?
  4. Planning your brand identity design
  5. Pick a voice for your brand
  6. How to choose a brand name
  7. Design elements of a brand identity – the colors and fonts
  8. Designing the logo for your brand identity

What is a brand identity?

Brand identity is what makes you recognizable to your customers. It is a set of elements that portray the image of your business to your customers. Same as we like to become friends with other people, who have good personalities, people are likely to become customers of your business thanks to your brand identity. So, having a sloppy brand identity will NOT help you to find a lot of customers.

A strong brand identity design creates a successful “first impression” for your business – And, this can help you to sell more

When we visit a website, if it looks ugly, no matter how good their content is, we just close it. This is the truth. And most of the time, we use the logo of business to judge whether the business is legit or not. Because cheap looking websites or crappy logos indicate that the owners are not serious about their business.

So, we have to admit that the brand identity design plays a major role in creating a strong first impression and managing your reputation in the business.

You don’t have to pay millions of dollars to design a strong brand identity for your business.

Recently, I became active in online entrepreneur communities, and a lot of people have started asking me to review their online stores. (Dude, maybe I should start a business service for that!). Usually, the most common issues that I can see in those “beginner” sites are related to the site design and styling.

So, when I give my honest feedback like “your logo looks cheap” or “the site doesn’t look legit,” they reply that they can’t afford to have a $700 logo from 99design.

But, to be honest, you don’t need a $700 logo to have a strong brand identity. There are some simple ways to design a strong brand identity for your business without spending much.

How to design a brand identity?

Designing a brand identity for your business is a process. And, here is how you can do that.

  1. Define your audience and competitors
  2. Understand your customer’s language
  3. Define your value proposition
  4. Define three unique brand adjectives
  5. Choose a brand name and slogan
  6. Pick your business’s color pallet
  7. Define a font family
  8. Get your logo and website design done
  9. (Optional) create a brand style guide

Now, let us discuss how to go through each of these steps and to create a unique and amazing brand identity for your business.

Plan your brand identity design

The first step of designing a brand identity is by defining your place in this market. To do this, first, you need to know your target audience. Then, you need to know your competitors. This knowledge about your target audience and your competitors is essential to understand two elements of your brand identity design.

  1. You can understand the customer’s language
  2. You will know what type of designs are “working” on your customers

Understanding your customer’s language is essential to create a proper brand identity for your business. Sometimes, what you like will not be the best fit for your brand identity design. You have to provide what your customers like to see (not your personal favorites).

Don’t make it way too different

The other thing is when you create a brand identity; don’t try to make it completely different from your competitors.

I will give you one simple example. Think about your mobile phone. Whether it is Android or iPhone, whenever they invent a new OS, they keep the basic icons and the menu structures all the same. This makes it easy for people to use and adapt to the newer versions.

Now, what if I invent an OS with a completely different set of icons and menu structures? People will find it hard to use. And, the current way of the things was developed with years of research and development. So, there is no point of re-inventing the wheel too.

My advice is, try to align your brand identity with your competitor’s brand identity. For example, when you create a website, don’t go overboard and create layouts from the “future.”

I am not discouraging the “inventions.” But, when you enter into an established market, “blending in” is much safer.

Pick a voice for your business

Picking a voice for your brand identity makes it come alive. First, you have to start by creating your business’s value proposition statement. Your businesses unique selling proposition is what sets you apart from your competitors. This explains the reason for your customers to buy from you.

You can use this format to create a value proposition statement for your brand identity

We offer {your product or service} for {the target market} to {your value proposition}.

E.g., “We have the best milk chocolate for everyone that melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

Well, a part of that example is from the M&Ms unique selling proposition.

Now pick three words from this list to describe your brand identity

This is a small trick that eases the process of designing a brand identity. By selecting three words from this list, we are giving our business a personality. This personality is essential for creating a strong brand identity.

Here is a list of brand adjectives:

How to choose a brand name

Selecting a brand name can be an overwhelming task for anyone. Your brand name has an impact on your logo, domain, trademark registration and many more.

Keep space to expand – When you pick a brand name, you need to plan your business a little bit ahead. Some of the businesses pivot from their main product (or service) after some time down the road. So, if you pick a brand name based on the product you sell, it will be hard for you to expand or diverse your business.

Make it unique – Also, you should never pick a brand name that has already been chosen. You can use the WIPO trademark database to research for the registered brand names. Next, you need to search for the available domain names too. Usually, we pick the domain name (URL) for our website based on our brand name. So, before go ahead and select a brand name, it is better to check if the domain name is available for that name.

It should look nice on your logo – And, remember that your brand name should look perfect on your logo too. You might also need a little bit of knowledge about how logo designing works to understand this whole thing. Below we have a good section explaining how to get a logo for your brand identity. It is better to read that section and come back.

Design elements of a brand identity – the colors, fonts, and shapes

Now we have come to the most crucial part of this whole article about designing a brand identity. Colors and fonts play a major role in creating the right perception of your business in front of your customer’s eyes. The colors, fonts, and shapes can kill a business right from the beginning. So, we need to do this right. First, let us start with understanding how to pick a font for your brand identity.

Typography (or font style) in brand identity

There are many different types of fonts available. But, we can categorize them into four main types.

Serif – You will find Serif fonts everywhere. Serifs are in nearly every book or document we read. Our eyes are used to see them; hence the Serif fonts are considered as the most trusted fonts on our planet. Serifs work from short titles to long pages of text.

Sans Serif – Sans Serifs can give a modern, clean, economical and less-bossy feeling to your brand identity design. It has a lesser amount of details, and it works well on digital screens. You can use Sans-Serif from short titles to long paragraphs.

sans serif for brand identity
This packaging design by itsadogslife shows a modern and economical use of Sans Serif font

Scripts – There are two types of script fonts: formal and casual. The formal scripts are inspired by the 17th-century calligraphers. Formal scripts can bring in a luxury touch to your brand identity design. The casual script fonts are work of the painters. It can introduce some playfulness and legibility to your brand identity. Anyway, scripts are great for the logos, but not so much for long paragraphs.

script font for brand identity
This label design by Woodenhorse shows a fantastic use of scripts in brand identity

Additional resources: Google Fonts is a great tool to find and download tons of amazing fonts for free.

Be careful when you mix different fonts

Of course, you can mix different font families and types. But, you have to be a bit cautious when you combine different fonts.

using different fonts for brand identity design
This label design from Agi Amri showcases a successful combination of different fonts.

Remember, the contrast is the key to select different fonts for combinations. You can use two ends to balance out the qualities. For example, all cap Sans serif and italic serif can be a great combo.

Selecting a color pallet for brand identity design

Do you know that colors can induce different feelings?

colors in brand identity design
Image source: Psychology of Logo Color

Here is a summary of how colors work in brand identity design.

Green – Use if your business is related to money or nature.

Blue – Brings the trust and stability to your brand identity design.

Red- Great for a loud, exciting and youthful brand

Orange – The best choice for a friendly, approachable and playful brand identity.

Yellow – Yellow gives happiness and an affordable feeling.

Black – Sophisticated, bold and modern businesses must use black.

Pink – Pink is great for soft and luxurious brands.

Get your logo and website design done

Oh, hello… I am kind of an expert in this area. Some time ago I did freelancing logo designing.

So, here is my advice about getting a logo for your brand identity design.

Getting a logo for your brand

Your logo is going to be everywhere. It will be on your website, printed material, invoices, and emails. So, you need to get this thing done right. If you have a sloppy and a cheap looking logo, people will presume that your business is not legit.

I am not suggesting that you should spend $1000 for a logo. You can find an excellent freelancing logo designer and get your logo under $10 from Fiverr (*conditions apply).

But, there is a clear difference between a $10 logo and a $400 logo.

To be honest, when I was designing logos, it took me around two-three days to create one logo. And, my price range was $400 to $700. And, I know some freelancing designers, who make logos for $10. Usually, they work for less than one hour to create a $10 logo.

So, if you are going to get a $10 logo, it is better to select a design that can be done under one hour. Avoid too much of advanced styling, and go for a minimal/flat design.

When working with your designer:

  1. For god’s sake, clearly communicate what you want. Send them some sample logos that you like.
  2. Make sure that your logo matches your brand identity design.
  3. Go for a timeless design – Don’t let your logo to get expired after a few years.
  4. Never ever go for generic designs.

Additional reading: How to design a logo

A strong brand identity for a strong business

Yes, your brand identity is the face of your business. So, it is better to avoid any poor brand identity design, unless you want to drive your customers away.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to create a strong brand identity for your business. Simple things like changing the font style and colors can do wonders. All you need is an excellent guide to select the right directions for your brand identity design.

I hope this article gives a good starting point to design a brand identity for your business. If yes, please extend the courtesy by sharing this article.

Cheers.


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Featured photo by Kristian Egelund on Unsplash