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4 Steps to Establish a Strong Visual Identity

4 Steps to Establish a Strong Visual Identity

Your visual identity is one of the first things people notice when they become aware of your brand. A strong visual identity is key for any successful business, because as we all know, you can’t ever take away a first impression. Your visual identity includes everything related to your brand that people can see, including your logo, typography, images, and graphics.

So how do you build one that rings true to your core values and simultaneously resonates with your target? Here is glimpse into our approach:

Step 1: Develop a Solid Narrative

It’s so important for any business to know what they offer, how that offering is unique, and why they offer it. Clearly articulating this in writing provides a reference point for all future decision making, goal setting, product development, and marketing communications. Aligning with this foundation ensures everything you do stays true to your brand.

To develop a solid narrative, first we establish a clear mission statement (what does your company do), vision statement (where you aspire to be), and value statements (what are the principles on which your company was founded). Then, we do a deep dive into your target customer to understand who will likely be buying your product. Finally, we explore the tone of voice so we understand how to talk with your customers in a way that’s aligned with their beliefs and values.

Step 2: Look Outward

We firmly believe that regular competitive audits help your business maintain a competitive edge in the market. For the purposes of establishing your visual identity, conducting a deep dive into each of your competitors will help illustrate what your product is up against. You can study their photography, color palette, logo, messaging, and tone of voice to understand how they position themselves. We also look at other aspirational brands that we admire (in any industry) to see what interesting visual elements they are using. Finally, we look at overall design trends to understand what is popular in relevant digital spaces today.

Step 3: Create a Mood Board

As a next step, we create a moodboard by laying out all visual elements that will make up your visual identity. This includes typography, color palette, images, photography, and iconography. Oftentimes, we’ll explore a couple different approaches before settling on the one that best suits the brand. Once finished, these elements will become your visual style guide.

Step 4: Design Visual Output

Finally, to ensure your moodboard translates beautifully into a physical asset, we apply the elements by designing the first creative deliverable. Oftentimes we design a website or webpage first, as that provides the largest canvas to tell your story, both visually and through copy. We often iterate on elements from the moodboard if we find that they simply don’t work well together or if another approach works better. Our goal is to create a visual identity that works well across any campaign element to create a memorable, cohesive experience.

Estee Maya Shechter|Author

Originally from Miami, Florida, Estee has 15 years experience in brand management, advertising, and marketing. Estee loves to write, edit, strategize, and art direct, and also bakes and paints in her spare time.