Starting up a business is never easy.
There are so many things you need to take care of, so it is easy to neglect the visual identity of your company.
Still, visual identity bears a significant amount of importance for the success of your company, especially in the beginning when you are trying to get noticed.
Why is visual identity so important?
Let’s be clear about the benefits of a carefully developed visual identity:
1 — Recognition
A proper visual identity helps you strengthen your position and become recognisable and different from the rest of similar businesses.
2 — Relationship
A high-quality brand identity creates a healthy relationship with your clients, as they start to feel you are reliable and trustworthy.
3 — Longevity
taking care of your visual identity enables you to react quickly and appropriately to any changes, which ensures your company a long and stable existence.
4 — Savings
If you create a distinctive visual identity, you will not waste any money in the long run because there won’t be a need for updating the logo or reinvent the graphics — your visual identity will be recognisable and reliable until then.
What is the visual identity of a company?
You may be wondering what the elements of the visual identity of a company are.
It is not just the logo design if that is what you were thinking.
It also includes the colour palette that dominates the website, your business card design and adverts, as well as the typography and iconography.
Pictures that you choose to use are also a comprising element.
Moreover, in the end, let’s not forget the design system that you decide to use.
Key features of an excellent visual identity
Whatever your overall style will be, here are the features that should be covered under any circumstances:
1 — Catchy
You need to make sure it stands out from the competitors.
2 — Easy to memorise
It has to leave an impression when seen for the first time, and it has to be remembered.
For instance, the Apple logo is so recognisable that the company does not even use the name on its products.
3 — Subject to change
You should be able to make changes along the way if the circumstances demand it without making it unrecognisable to your old clients and losing the main idea from sight.
4 — Cohesive
each of the elements tells the same story about your business.
5 — Simple application
Designers should be able to transfer it from idea to an actual product quickly, and it should be apparent to the target audience.
So, a well-designed visual identity is a great help for the business, and this is why it is better to work on it correctly from the very beginning.
Be sure to go through all of the following steps:
1 — The right brand name
Even though the company name itself is not what you would typically call a part of the visual identity, it still falls under the same umbrella.
It is not just about the name sounding strong and memorable and the way it is pronounced — it is also how it looks like on paper, on the webpage or in an advert.
The poor visual impression of the name may ruin the credibility.
2 — Work on your credibility
Established companies do not have the same problems as the ones that are just starting up.
New companies need to find a way of establishing their credibility and make the potential clients believe they are the right choice for the job.
Quite often, new companies create a cheap logo design and a message that doesn’t explicitly state what the company stands for.
So, your logo should be unique, but also clear and straightforward, and your message should convey what your company is.
3 — Bear in mind the audience
Of course, the primary purpose of the visual identity is to represent what you do and what you are like as a company.
However, it should also include the customers you are trying to sell the product or offer your services to.
You need to discover what kind of company your potential clients would be interested in engaging with.
Audience personas could be incredibly helpful here, showing you what your customers’ needs and values are.
Audience personas are not difficult to create if you decide to use them.
Your primary audience, namely the customers, is not the only audience that matter.
Secondary or tertiary audiences include potential employees or other brands that you could cooperate with in the future, so take their needs and interest into consideration while creating the visual identity.
4 — Be original
Your business is probably not the only one in the area offering specific products or services — there are numerous companies out there, selling the same thing.
How to stand out and beat the competition?
Your visual identity should be carefully planned and in detail.
Firstly, it has to be cohesive regarding every element — colours, font, logo, business cards.
Secondly, it has to offer something unique and memorable, whether it is the message it sends or the overall design.
This is how people notice you and start feeling that you are the real deal.
5 — Be consistent in style
Whatever the style you chose to use in creating the identity (romantic, futuristic or retro), follow the form throughout all the elements included in the visual identity.
Consistency in style makes you recognisable, whatever the element is or where it appears.
The exception can only be particular advertising campaigns, but the overall uniformity is a must.
6 — Attractive logo
The logo design is the primary visual representation of your company.
It can convey a lot of your products and services, your goals and attitudes.
A poorly designed logo will not make any impact on the potential clients — it will give away the impression that your service is sloppy, unreliable or just not good enough.
This is the critical element of the visual identity, so make sure you hire the right people for this job, and soon your logo will speak for itself and turn you into a recognisable company.
7 — Don’t neglect the colours
Colour plays an integral part in making your brand recognisable.
Colours influence your target audience emotions and send a message about the central attitude and style of the company.
You can check how different colours change feelings and base your decision on this.
What’s more, colour makes competing firms differ from each other.
That is why you should consider carrying out serious research before you decide on the colour.
8 — Pay attention to typography
Every lettering or font being used on your website or the business card affects the style of the overall identity.
Their role is to emphasise the brand message you are trying to send to your target audience — it is not only about what is being said, but it is also about how it has been visually represented to the reader.
Of course, the choice of the right font should be influenced by the overall style you want to go with.
You could not use the playful font if you were trying to represent yourself as a serious company with firm rules, for example.
9 — Find the right tools
Making a great and useful visual identity means using the right tools.
If you have decided to create the company’s visual identity on your own, you should know which tools are the best for it.
The first thing to do is set up the website.
You can use Squarespace or WordPress for that, which are pretty simple to work with.
Fonts are a big part of the visual design, so find a perfect one on Google or Adobe fonts, which are also free of charge.
Unsplash is a service that can provide you with excellent stock photos for your website or marketing materials.
If you feel you are not up for the challenge of taking over the whole work, consider hiring a web design agency that will take a considerable amount of burden off your shoulders.
10 — Check out the competition
When comparing yourself to the competition, the point is to conclude what you have in common (regarding products and services offered) and where you differentiate between them.
It is understandable that many similar businesses choose same colours or font to remain in the same domain.
However, this is your opportunity to make yourself stand out.
Analyze every brand that is your direct competitor, and then analyse the whole industry.
You will soon notice some patterns and differences, and you will be able to make an informed decision on where you want to blend in and where you want to go in a different and unexpected direction.
All in all
It is essential to give your best while creating your visual identity and to be thorough in each of the steps.
Visual identity is a representation of your company, so make sure you are satisfied with the outcome.
It is the only way your business will stand a chance of surviving and thriving among numerous similar companies out there.
Author Bio: Lena Hemsworth spent a better part of her life working as a business consultant in Sydney. Now she is a freelance blogger and copywriter. When she is not working she enjoys kite surfing and spending time with her dogs.