“Who are you?”
A fairly easy-to-answer question when met by a stranger on the street or a new acquaintance at a party.
Quite a different matter when asked about your business by a customer or supplier.
What’s your brand identity?
Here at Red Kite Design, brand identity is one of the most important things we do, and this guide will help you understand it. Here’s what you’ll learn:
Your Visual Brand Identity
Your Brand’s Personality
A Strong Brand Identity Starts with Red Kite
Let’s get going.
Ever notice how some people have a “signature” style? From Elton 'Rocket Man' John's iconic glasses and suits, to Keith Urban’s mop of hair, to Margot Robbie’s apparent lack of a personal style? Celebrities tend to find one thing that makes them stand out.
Their chosen visual style soon becomes synonymous with themselves. And the same becomes true of your brand’s visual identity, too.
Your brand’s visual identity is its walk, its wardrobe, its hair, and its makeup. Its style, and charisma, and what catches the customers’ eyes.
Imagine a walk down the street.
You see a woman strutting her stuff in a red dress. Gold heels click on the pavement, and a stark white leather jacket keeps off the chill.
There’s also a grey-haired gent on the next block in a tailored suit with Italian leather shoes and a fancy watch.
And then, you run into a group of teens with purple, pink, and blue hair, nose rings, and ripped denim.
What impressions go through your mind? Does the lady ooze glamour? The gent, power? The teens, rebellion?
A strong visual brand identity should elicit the same instinctive response, the same type of strong first impression. It should include:
Let’s break these down a bit.
There’s a branch of science called colour psychology. It purports that specific colours create certain perceptions in our minds as soon as we see them. The following chart explains a bit about what colours can mean to customers.
You can see why restaurants often use red as part of their brand image, design, and logo. Or why gold and silver represent so many high-ticket brands, like Lexus and Versace (can you imagine a Lamborghini or Gucci logo in green? I can’t).
When setting about to create a brand identity, start with your colours and what you want them to say about your product or service.
Just like Cate’s suits, your brand’s design style forms part of its identity.
Remember, your brand design style is like the clothing it wears every day. You have to make sure that you dress your business appropriately.
From your business cards to your logo, your website to your social media images, your brand’s particular design style will say a lot about you, your products, and your buyers, too.
Match the style to the impression you want to project. Match it to your brand’s personality (something we’ll get to in a bit). And make it consistent.
When you think of a famous logo, what comes to mind? Nike’s swoop? Nando’s chicken? Qantas’s roo?
Every widely recognised logo comes to symbolise its brand or the brand’s products or services and experiences associated with the brand itself.
You see a swoop, and you think fitness, athleticism, and “Just do it.”
You notice that red chicken and your thoughts turn to a quick, tasty lunch.
And the roo? That depends on whether you remember your trip to Fiji for the gorgeous beaches, or for how long it took for your bags to catch up with you.
A logo sends a strong message about the experiences your customers can and will have with your brand, making it an integral part of your visual branding.
The fonts and typefaces you choose for your brand are another part of building your visual identity.
Which fonts you choose should depend on several factors such as:
In regards to emotions, some fonts scream “fun” or “serious”. Others, like the one above, evoke a sense of nostalgia. Still, others are modern and clean — almost minimalistic.
Your business’s nature and what message you want to send should help guide which letterings you choose. Are you a plain Jane sans serif, or an elegant italic?
Don’t be afraid to choose more than one font, either. A mixture of typefaces can create a stylish wardrobe to dress your brand in.
When it comes time to choose images for your brand, consistency is just as important to brand identity as visual appeal.
Look at some of our images here on the Red Kite blog, for example.
You’ll notice we like to use colourful images, and “action shots” showing our design teams and their work members. We get your attention, but we never stray from our brand identity in the process.
We’re all about action for our customers, and we know design, brand identity, and all that “stuff” that we do very well.
We’re proud to show it off, even though it may just be an image in a blog post like this one.
You can do the same for your small business, too. Just make sure you choose images that stay true to who you are, to what you do, and to the identity you’ve created for yourself.
Ever meet a good looking person at a party and find yourself attracted to them? And then you meet them, hear them talk, and realise that all they are is an empty shell without much to add to their looks?
That’s not what you want for your brand.
Customers don’t just associate with a brand’s visuals, products, or services. They associate with its personality, too.
From the way you present your business on social media to the choices you make in your visual branding, you are creating a person as real as if you were creating a character in a novel.
This analogy isn’t far off — you have a story to tell about your company. And to do that, you need a voice. You need a character. You need to become a trusted friend to your customers.
You sit down with your mates and chat over drinks. You have lovely dinners with your family. You can talk for hours with that “special someone” in your life.
You avoid the annoying bloke down the hall in your office like he’s the plague. You try to make yourself scarce when your in-laws come around. And you wouldn’t be caught dead near that obnoxious neighbour next door.
In short, you associate with the people you like, and you don’t associate with those who provoke negative emotions in you.
Your brand is the same way. Your brand identity is based as much on your brand’s personality as your social life is based on yours.
Your brand is an extension of you.
If you are creative and a bit of fun, so too will your brand identity include those elements. If you’re more the buttoned-down type, we’d expect a certain seriousness and soberness in your choice of brand identity design.
Your customers need to have this persona, this personality, attached to your brand. All business, as they say, is human to human, regardless of its nature. Your buyers and prospects need your brand to have its human qualities, its human nature.
You create that for them through your brand’s personality and by incorporating that into your brand identity.
As we said, here at Red Kite, we’re all about brand identity. One of the most important things we do is help you create a brand style guide.
We take all that “stuff” that makes you you and compile it into one unique document. It helps us create just what you want and need when it comes to design and branding.
Contact us today to get started on creating a perfect brand identity for you and your business. There’s a world out there waiting to meet you.
Chris brings over a decade of industry experience to Red Kite working at design agencies in both the UK and Australia. Over the years he has accumulated a wealth of graphic design, strategic identity design and marketing experience. Chris is a hugely passionate identity designer endeavouring to offer the highest quality branding and logo design Brisbane and Australia wide. Chat to Chris about your branding.