When one thinks of a brand identity, most people tend to think of the logo design. While a logo is one of the most important elements of a brand identity, there are others that are as important and perhaps sometimes even more so. In this article we talk about the various elements of a brand identity and how they all come together to constitute a Brand Identity System.
What is a Brand Identity System ?
A Brand Identity System is a collection of elements which work together to create a unified, consistent and flexible brand assets that effectively communicate a Brands’ value to its target audience, in an efficient manner.
Asset #1: Primary Brand Mark
A brandmark is a graphic element used commonly by a company. The first and the most visible symbol of brand power is the primary brand mark or logo design. Designing a logo is one of those tasks that’s seemingly simple at first glance. It ideally needs to be representative of conceptual and abstract visual elements rather and not necessarily attempting to demonstrate what your brand does or stands for.
The primary brand mark should be flexible enough to work well across various different media and at all sizes as well as easy to reproduce and remember. Some basic elements to consider when designing a logo, from our experience are:
- The logo should be scalable
- The logo should be adaptable
- The logo should be memorable
- The logo should be unique
Asset #2: Secondary Brand Mark
Up to quite recently, the golden rule of branding was to have one single logo that was consistent across all media and used unchangingly for years. But the landscape has changed now and so has the definition of a brand identity.
Every one is a soicalite or has a blog nowadays with their own content, channels such as Youtube as well as active social media pages. It is all hence contributing to an ever more buzzing and chaotic internet environment where information is dumped at an alarmingly fast pace. The signal to noise ration is so high that people are starting to block out and filter the internet.
And this is exactly where the use of a secondary brand can become very useful. Not only is it there to support and enhance the power of the primary brand mark but can also be used for other purposes such as merchandizing, marketing collateral, social media campaigns and more.
For active brands in the lifestyle industry, a secondary brand mark serves a very crucial role as it is used to create brand recall and is used on touch points such as labels, tags, etc and could simply be a Motto or a Quote.
Asset #3: Color Palette
If you look at the majority of the big brands out there we all recall at the tip of out tongue, it is evident to notice one thing. They have all consciously chosen to have a signature color scheme, whether it is red or black or a more creative palette. Being able to “own” a color in your market segment should be one of the goals of your branding and indeed the goal of most big brands out there.
If used strategically, and if used consistently and correctly, a brand can end up “owning” a colour as such helping improve their overall awareness. In addition – as seen with many brands such as Coca Cola for example – the above can be so effective that just the color will remind people of a brand without the primary or secondary brand marks visible.
When it comes to choosing the colours for your brand, we would advise to focus on their suitability to your brand whilst at the same time aligning them with the world view of your target audience.
Asset #4: Typography
Typography (from the Greek words τύπος typos “form” and γράφειν graphein “to write”) is the art and technique of arranging type in order to make the language it forms most appealing to transparent learning and recognition.
Typography plays a crucial role in the design of your brand identity. Defined as “the art or process of setting and arranging types” – the typography in your logo can be as powerful as having a graphic. Typography is fundamental to establishing a robust brand identity system and selecting the right fonts to represent your brand is most certainly not an easy task.
Typography is an art form that can manipulate the significance of what it communicates. Due to its effects on the context of communication, understanding typography is especially important when developing a brand identity.
Type faces have personality and you should try and identify typography that matches the personality of your brand as different types evoke different feelings. In addition, similarly with colours, your brand should have a primary type face which is usually used in your primary brand logo. Secondary and tertiary type faces should ideally be complimentary to the primary typography.
Asset #5: Extended visual Language
Although some brand identity systems may end there, your system can also include other elements to improve your visual branding. Such examples are the content or style of your photographic elements, or the approach to the design of your icons. What other design elements does your brand need?
Asset #6: Brand Tone
Last but not least, one of the most important brands assets is your brand tone. A brand tone can be simply stated as the personality of your brand. This is the impression or perception that you want your brand to convey when interacting with people. Between marketing materials, sales scripts, and online content, your brand is going to be saying a lot of things. It’s important that you understand what that voice should sound like.
A brand tone is what your brand says but more importantly what is said about your brand and can manifest itself in a variety of ways such as:
- Your brand’s elevator pitch
- Your positioning statement
- Your vision and mission statements
- Your brand’s tagline and slogan
- Your press releases
- Your social media communication
- Your blog posts and articles
- Your communication style – via email, phone or face to face
Conclusively a great brand identity system clearly requires much more than merely a logo. But if you’re willing to take the time to create standards and consider how the system will work with your logo and other elements, you’re guaranteed to have more flexibility, consistency, and unity across your entire brand identity.
What other elements would you include in a great brand identity system? Share your thoughts in the comments below or feel free to click here to arrange a FREE Consultancy meeting, send me an email at Nick@CFMGroup.co.uk or Follow me below on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram