5 tips on designing a visual brand identity for your business
As a business owner I’m sure you’ve come across a competitor, or two, whose visual brand identity is on point – beautiful website, logo, color palette, images, and font choices. It’s difficult not to feel a little website envy from time to time.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, though. We all start somewhere and with a little thought, planning, and design education, you can be well on your way to creating a visual brand identity that you are proud of!
Here are 5 visual brand identity tips to help jumpstart your creativity.
01 // Determine Your Brand Vibe
Just like a perfectly crafted cocktail your brand vibe is made up of a unique mix of personality and character traits. One of the first steps in crafting a beautiful and accurate brand identity is to think about what your brand vibe is or will be.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my main goals?
- What are my values?
- What is my vision?
- If my brand had a personality, how would I describe it? (For example, your brand may be feminine, natural, and light-hearted.)
Really dig in and answer these questions, write them down, and keep them somewhere easy to refer to later on. Determining your brand vibe from the start will help guide you in the right direction as you begin to develop your complete brand identity.
02 // Know Your Ideal Client
It’s not enough to think only about what you want your brand vibe to be. You should always have your target market in mind, and preferably, you’d know exactly who your ideal client is. This will help give you a clear understanding of your audience and what their needs, wants, and values are.
An easy way to start this process is by creating a profile of your ideal client. Get down to the details – gender, age, occupation, income, education level, location, marital status. Give your ideal client a name and add a photo to humanize her even more. Think about her lifestyle and values. What are the things that drive her, what does she enjoy doing, why in the world does she need your product or service?
Once you are clear on who your ideal client is, you can focus on creating a brand identity that your audience will enjoy engaging with. You can read more about how to create an Ideal Client Profile and download my free workbook here.
03 // Understand Color Theory
If you couldn’t already tell, I personally love bright, bold, fun colors and have made it a point to incorporate that into the overall look and feel of my brand identity. When choosing colors for your own brand it’s a good first step to learn at least a tiny bit about color theory. Once you understand how colors affect emotions then you can begin to think about how you want your tribe to feel when they interact with your brand.
Yes, there is a little bit of science to it, but choosing your colors can be a fun and inspiring process. Just remember to keep your brand vibe in mind and focus on what type of emotions you want your brand to project. Then get to picking them pretty colors!
04 // Choose Your Typefaces
Deciding what typefaces to use for your brand is like choosing what outfit to wear for an event. The choice you make will play a role in how you (or your brand) is perceived. Think about the impression you hope to make and approach the selection thoughtfully.
Start with writing down the qualities you’d like to project. If you’ve already determined your brand vibe you should find this step easy. This will help you choose typefaces that represent your brand well.
If you’re not sure how to begin, try searching Google or Pinterest for “Font Pairings”. This can help kickstart your search and make the selection process less intimidating.
05 // Select High-Quality Images
I’ll be honest, I’m a stickler for great photos. I strongly believe they are a critical part of crafting your visual identity. You should always opt for choosing the highest quality photos possible. There’s nothing that screams “unprofessional” more than low quality, cheesy stock photos. Don’t be that business!
If you are on a budget, then pull out your smartphone and do your own photoshoot. Smartphone cameras are getting better and better every day and I personally take the majority of my own photos on my iPhone camera. Be sure to plan for your shoot by looking up poses photo composition tips, and practicing your angles.
If taking photos is not your thing, then go with stock photos. Just promise me you’ll never use cheesy stock photos that look super staged and just plain ugly! Be 100% sure to only use the HIGHEST quality stock photo sites. Stocksy is one of my fav paid stock sites. However, if your ? is tight, then definitely go with Unsplash.
I like taking my own photos, so I don’t typically use stock photos for my personal brand, but if and when I do, Unsplash is my go-to. Photos are 100% free, but be a good citizen and give credit to the author. Please and thank you!
If you can swing it, go with￼ professional custom photography. Having a photoshoot specifically for your business is ideal and will ensure that your photos look great.
Whatever approach you take, make sure your photos are well lit, professionally shot, and high resolution. Your final photo selections should all be beautiful, consistent in style, and most importantly relevant to your brand!￼
Whether you decide to DIY it or hire a professional designer, you should have clear answers to all 5 of these brand identity tips before getting started. If you found these tips helpful, be sure to follow me on Instagram @sarahlunadesign where I’ll be sharing more tips like these.