When discussing brand identity, so much focus is placed on the logo. However, this is only the starting point for companies serious about branding. It’s not that logos aren’t important. They are. They are the most versatile way of raising awareness of your brand and can help with recognition and recall.
But logos aren’t the be all and end all of a brand.
To start with, let’s examine the different aspects of a brand’s visual identity.
Logo: The logo is central to your brand’s visual identity. It’s the visual icon that customers will be exposed to the most. Well-designed logos convey the overall tone of your brand and evoke the emotions you want your customers to feel. Simpler logos always prove more successful. Remember, they need to look as good on the side of a bus as they do on an app icon.
Colours: The world’s leading brands all have a particular colour associated with them. Consider Coca-Cola, Facebook and Spotify. The colour palette a brand uses plays a big part in the emotions it conveys. Brands will often research the psychology of colour before they decide on a palette. The term ‘colour palette’ also refers to the ways that colours are manipulated, including saturation, tint, shade, etc.
Font: Fonts need to work in harmony with a brand’s logo and colour palette. The best fonts are recognizable even out of context. A strong visual identity uses a single primary typeface. Just as with the logo and colour palette, this should be kept simple.
A brand’s visual identity is important, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
It is so important to understand that a complete visual identity is not the same as a complete brand identity. This is where experiential identity comes into play.
Perhaps the best definition of experiential identity is from Jeff Bezos: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Far more important than your brand’s visual identity is the experience a customer has when interacting with your brand. Customers aren’t going to tell your friends how clean your typeface is. They will, however, spread the word when their experience with your brand is exceptional.
Take a look at Nike for example. When you think of Nike, you don’t just think about their infamous logo. You also think about sporting inspiration, innovation for athletes, and all the other emotions you associate with the brand. The Nike tick plays a tiny role in creating those emotions.
At the end of the day, a well-designed logo still can’t convince the customer of the value of your product or service. A positive experience surrounding this product or service is far more indicative of how your brand is identified. Customers will not care how well crafted your visual identity is if they have a terrible experience. This is why it is so important to establish a clear set of values your business revolves around.
It should go without saying that you should genuinely believe in these values. And by “you”, that means every staff member. Defining the experience you want your customer to have is great, but this is useless if your staff aren’t aware of it.