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What does it mean to have your visuals based on strategy?

Firstly, please note that a visual strategy is not the same as visuals based on strategy! When it comes to your brand, strategy comes first and then the visuals. In this article, I’m going to give some quick examples of some of the parts of your brand strategy that have a direct impact on your brand visuals.


If you haven’t had the chance yet, I’d suggest going back and taking a look at my article on A brand is not a logo to learn more about what a brand consists of. In there, I have a breakdown of the two main parts of a brand (strategy and visuals), as well as where your brand is used, where it is seen, and where to start. Outside of that, though, here is a quick breakdown of what it means to create your visuals based on your strategy.


When you create your logo, choose your colours, decide on your fonts, and pick all the graphics that will go along with your brand (and the rules for future decisions), you don’t decide these because you like them. Yes, your personal input is important and has a huge impact on the final results, but the visuals aren’t based on it.

I want to share a personal story here. Before I got into branding and strategy, I used to be a graphic designer. I’ve been doing graphic design work for over ten years now and I love it! A lot of my work came from referrals, but a lot of it also came from online job sites that post individual projects looking for creatives. A lot of that work was also logo creation.

All logo design projects I did before fell into two main categories…

  • The ones based on personal preferences and likes

  • The ones with briefs and research to back them up

A couple of months ago I was curious and went back through my old logo folio to take a look at some of these designs and yikes! But that’s another story. After looking through the logos I had in my folio, I decided to go online and google each of those businesses. And here’s a random fact for you… every single logo that was part of the first category is not in use.

Every. single. one.

I am not exaggerating here! I actually went to people’s websites, social media, yellow pages, wherever I could find them online. Not one of those places had my logo designs anywhere. These were the logos that came to me with requests like I like this colour, or can we go with this graphic? or this trend is awesome.

That’s some food for thought for you. Because when I talk about brand strategy, having a design brief, and doing your research, it helps! Knowing the reason behind why you want your logo to look a certain way is what makes that mark last. And consistency and repetition and extremely important when it comes to making your brand memorable. You want to create something that is long-term, so give it a strong foundation!


Let’s start with the easy things. Please note that all examples herein are either from previous clients I have worked with or are gross exaggerations or stereotypes in order to get my point across. No insult is meant with any of these! At the end of the day, a brand is created for your audience with the purpose of drawing them in. This is the same whether you’re a solopreneur, freelancer, or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. As such, knowing who your audience is will help guide everything about your brand, including your visuals.


Let’s say you are a business genius and want to help artists with getting their finances in order and figuring out their expenses and how much to charge. As someone in the analytical sphere, you’d probably be more interested in clean, sharp lines, well-balanced, and geometric shapes. However, your artists may prefer something smoother, more asymmetrical, with curves instead of edges and a weirder design. The trick here would be combining your own purpose and values with those of your audience to create a logo that draws them in, but still represents who you are!


Let’s say you are creating a service where you are asking high-school girls to join your club. Their purpose in it would be to connect with others like them and maybe share make-up tips. Would your colour palette be bright and shiny with eye-catching colours? Or will you go for something more muted and dark? Something as simple as knowing who your audience is will help you decide on your colour palettes. And combine that with their interests, values, and purpose with your business and you get so much more information!


Oh, I can talk about fonts all day long! In fact, I had so many articles about that, that people were getting confused if I do branding or typography. I have now removed them from here and will be sharing a book on typography sometime in the near future, but for now, keep this mind. Everybody, as a collective, already makes certain assumptions and associations with specific visuals and fonts.

There are seven main classifications of typefaces and each one promotes a different feeling or expectation. Something like knowing your brand’s personality will be very helpful here in figuring out if you want to challenge those assumptions or use them to your advantage.


I am not referring to your own photos here, though if you have those skills, all the better! When I talk about photography, and videography for that matter, I am referring to the rules of the images you use. If you are using stock photos, consider who your stock photos are of. Are you representing your audience and yourself in the photos you’re using? Without knowing who your audience is or the image you want to portray, then you’re picking anything based on the topic. (Ps. style guides are extremely useful in this scenario. Check out my article on The importance of style guides for your brand for more information on that.).


  • The backgrounds can be based on your competitors

  • The orientation of your photos can be based on your platforms

  • The movement behind your infographics based on your purpose

  • The lighting in your videos can be based on your values

  • The patterns on your borders can be based on your vision and mission

  • The colours and style of your graphics can be based on your personality

  • The layout of your text over images can be based on your language

  • The fonts and typeface combinations can be based on your tone and voice

And all of those are connected to your own personal preferences and your audience.


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