Getting the perfect brand identity is important and finding the best process to create your brand identity is just as important. Firstly, I want to direct you to read my article on A brand is not a logo if you haven’t yet. Because a brand identity is not only a logo. A visual identity is also, not only a logo. Both of these mean all of the visual aspects of your brand.
I’ve used this metaphor before, but I want to clarify something. I want to imagine your brand as an iceberg. Your logo? That’s the flat surface that reflects the light when a ship gets close to it and draws attention. (A ship, in this case, is your audience.) But that’s only a small part of what is above the water. Everything below the water, the parts that hold up the ice above, are your brand strategy. They are not visible. But what is above the water is.
So, your brand’s visual identity is everything above the water. That includes…
Social media posts
And there’s more…
Basically, absolutely anything that your audience sees about your brand, is part of its visual identity. There are some aspects that are not visible without diving deep into a brand, and some that are only on a subconscious level. So, focus on the surface. Focus, on what is above the water.
And, in order to create that, here are 10 steps to get your brand identity created…
Before you even think about anything else, I want you to start putting an idea together. Grab photos, colours, fonts, images, everything you can see that you like… put it together. Yes, your brand identity is based on your strategy, but this is something you can do at any point in your brand creation. And the reason why I like putting it first is that I want you to get it out. Get whatever thoughts you had in mind out on paper or screen and look at them.
Now, it’s time to look back at everything you’ve put together and start questioning it. Why did you choose that picture? Why did you pick that font? Question everything. You want to make sure that all of your choices have a reason behind them that is more than because I like it. You can even go further and research the origins of your choices. Why were they created? What were they meant to represent? How do others feel about them?
Time to get into the strategy. This is a long and involved process to create your entire brand strategy. This involves positioning your brand by learning about your audience, the market, and setting awareness goals. Then you get into the core of your brand with its purpose, values, vision, and mission. Afterwards, you make your brand more human by giving it a personality, voice, tone, and a language. Create everything!
While you’re working on your strategy, you would have been doing a lot of research. But this research isn’t enough. Go deeper. Why did you make the choices you made? Why did you decide on a specific brand aspect? Again, question everything. And if you don’t know the answer, then go back and re-do it until you know the reasoning behind everything. And, while you’re at it, compare your current research to your first set from the idea.
You have an idea, you have a strategy, and you’ve done your research. At this point, you want to start creating concepts that combine your idea and your strategy into one. Find the parts of your idea that your researched and are the same as those in your strategy, and then combine them. The results you create will be the start of your brand identity concepts. Go crazy, don’t hold yourself back, and make sure you have a reason behind everything.
Noticing a pattern? After every step, you do more research. For all of your concepts, come up with reasoning behind each one and look at what others are doing. If you can, get some opinions from others both in your field (competitors) and in a pool of potential clients (audience). Knowing their opinion will help you solidify the reasoning behind your choices. In addition, make sure those choices make sense. If your concept included flyers, will you be printing them?
It’s time to take your concepts and turn them into your brand identity. Based on your research, you know what you want to have in your brand and where all of your visuals will be used. This means creating logos, finalizing colours, choosing fonts, developing a website, designing business collaterals, and everything in between and all around. And, on top of all of that, creating a style guide to ensure that all future visuals fall into the same brand identity.
If you didn’t get a chance in the previous research step, now’s the time! Ask others for their opinion. Post up one of your finished designs on a Facebook group, or a LinkedIn post, or a Pin… ask people what they think. What do they see? What do they feel? And, most importantly, do their answers match all of your previous research? You want to make sure that what you’re trying to get across, actually gets across to your audience.
Once you’ve gotten all the input and seen what you can fix where it’s time to apply it. Create that logo, develop that website, print your flyers… whatever you had in mind, do it. I’d suggest doing all of your creations by prioritizing their needs. If you won’t need a business card for the next two-three months, leave that for now. Focus on the aspects you will be using right now. And… you can even contact those same people that gave their opinion before to show them the finished product.
10. LAUNCH YOUR BRAND IDENTITY
Ha! I bet you thought I was going to say research. Close. Once everything is done, you want to launch it. Make an announcement, tell others about it, make it a big deal. Because it’s a pretty damn big deal! Celebrate the wins and a mission accomplished! You did this, it was all you, and you deserve to get the praise and credit for doing this. And yes, this applied even if you hired a designer to create your brand identity. No matter what, this is your brand, celebrate its launch.
There it is! There is a bonus step to all of this that is, once again, research. After your launch, create a regular schedule to do some research. Ask your audience and your clients what they see, what they want to see, and how it’s working for them. Knowing this will help you in growing and evolving your brand as your business grows and evolves. Your brand is built for your audience, so their opinion matters. In addition, a brand is never complete. You keep working on it. So, as your strategy changes, so will your brand identity to reflect that!