Your brand identity is critical. It tells people who you are, what you do, how they should feel about it, all at a glance. But when it comes to actually developing a brand identity, most people don’t know where to start.
The truth is, it’s not as difficult as it seems. As derivative as it may sound, if you’ve planned a wedding, you probably know enough to start planning a brand identity. (In case you’re wondering, yes, this applies even if your wedding only exists as a secret board on Pinterest.)
If you haven’t planned a wedding — even a hypothetical one — this post can still help you start to make sense of the concept of brand identity. Just keep an open mind!
Part 1: Color Scheme
Have you ever thought about why we pick out colors to use in a wedding? Here’s why: It’s because they tie everything together from a visual perspective. The same is true of a brand identity.
That said, picking out a color scheme for a brand can be more difficult than picking out colors for a one-day event. A good place to start is familiarizing yourself with color theory. It might sound like a bunch of baloney at first, but there’s a lot of research behind it. This article from Smashing Magazine does a great job of explaining it and providing visual examples.
Once you’re familiar with the basics, pick some colors (as few as two, preferably no more than four) that:
- you like (and can envision liking for a long time)
- are complimentary (see color wheel)
- visually express what you want people to feel about you and your business.
I personally picked gray, white and light aqua (Pantone 337 U) for PCC’s brand identity because I felt like it represented what I was trying to achieve with my style — professional, yet fresh.
Part 2: Logo
In a lot of ways, a logo is like a wedding cake. It acts as a centerpiece that your brand identity revolves around. Coming up with one can be a challenge, especially if you’re not a graphic designer, but the important things to remember about effective logos is that:
- They’re simple. Think about Apple’s logo. Or Nike. They can be used in an infinite number of ways and sizes, without compromising the recognizability of the design.
- They’re future-proof. Fifty years from now, they won’t feel outdated. If you’re changing your logo every five years, how are people supposed to remember your brand?
- They say something about you or your product. That Nike “swoosh” is stationary, but it conveys a sense of movement or momentum, doesn’t it? Kind of like how their products are made to help you move. (Mind: blown.)
This is the aspect of your brand identity you’ll probably agonize over the most, by the way. Logo creator tools to the rescue!
Part 3: Font Standards
You might not know your Helvetica from your Times New Roman, and that’s totally fine. But I bet if you’ve ever picked out a wedding invitation, you had an opinion on whether it featured curly letters (known as “script” in the font world) or letters without the little caps on the ends (aka “sans serif”).
Just like colors, the fonts you choose say something about you and your brand. Sans serif fonts tend to feel modern, while serif fonts feel a little more traditional. Likewise, script fonts feel fancy or fussy, while a bold, condensed font feels authoritative or masculine.
If you’re interested enough in typography to watch a 16 minute video about it, this is a really good one.
So, is this all feeling a little easier? Well, there’s more to the concept of brand identity, like tone/delivery, tag lines, and wordmarks. But the three aspects outlined above should get you started on your way to developing a consistent brand identity for your business or organization.
Be sure to come back, though…I’ll be covering those next three in a later post!