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What is brand identity? And how to design and develop a great one.

Just like your personal identity makes you uniquely you, your brand identity is the special sauce of your business that sets you apart from every other Tom, Dick and Harry, Inc. on the block. And your brand identity design? It’s what shapes your company.

But what exactly is brand identity? What does it have to do with design? And how do you shape a strong brand identity that takes your business to the next level?


What is brand identity? —


We’ll kick things off with a definition. What does the term brand identity mean?

Brand identity is the collection of all elements that a company creates to portray the right image to its consumer. Brand identity is different from “brand image” and “branding,” even though these terms are sometimes treated as interchangeable.

The term branding refers to the marketing practice of actively shaping a distinctive brand. Brand is the perception of the company in the eyes of the world.


How to develop a strong brand identity —

Know who you are

Before you know what tangible elements you want to make up your brand identity, you need to know who you are as a brand.


Who you are as a brand is made up of a few key elements:

  • Your mission (what’s your “why?”)

  • Your values (what beliefs drive your company?)

  • Your brand personality (if your brand was a person, what kind of personality would they have?)

  • Your unique positioning (how do you differentiate yourself from the competition?)

  • Your brand voice (if your brand was a person, how would it communicate?)

These elements are what define your brand, and before you start building your brand identity, it’s important you have a clear understanding of each.

If you’re having trouble figuring out who exactly you are, don’t sweat it. Sometimes, all you need is a simple brainstorm to help you get clarity on who you are as a brand.

Ask yourself:

  • Why did we start this business?

  • What are beliefs and values that are important to us as a company?

  • What do we do better than anyone else?

  • What makes us special?

  • If we could describe our brand in three words, what would they be?

  • What are the three words we would want our customers to use to describe us?

Once you’ve locked in who you are as a brand, it’s time to build the identity that will bring your brand to life and show who you are to the people who matter most: your customers.

Design: the foundation of your brand identity —

Your corporate design assets are the tangible elements that will determine how your brand is perceived. Things like your logo, your packaging, your web design, your social media graphics, your business cards and the uniforms your employees wear.

In other words, nailing your design = nailing your brand identity = building a successful business that’s an accurate representation of who you are as a brand.

So, how exactly do you nail your design and build a brand identity that will take your business to the next level?

Developing your brand design

Before you start creating your design assets, you need to start from the ground up and lock in the basics of your design structure: the building blocks of your brand identity.

The building blocks you’ll want to determine before you create your design assets include:

Typography

Typography refers to—you guessed it—the font (or type) you choose for your branding materials. It’s particularly important to choose logo fonts and brand fonts wisely. There are four major types of typography: