Branding Design – What You Need to Know Before Creating a Brand Identity

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What is a brand identity? How do you create one? Why is it important? These are some topics we will be exploring in this article. Let us begin by finding out what a brand identity system is and how branding design can be used to influence and shape the perception of a user. Brand identity is a collection of all the representations of a brand — its logo, trademark, mascot, infographic, brand collateral, signage, and other company collateral. Basically, anything that communicates the message of a brand to its audience. It is not only the sum total of visual imagery and representations but also the experiences it creates when interacting with its product and services.

Branding a business helps forms its identity in the marketplace. To be able to stand out from a myriad of different companies and agencies, a business has to have a unique voice. By creating a cohesive and consistent form of visual representations, a brand is able to convey its story and its core message to its user. To be able to do this effectively, brand designers should pay attention to the needs of the user. Designing around human behavior and understanding the psychological component to design will help create an emotional response that will help the identity to live and breathe within the product.

To accomplish this, designers should be able to see the big picture — ask the world what you want and go out there to meet that request. This means that a good understanding of how people progress through the life cycle can help you form better design choices and can affect the overall outcome of your design.

How do you create a brand identity?

A brand is a perceived image of a company while an identity system is all the visual devices you need to represent that company. A brand identity system consists of style guides and framework used to create a visual representation. Before you start creating a brand identity system, it is important to have a strategy in place. This will help define your goals more easily and will help your branding design to deliver the brands message with clarity and consistency.
Research is usually undertaken after the brand strategy is documented. It is important to study not the just core values and needs of the company but also its competition in the marketplace. Once the design brief is delivered by the company, designers usually break down this information into small sizable chunks. This step of the process helps you focus on relevant and useful parts of the project. Understanding the company and its needs this way will help you gain an intimate understanding of the business and this, in turn, helps you respond to their needs in a more methodical and systematic way.

Now, how do you create a comprehensive visual identity system that can be applied to anything from packaging to web design? A logo and a color palette don’t make up a brand identity. According to, a brand identity usually comprises of a logo, colors, typography, design system, photography, illustration, interactive elements, video, and web design. To create effective designs it is important to consider the following factors:

1. Make your designs distinct so that it stands out from your competition
2. Make them memorable by creating visceral experiences that people can connect with.
3. Make it scalable, flexible and consistent throughout the system.

By now you would have gathered enough information through research, feedback, and surveys. To translate this data and emotional sentiments into visual representations, designers have to collaborate and find out more about specific elements in your documents that elicit the strongest emotional response. This will help create visualizations that can effectively communicate your data to a wide group of people. It is also important to retain critical objectivity while working with a team. Trust along with fearlessness when designing a visual design system will help the designers explore different approaches with confidence.

In addition to all of the above, it would also make sense to invest in thinking about how is it going to live after its made. Having discussions about ‘What it means to design for the future?’ and ‘What are the ethical implications of your design?’ will help you tackle unforeseen problems and design solutions that can bridge the gap between the consumer and the product.

Why worry about brand identity design?

Brand identity helps define a company’s image in the marketplace. It includes all the different associations and interactions a consumer has with a company. If you are not able to make a great impression upon the consumer, the brand tends to be forgotten amidst the myriad of choices that is out there. So it is important to pay attention to the details, logo, web design, packaging to presentation design, everything matters for a brand to be taken seriously. Recognition is another important aspect of brand design. It helps the user form associations. Through consistent interactions with the consumer, a brand seeps into the daily life of the user. This means that designers would have to create a design system that is scalable across devices, products, and platforms to keep the overall image of the brand consistent. Identity needs to live and breathe within the product itself and should shape and influence how the world moves.

Ultimately understanding the product and the marketplace is crucial when it comes to creating a strong brand identity system. Impact of a product is measured differently throughout the world.  Pay attention to the flexibility of global design. It doesn’t take away from the systematic and the specific, instead, it provides an alternative to neutralizing these differences of institutionalized thinking.

What should the ideal relationship be between the product and the user? How do you create shared experiences that reflect the story and the essence of the brand? Having a sense of enthusiastic curiosity, asking questions and being able to exaggerate these conditions will open up different avenues of design that can help you design a better design system and in effect a great product.

Iggy is a designer who loves experimenting with new web design techniques, collating creative website designs, and writing about the latest design trends, inspiration, design freebies, and more. You can follow him on Twitter

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