Most company ignore the importance of good brand identity. Branding is basically ‘how’ people perceive your business, 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, it is why you identify Nike, Microsoft, Google at a glance and also why the local store down town is known as ‘Malam Rabiu’. Your brand can make or break your identity and how you are perceived by the customer.
How do you shape a strong brand identity that takes your business to the next level?
Firstly, let’s clear out some terms. Brand is the perception of the company in the eyes of the world, Branding is a marketing practice of actively shaping a unique brand, whilst Brand identity is a combination of all brand element a company creates usually through the services of a graphic designer to portray the uniqueness and style that best sells the company.
To start with, imaging you are invited for an interview in a bank and you want to look the part, you want to be perceived with a sense of responsibility, a personality that speaks of you as a corporate personality. What do you do? Do you go and talk your way through the interview, letting everyone around know you’re suited for the job? Or do you actually suit up like the banker you are aspiring to be and let your appearance speaks for you. Those tangible elements that people see; the suit, the tie, the shoes, the haircut, and that inviting smile, are what makes your brand identity.
A company’s brand is what makes it easily identifiable. Your audience will relate to your brand identity with the product or service you offer. This identity is what builds customer loyalty, markets your product and determines how the audience sees the company. It is the connection between the customer and the company.
The next question is, how is design instrumental in shaping your brand?
Design is the foundation of every company brand out there. Your design assets are what tangible elements that will determine how your brand is perceived. To build a successful business brand you must make sure you nail your design assets, as it is what makes or break your brand identity. You must start from the ground up to get your design assets right; from understanding the mission and vision of the company, to selecting the right typography and color for your brand.
Let us take a quick look at the structurer elements that makes up the design asset.
Typography, an integral element of any brand the world over. “Typography is the art and technique of arranging letters to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. . The term typography is also applied to the style, arrangement, and appearance of the letters, numbers, and symbols created by the process”, so says Wikipedia. They are four major types of typography:
· Serifs: this are fonts with small decorative line added as embellishment to the basic form of a character. A serif is a small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter or symbol. A typeface with serifs is called a serif typeface. Examples of such typefaces are: Times New Roman and Helvetical .
· San Serifs: this is quite the opposite of serifs, without serifs. San serifs are block letters without extra decorations at the end of the stroke of the typeface. Sans serif fonts are letters that have smooth edges and lack the anchor or “feet” of their serif counterparts. Sans serif fonts give a sleeker, modern feel to brands. They are usually suitable for corporate text. Examples include Arial, Nexa, Continuum etc.
· Script typography: More like hand written human text (actually Scripts typefaces are based upon the varied and often fluid stroke created by handwriting), these fonts are very suitable for ornamental designs, as it portrays luxury and that feminine feel to your brand. Examples of scripts typefaces are: Allura, Pacifico.
· Display fonts: This typography is on a class of it’s on. Used for fewer words at a larger scale, Display typefaces will often have more eccentric and variable designs than the simple, relatively restrained typefaces generally used for body text. It is also used to set a tone or mood.
It is important to understand the right typography that best describes your business. Are you a corporate firm, a swimming club or a shoe store, knowing the right typeset that fits your business properly is key for easy brand recognition.
I often like to use this phrase ‘if you want to give life to anything, spray some color’. Colors are more than aesthetic and beauty, they signifies certain emotions that people consciously or unconsciously react to them. Colors play a huge role in the way we perceive the world without even realizing it. Colors have the ability to evoke emotions and trigger certain reactions. Your audience usually will be of people different psychological connection to different colors, and using colors strategically will determine how your brand is shaped and how the audience perceives it. So let us get an understanding on how color works.
There are three different types of colors: primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.
Primary colors are the basic colors from which every other color on the hue wheel are derived from. The primary colors are red, yellow and green. These colors when combined in varied proportions are used to get every other color on the color spectrum. The human vision is believed to be trichromatic (sensitive to all three primary colors), making them the building block for other colors.
Secondary colors are orange, purple and green. They are created when two primary colors are mixed in equal proportion. For example, yellow and red make orange, red and blue make purple, and blue and yellow make green. Secondary colors are seated in between two primary colors on the color wheel.
Tertiary colors are colors derived from a blend of one primary and one secondary color. Tertiary colors or intermediate colors as it is often called are located in between the primary and secondary colors on the color wheel. Examples are Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green.
Although color encompasses more than these three, all graphic designers must understand this basic to be able to make use of a color effectively and efficiently in representing a brand. In light of this, it is also important to understand Color Meanings and Psychology.
SHAPE AND FORMS
Another very important element to consider in designing your brand identity or assets is the shape and form. This element is very important in creating symbols and icons on logo and abstract objects.
Shape simply put is a geometric figure such as a square, triangle, or rectangle. It is the form of an object or its external boundary, outline, or external surface, as opposed to other properties such as color, texture or material composition. Form is somewhat like a shape but has a depiction of volume and mass. Shape and Form can be thought of as either two-dimensional or three dimensional respectively.
Below are examples of how shape and form can affect your brand:
- Straight lines like vertical lines suggest masculinity and strength while horizontal lines suggest tranquility and mellow vibes. These lines are usually effective in depicting solidity of corporate firms.
- Round shapes — like circles, ovals, and ellipses — are usually seen as feminine. Brands that incorporate round shapes can create feelings of community, unity and love.
- Straight edged shapes — like squares, rectangles, and triangles — make people think strength and efficiency. They are used to create a feeling of stability and trustworthiness, but it is important to create a balance with dynamic colors and typography that fits the purpose and sends the right message.
- Abstract shapes — usually without a defined structure are used to depict creativity, icon, symbols and objects.
Haven fully understood the structural elements and building blocks for creating the right identity, there is no gainsaying that brand is very important in our business and even our lives. Use these elements to create a strong corporate brand for your business that will resonate in the mind of your customers and that support your business. The bottom-line is building a personal brand takes time and effort, but it’s worth it.
Thank you for making out time to read, be on the lookout for more insightful articles from our team.
Cosmas Ndubuisi. UI/UX Designer / Front-End Developer at Techspecialist Consulting Limited