At its simplest, a Brand can be broken out into 2 sections, Core Messaging and Visual Identity. Neither is more important than the other, but today…it’s all about the Visual Identity. So, let’s break down the elements that make up the “look” of a Brand.
Often considered the most important visual representation of a company, the logo is usually the first thing people see, and it’s usually the brand element seen with the most frequency. Sometimes, logos are ligatures. Sometimes, they are simply the company name in thick rounded font. And sometimes, logos are the company name in white inside of a lime green square. In all cases, with one glance, you simply ‘get it’. That’s a good logo.
Gone are the days of black and white (unless those are your Brand colors 😀 ). With what seems like an endless combination of colors, it takes special consideration to choose the right palette. First, think about primary colors. Those are the ones seen most often, and are usually in the logo. But, when you get into the art direction, a secondary color palette helps carry the Brand through a variety of design. Then, of course you have pops of color. Small but colossal clusters of chroma that bring the palette full circle.
The imagery might just be my favorite part of the visual identity. Imagery isn’t referring to photography, or illustration, or something else. But it’s the style in which all of those elements are made. The style that creates whatever emotion you want from the viewer. Maybe your imagery needs to convey fun, happy, exciting. That will look way different that one conveying sympathy or tugging at our heart strings. There are a million ways to bring ocular ownership to the Brand; the trick is finding the combination that’s distinctly “you”.
The art of bringing visual ownership to words is pretty mind-blowing. Think about it—you can look at a word or even just a letter of some brands and immediately know exactly what company it “belongs” to. A lowercase “a” in a serif font makes you want to shop, a red “N” in a condensed san serif makes you want to chill. When done well, a font can be as ownable as any other element of your brand.
Written by Mike Naples, MACLYN Creative Director