Today we’re sharing some of the key steps and concepts involved in designing a brand identity in a single graphic and write up that you can bookmark and refer to quickly. The guidelines below are perfect for small business owners who are enthusiastic about DIY, have a base level in design and do not have the staff or budget to hire a graphic designer. It is possible to achieve a professional brand identity; just be prepared to put the time, thought and effort into it.
How to Design a Brand Identity
Follow these key steps to create your very own brand identity.
Research, Vision & Design Brief
First, start out with your research, vision & design brief. Write down these questions and answer them yourself.
- How is my brand perceived against competitors?
- What is the positioning statement of my brand?
- What is the heritage of my product?
- Who is my target audience and where can I find them?
- What values and beliefs should my brand have?
- What benefits do I want customers to associate with my brand?
Once you’ve answered these questions be sure to include summaries from your research phase that provide info on your target audience, message objective, value and mission of your brand and your brand’s offering.
TIP: To determine who your target audience and perfect clients are, download our free buyer persona worksheet.
Outline The Miscellaneous
This is also a good time to outline your:
- project schedule
- file formats (PDF, PSD, AI, EPS, PNG)
- other needs
NOTE: If you don’t know what your needs are or what file formats are, discontinue reading this post and hire a designer. There’s no way you can properly design your branding if you are not somewhat versed in PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign or proper web and print file formats.
Interested in Branding Services?
Now that you’ve got the basic stuff down it’s time to move onto your logo identity and guidelines. Most designers start by sketching logo ideas on paper. Try this over and over, and over again until you come up with a concept you’re happy with. Move into the digital version of it and begin designing it in AI, InDesign or PS.
NOTE: Do not, I repeat, do not use Paint, Publisher or Excel to design your logo. Legit designers will laugh at you and you won’t be able to create final formats that are used for print. Take our word for it and just hire a professional.
Start Your Brand Identity System
Onto the next step! You’ve gone back and forth on logo concepts but finally nailed your completed design and now you need to come up with your brand identity system. The branding identity system provides a systematic visual language around your logo such as letterhead, envelopes, fancy pencils, billboards, coffee cups, etc. This system grows brand awareness and allows your brand to cover various marketing avenues. Coffee cups make great client gifts, pens work for networking events. This touch helps spread your brand message.
TIP: There are cost-effective brand identity templates you can download from Creative Market that are sure to shave many hours from your project.
Create Your Style Guideline
You’ve made it this far without burning you computer to the ground – that’s great! Now you’re ready to create your style guideline. Your style guideline helps keep you new brand in check; for both yourself, your staff and others who may want to promote you. The guidelines will provide your typeface/font, color palette, logo usage and oh-so very important rules to follow when representing your brand. For instance, have you ever seen a really stretched out, pixelated logo and thought to yourself “eek?!” That’s because most likely someone is breaking the style guidelines and altered the logo in a way that negatively affects the brand image. This is why the guidelines are important to have. Again, you can create your guidelines from scratch, but chances are if you’re reading this blog post you would much rather have a template to work off of. You can download brand identity templates from Creative Market as well (we love Creative Market!)
Monitor & Rebrand
The difficult part is over and you’ve set your brand in place. That doesn’t mean you get to walk away and never look at it again. As your company and brand grows, you will need to revisit your identity and rebrand if necessary. Make tweaks based on how your audience is interacting with your brand. You should not be afraid to change things that are just not working.
As always, let us know if we can help you in any way with your branding journey. We of all companies know how time-consuming and important it is to stay on top of your brand!
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