Brand identity is the elements of a brand, such as operating name including font used, colour scheme, and a logo mark, that identify and distinguish the brand in consumers' minds. The brand identity is essentially the corporate personality and any inconsistencies can confuse and potentially alienate clients.
Having brand identity guidelines to refer to can assist in maintaining consistency throughout all communication channels. Consistency is criticical to ensure that there is control over brand image. Additionally, as a business grows and matures, a consistent brand identity will help to build a trustworthy and reliable experience for everyone who engages with it.
Know your Brand
There are five (5) main aspects to consider before creating brand identity guidelines.
- Identify your "Why": Why does the company exist? What inspired the business idea? What sets the company apart from others?
- Identify your vision: What is the company aiming to do? No vision is too big, as long as it aligns with the brand.
- Target audience: Who is the business aiming to help? How can the business solve their problems?
- Brand personality: Everything the business does, says, writes, shares, and presents itself through should be identified to a list of three (3) to five (5) adjectives/personality traits that describe the business. Many law offices can identify as reliable, competent, and hard-working. It can also be helpful to make a list of adjectives that the business is not.
- Core values: Determine the principles for company decisions and actions.
Once this has been established, it's time to begin to define the look of the brand and create guidelines to ensure consistency.
Creating Brand Identity Guidelines
Introduce the Business
A simple summary of the brand and business using some, or all, of the aspects discussed above. Use this summary to help connect with clients and customers. How are clients able to relate to the business? Why should clients choose this buisness over a different one?
Include versions of the logo that are to be used, clear instructions as to when and where the logo is to be used, and provide visual examples to make it clear. Don't forget to include any size requirements, colour variations, and if there are specific instances or ways that a logo should not be presented.
Brand Colour Palette
Defining a colour palette assists in creating a consistent look and feel. Aim to work with no more than three (3) colours, and stay close to the main hues. Show swatches of the brand colours in the guidelines and include the information required to reproduce the colour accurately (i.e., the digital colour code, either RGB or HEX code).
Font and Typography
Every typeface has it's own personality and can say a lot about style and taste. Different fonts serve different purposes, and using the wrong font could be detrimental.
Things to consider:
- Does the font mirror the message being conveyed?
- Is the font legible at different text sizes?
- Remember visual hierarchy - where are viewers looking first? Boldness, size, and spacing are very important
- Do the proposed fonts complement each other? Refrain from pairing fonts with similar appeals. For example, matching a bold spaced font with a slender one will have a different effect than two slender spaced fonts
Ensure the guidelines include information about the font size, alignment, spacing, and colours.
If the brand uses photographs or illustrations, provide guidelines for the concept, composition, shadows, and examples of what is acceptable. The images chosen have an impact on how the brand identity is represented aesthetically. Images are used to help shape and create the overall brand image and should complement the colour pallette and font selection.
While writing style may be lower on the list of things that matters when thinking of brand identity, it can have a very large impact on how customers view a company.
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