by Dan Crask, Creative Director & Co-Owner, Brand Shepherd
Brand development is an exercise of examining what the brand is and is not, and then codifying the discoveries in a way that the brand owner(s) and stakeholder(s) can easily leverage to grow the brand.
Here are what I know to be the next of the 5 key ingredients for building a brand:
Part 3: The Brand Identity
The brand’s visual identity (aka, logo) should reflect the brand voice, be familiar to the customer persona(s), and segue to the final ingredient, the brand’s “Why.”
Let’s talk about what goes into the making of a brand identiy.
First, the brand identity is going to set it’s tone-of-voice through typography.
Typography is simply the typefaces and fonts that make up the brand’s written communication. This is a BIG deal.
For example, what if brands only had Comic Sans available for typography? This…
Typography sets the tone of voice for the brand and its products. Typography will determine if your brand is serious, humorous, friendly, scary, or…? It wields a lot of power!
So spend as much time as is needed to get it right because, ideally, everything your brand communicates will use these fonts: UI, web, packaging, signs, stationery, you name it.
One last point: No more than two typefaces. Only have a primary and a secondary. More than that is rarely, if ever necessary.
Secondly, the brand identy is also going to be made up of colors and style.
I could dedicate an entire series of posts just to color psychology, alone, due to how big an impact it has on brands and products.
But the gist is this: Colors are not arbitrary. They are the psychological component of the brand identity.
Here’s a helpful color guide that has been around for a long time because it demonstrates the emotional response brand get from the colors they choose:
Full disclosure: Brand Shepherd chose orange because it has all the attributes we admire and want to spread about ourselves. Namely, confidence, friendliness, and creativity.
A big caveat here is needed. If you were to google image search ‘color psychology,’ you will get hundreds of these charts that have varying degrees of overlap. I chose to use the one above because it’s been vetted by many of my peers and not just what someone thinks is accurate.
The point is, the brand’s color choices matter a lot. If typography is the tone-of-voice, color is the emotional/psychological component of a product brand.
The last part of a brand identity is its visual language.
Visual language is simply how the brand uses its visual assets to communicate its idenity.
It’s how images are selected, how those images are Photoshopped with various treatments, and how they might be watermarked or branded.
It’s how a logo’s icon might be used in repetition to create a pattern. Target does a masterful job of using their bullseye to create patterns.
It’s how the brand always uses its identity in UI and packaging to create a memorable and positive UX for the customer.
Visual language is the culmination of your brand’s visual asssets and how they work together to speak in your brand’s voice to your customer personas.
Part 4 of this series demystifies and simplifies what I believe has become needlessly complex: The brand’s “Why?” I will simplify what it is and why it is important.
If this has helped you identify that your product brand needs to define its voice, please get in touch. Brand Shepherd would be delighted to consider working alongside your product brand.