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How to Design a New Brand Identity for Your Business

Designing a brand identity for your business is an exciting and creative process, but the pressure to create a design that both embodies your business's values and has commercial appeal can be overwhelming. Can feel like a high order.

Following a structured action plan will help you avoid brain drain and keep your ideas moving forward. Here I share my essential nine-step guide to approaching a branding project that will help your business identity feel unique, flourish, and super professional.

When designing a brand, the amount of tasks to complete (Logo! Website! Stationery!) can feel overwhelming. Dividing the process into manageable chunks will allow you to balance creative and administrative tasks, which leads to real progress.

Before we break down the process in this article, check out our new course, Design and Branding first. In it, you'll learn how to create visual brands from scratch and develop your brand designs into comprehensive, professional brand identities.

Now, let's dive into these nine steps to develop a new brand identity design for your business.


1. Your Research

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No business exists in a vacuum, that's clear. But it's amazing how many business owners completely forget this when they embark on a branding project. Many people will dive into design ideas right away, ignoring the fact that their brand will inevitably survive in a competitive market.

To avoid looking like your brand was designed by aliens, or worse, to avoid mistakenly mimicking an existing design (see the unfortunate Tokyo 2020 logo debate as an extreme example), you need to Do some research on your competitor brands.

If you're a freelance creative, check out how local design firms and advertising agencies present online and in their offices. Brand design for a product? Google the field and turn to images to understand what’s appropriate (read: marketable) for brands in the industry. Pinterest is a great resource for researching what brands in a particular niche are considered to be at the top of their game design.

Grab a notebook and jot down some of the most common traits shared by the brands you're researching. Cosmetic research? Look out for popular colors or font styles used on some skincare and makeup brands (Clue: you'll soon find yourself in a sea of ​​Vogue pastels and serifs). The coffee? Keep your eyes peeled for the type of graphics used (Hint: rarely photograph, and almost always vintage).

This preliminary list will help prop up the broader commercial market as you dive into designing your own brand. Once you've completed the design process, return to this list. Does your design have any of the features listed? If not, it could be a sign that your brand will be too unique to do well in a competitive market.

2. Know your identity

You looked at the competition and dissected how they approached their own brand designs. Now you need to store this knowledge in the back of your brain and focus on your brand goals.

Difficult part? How can you ensure that your brand aligns with the right market niche and in some cases appears to match rival brands, but also makes sure your brand is not only unique? unique but also superior to these competitors?

Imagine staring at a Van Gogh painting for hours, and then being told to paint something like it but different and even better. Not an easy feat is it?

Now that you've put together your competitor's brand research list, you can put this aside for now. Don't worry, you won't forget what rival brands look like now that you've spent time researching them. It's important that you feel in a position to create a brand design that feels fresh and unique. A design that references your position against competitor brands without copying them.

Now you need to focus on USP (Single Selling Point). What makes your business offer completely different from your competitors? Let's say you're designing a brand for a small photo company. You've searched for local photographers and seen what they have to offer. You will start a business without knowing that you can tap the market in some way that is different from others. Perhaps you offer unique portrait photography or a premium post retouching service. This is your USP and this should be referenced in your brand design.

Struggling to determine your USP? Knowing your brand's values ​​can help you feel more confident about what your business really offers to customers:

3. Put the pencil on the paper

When a consumer comes into contact with a brand for the first time, the first visual thing they are likely to encounter is the brand logo. What's the first thing you see on a store sign? Yup, logo. What's plaster next to your morning cup of coffee? You guessed it

Unless you encounter a product blindly, for example you try a product that a friend bought without knowing its brand, it is nearly impossible to interact with the product without seeing the logo of the product. company that produces it.

For most brands, their logo is a condensed interpretation of everything the brand stands for. You can explain a lot of information about a business just from their logo. They may have chosen a serif font to look more formal or classy, ​​while a font could make a brand feel more casual and craft-oriented. Color psychology may be playing too orange orange feel optimistic and good value, calming blues and technology. Wearing a metallic tone like gold or bronze can increase the luxury factor and make the brand feel more aspirational.

Because a logo is not only a customer's first gateway to your brand, but a visual summary of everything you want your brand to do, a logo is a natural starting point for creating a recognizable design. represent your brand.

To start creating a logo, you need to leave your computer now. Get a pen or pencil and a large drawing board. Start by sketching out quick doodles that represent basic ideas.

Aim for some ideas to have a symbolic accent (more image-based) and others to play around with the typography of the business name. Don't live with any single idea for a long time; a few minutes for each will be enough. Annotate each idea with quick text notes to remind yourself of any ideas you have about color, style, or possible ways to improve the concept.

When you fill the page, set it aside and move on to the next page. Aim to fill 2-3 large pages with various interesting ideas. Don’t worry if you feel that some ideas are weaker than others, you never know which sketch will be the springboard for a great idea.

When you're done, step away from your sketchpad and take a short break, either for a coffee break or overnight. When you return to your work, you will be able to see your ideas in a new light with a fresh mind.

4. Narrow down to three Logo Ideas

Tweak, then seek outside opinions. Value the brainstorming process and avoid committing to an idea too soon.

When you come back to your logo sketch feeling refreshed, consider your design. Sketches that appear instantly stronger than others? Are some of your symbolic concepts too complex for an outsider to immediately understand? Identify the three designs with the most potential, perhaps they have stronger thematic ideas or simply stronger visual styles, and refine them further in different sketches, allowing each thought it had its own page.

At this stage, it's much better to avoid relying on just one idea. Even if you feel that an idea of ​​three is the strongest, you need to keep your options open at this stage. Once you have your delicate sketch, seek outside opinions. Grab a few friends, family members, or co-workers and ask them to look through three designs. You may find that they like a design that's not your personal taste, but can't be ignored. This will ensure that your brand has commercial appeal and is based solely on your personal taste.

Narrow down the sketches to your strongest design, based on others as well as your own opinions. Make a copy of the sketch in black ink, using the opportunity to refine the design further. It's also a great exercise to gauge if you've made the design more minimalist and glossy.

All logos need to work equally well in plain black and white as they do in full color. Then you're ready to transfer your logo design to the desktop for vectorization. Scan the black ink outline with a scanner if you have or use a camera or phone to take high-resolution photos.

Still not sure about your logo design? Don't panic! A logo template is a great starting point for creating a professional logo design. Check out this article for us to pick some of the best:

Or if you need help creating your logo design, work with one of the professional, hand-picked logo designers on Envato Studio.

5. Think about color

Once you've uploaded your black and white sketch to your computer, it's time to vectorize it! You can use your scanned design as a template to create the final vector logo.

Place the initial design on a locked layer in a program of your choice (such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW) and build your vector on top of this, using the image as a tracing aid. While it's not ideal, if you lack confidence with vector software, there are ways to cheat trying out the Image Trace function (Window > Image Trace) in Adobe Illustrator.

You can see how Roberlan Borges vectorized the logo for the in-house Illustration and Design team, ‘Team Awesome’ in this tutorial:

Now, time to start experimenting with colors too. Thinking back to your market research, are there any frequently cropped colors in your branding niche? You can also exploit the principles of color psychology. Try switching the colors of your logo and see how this changes the overall effect. How does a color make you feel? Does this emotion align with what you're trying to achieve with your brand?

For example, if the color yellow makes this gym logo feel luxurious, it may be sending the wrong message if your gym US US offers a cheap entry fee to customers. In that case, a more effective, calming-looking blue would be a better choice.

You should also take into account the influence of long-term color associations with particular brands and products. For example, sharp package colors in the UK almost always mimic the long-standing brand colors of the sharp Walker company. This color code is so ingrained with customers that it has been shown that changing the color of food packaging can change the way consumers perceive the taste of a product.

6. Expand Your Brand: Font Type

Once you've vectorized your logo and decided on the right colors, you're ready to start expanding your brand. One of the main ways to define the personality of your brand is to choose a typeface that has some characteristics that you like to give your brand identity.

Most brands adopt two brand typefaces, one for the title and tagline, and the other for the body text. Some of the larger brands may use custom fonts that are completely unique to them, but most businesses will simply apply the font they feel fits their brand.

Here are some branding guidelines to learn what some popular tech companies use. Adobe uses the Clean and Minion font for their brand identity, indicating where each will be used in marketing assets:

Browse through a wide range of fonts to get some ideas of what might fit into your own brand identity design.

Uppercase sans serifs feel confident and modern. Replacing a round style for a sharper look, graphics can make a brand feel more assertive and masculine.

Script typography is popular with brands that want to appear informal. The classic inspired look of the scripts touches the market trends for handcrafted styles.

This makes it suitable for brands that want to appear less corporate and independent.

Try grouping your logo with a piece of sample text placed in different fonts. Print out a few options and compare them. What personality traits does each style of typeface bring to your brand? Can you identify a best fit that both complements your logo design and has the personality to match it?

7. Expand Your Brand: Photography & Graphics

A brand identity is made up of logos and typing alone. Continue to expand your brand by thinking about other visual elements like photography and graphics. While your logo, colors, and typography may stay the same across your stationery, marketing, and website, the images you use to communicate specific messages, like special offers, promotions, advertising or product-specific packaging will inevitably differ.

Change, however, is the enemy of a strong brand identity design. When you use different images, you need to make sure that there is still an element of consistency between them. This can be as simple as saying that you will only use one photo style to promote your brand. Let's say you're designing a brand identity for a food business. One of your branding rules might be that you'll only use overhead photos.

You can be as simple or complex with your image rules as you want. This is the kind of practice that becomes essential to a brand's survival as a business grows and more employees enlist the use of the brand every day.

Let's say you're designing a brand used by a lifestyle company with multiple offices. You may want to come up with a few visual rules so that all marketing output looks consistent and aligns with your overall brand vision. You can say that all pictures should be photos of people, but not only that, they should also be black and white portraits with people looking directly into the camera. So three photos will tick the box:

...but this breaks your rule when the man is not facing the camera. It looks like an odd one, breaking the consistency of your brand.

8. Apply your brand

You've got a logo and fonts organized and set the rules for using your images. Now it's time to start applying your brand to print and digital media.

Prioritize the media your business uses every day to communicate with customers, if you work remotely this means it's best to prioritize your website and don't forget to add your logo to the text. Sign your email. If you attend a lot of networking events or conferences, a branded business card will make a good substitute.

Here we share a selection of the best business card templates that you can easily adapt to your own brand by switching logos, colors and types:

While it may not be trendy these days, it's very important to extend your brand to printed stationery. When you want to introduce yourself to potential new clients, the best impression you can make is to have a branded letterhead (and an envelope too, if you have the time).

To get you started, here's our selection of stationery sample packs that do all the hard work for you, and are quick and easy to customize:

Make sure to extend your brand through invoices and receipts that will leave the same impression as the business… it might even mean you get paid on time more often!

If your business has several employees or offices, you should also consider creating a brand manual. This will be the document that shows employees and contractors how to correctly apply your brand to anything they may need from smaller items such as stationery, flyers and marketing materials. market for public interpretation on a larger scale such as office design, advertising, and website design.

9. Evaluate your brand

You have completed your brand identity design, congratulations! So what now?

Well that might seem like the last thing you want to do, but you need to keep your mind open to reviewing your brand now as it's in use.

The first part of this is research-based. Pay attention to how customers respond to the brand. This can be easier to do if you have a physical store, and you also have a great opportunity to take surveys about your brand.

If your business is online, you may want to use an email list to conduct surveys (use discounts and offers to encourage feedback) or analyze sales performance over the course of a few weeks and months. months after launching your brand new look and feel. If your sales are improving, that's a strong sign that your brand is doing well. If your sales stay the same or worse, dry up, this could be a sign that your brand is not well received.

If your brand isn't working, you shouldn't feel discouraged. This is really common when businesses try to find a unique visual identity and position in the market. What's more important is how you react.

Now is the time to review your brand assessment and tweak elements of your existing identity (changing simple elements like color can have a huge impact on how a brand works) or create a new identity from scratch. Go back to the market research stage and see if there's anything you might have missed. Could you be more thorough with your industry research? Are you looking for more outside advice on your logo design?

Brand identity design is not an exact science, but with methodical measurement you can have a really good shot at creating something that connects with people on a high level. sentimental and commercial.

Your Essential Brand Identity Checklist

Creating a new brand identity design for your business can be challenging, but it's a rewarding and creative challenge if you take the right steps. This is your checklist, and keep it for creating any new brand identity. This nine-step process will give you a good alternative to tackling any branding project:

1. Do your research - look at the brand recognition of your competitors in your niche

2. Know your niche - understand your USP (unique selling point) in the region

3. Put pen to paper - start with the logo and sketch out a range of symbolic and type-based ideas

4. Narrow down to three logo ideas - before choosing a final design to refine

5. Think about colors - look at the psychology of colors to choose the color that best suits your logo

6. Extend your brand with font type - choose two brand typefaces for title and body

7. Extend your brand with images - define the rules for using photos and graphics in your marketing materials

8. Apply your brand - across print and digital media, such as websites, letterheads and business cards

9. Evaluate your brand - evaluate if your brand is performing and review if it does well

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Quintan Barnes
Quintan Barnes

In the bustling realm of business, crafting a compelling brand identity is paramount. Begin with a vision, a narrative that mirrors your essence. Define your unique selling points, painting a vivid picture of what sets you apart. Dive into color psychology; hues that resonate with your audience. Typography breathes life into your message, evoking emotions. A cohesive logo, memorable and timeless, becomes your emblem. With this ethos, my journey led me to the world of ico crypto, a space where innovation and identity intertwine seamlessly.

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