What Is Visual Identity?

A visual identity is the combination of design elements people use to recognize your company. 

In general, your visual identity is composed of the brand’s overall aesthetic, use of colors, logo, brand name, typography, and smaller visual elements. These components, while minor on their own, can create a major impact on your brand identity when combined strategically. One example of a visual identity champion is McDonald’s. From their iconic arches to their color palette, they are a globally recognized brand. They’ve created a visual identity that isn’t limited by language or cultural boundaries.

Memorable, recognizable, and admirable are the three central goals of a strong brand identity. But of course, that’s easier said than done. Your visual identity should always be considered in context to your competitor set. If you’re a fast-food chain, McDonald’s red and yellow should probably come off the table. But if you’re an emerging tech company, those colors may be a great opportunity to differentiate in your industry! Consider working with a reputable branding and marketing agency, such as Bluetext, to run a full competitive analysis and to ensure you have a well-planned out brand that you can consistently maintain. 

Why Is It Important?

A well-defined visual identity allows you to ensure all your brand designs support your company and its overall business goals. In creating a visual identity, you’ll want to ensure you choose a logo, color palettes, fonts, visuals, and design style that fits the way you want your company positioned in the market. Are you looking for approachability? Maybe you want to be perceived as more aggressive in price or quality. All of these brand attributes can be strengthened with visual elements. Beyond defining these individual elements, you’ll want to ensure they are cohesive and can be used consistently. 

By creating a consistent and well-defined visual identity you become more memorable and recognizable for your customers. 

In developing your visual identity, there are countless free checklists and templates to utilize. But a word of caution, nothing can replace the creativity of a top-quality graphic designer. The good news? Bluetext has a full design team that’s ready to assist you every step of the way in developing your company’s visual identity. 

Do you really want your brand to stand out? Then consider a custom font. Companies such as Netflix, Google, Apple, and the BBC all utilize custom fonts to help stand out from the competition while increasing their recognizability. Just ensure your custom font meets accessibility standards. Decorative or overly stylized fonts can often be difficult to read even for users without visual impairments or reading disabilities.

Key Elements of a Visual Identity

So where do you begin building a strong visual identity? This is far from an all-encompassing list, but here are the top elements Bluetext suggests you start with. Keep in mind, the priority elements may vary based on the platform and the brand. For example, the specific visual identity elements needed for an app for a global brand will be different from what’s needed for a regional-sized company’s desktop site. 

That being said, here’s a concise list of elements Bluetext considers cornerstone in a brand identity:

  • Logo: Essential for every business. Your logo is one of the first elements users will notice, so you need to make sure it’s memorable. 
  • Color Palette: Defining your band’s color palette increases consistency across your brand. 
  • Fonts: Again, a consistent font is essential. Whether it’s a set of free fonts or custom fonts, make sure they reflect your business’ goals. 
  • Visuals: From iconography to images, ensuring they align with the rest of your visual identity is essential. 
  • Design Style: Whether its modern, eclectic, or industrial, sticking to one design will increase coherence between all your visual identity elements. 

Creating Your New Visual Identity

A good place to start in any rebrand?  Consider looking at other notable companies, within and outside your own industry! There is brand inspiration all around us, so next step; ensure the success of your new brand by enlisting the help of a professional, such as Bluetext. A branding agency can take your list of brand inspirations, along with creative field trip and industry-backed insights to help guide you through every step of the way. 

One of the biggest takeaways is to ensure each element supports each other and thus the overall visual identity. The other most important takeaway is to ensure you consistently use your visual identity across all branding opportunities to set your company up for success.