visual branding

When a consumer comes across your brand, the first thing they notice is your visual branding. Depending on how your visual identity is, they make assumptions about your products and services.

To make a great first impression, you need to have a brand image that conveys to your consumers exactly what you want them to know about your products or business at a glance.

Today we will be talking about visual branding - what it is and why it matters.

What is Visual Branding?

Visual branding is an important aspect of marketing for your business. It includes all the visual elements that you create and use for representing your business. Your logo, business card design, website theme, and signage are all part of your visual identity. Each of these elements works together to form an overall visual feel and impression of your brand.

There are several purposes that your visual branding serves.

  • It conveys your brand personality.
  • It creates an emotional impact on your prospects.
  • It helps your audience learn about your brand.
  • It unites the different fragments and aspects of your brand.

Anybody who sees and observes your visual branding can derive the following information from it.

  • What kind of niche market you are targeting
  • What your unique selling proposition is
  • What kind of products and services to expect from your business

Whether consumers see your visual branding in your newsletter, website, or Instagram post, your overall visual brand identity will be reflected in them. It will be almost as if your business is speaking to them.

Importance of a Visual Branding Strategy

When customers walk into a retail store or visit an online store, they judge the book by its cover. In simple terms, they are judging or evaluating your business by your visual branding.

Why is that so? Well, your visual identity gives them hints about the customer experience they will have once they engage with your brand. When potential customers come across your visual branding, they will expect the same quality of your products and services that they judge from your visual brand identity. If they don’t find your visual branding impressive, they will probably expect sloppy quality service from you. But if they feel playful, fun and attracted by your visual identity, they will look forward to working with you, buying from you, or associating themselves with your brand. The more elite and exclusive your visual identity appears to them, the more seriously they will take their matters with you.

In other words, visual branding will contribute to your product positioning. It indicates where you stand in the market about the competition. If you use custom design work and high-end visuals, you communicate to your prospects that you charge premium prices. On the other hand, if your visuals seem to be squeezing the bare minimum from your customers, you’ll put out the impression that you have a small budget to keep your business running and thus charge low prices.

The 5 Elements of Visual Branding

To create a powerful visual branding strategy, you need to be familiar with the elements that form a brand’s visual identity. There are five key components.

1. Logo

Your brand logo is like an umbrella of your visual brand identity. It describes and somehow covers all the other elements that represent your brand. That’s why it’s critical that your logo looks unique and reinforces your business name and brand personality. It is like the face of your brand.

a Strikingly user's website, showing the brand logo in an image

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

When creating a visual branding strategy, you can play around with different logo designs until you come up with the final version. One logotype is the wordmark. This is composed of text and is usually your brand name, written in a fancy font and style. Examples would be the boxy FedEx logo and the cursive Coca-Cola logo. These are instantly recognizable due to the type of their wordmarks.

The other logotype is the brand mark. This is also sometimes called the logo mark, which is used to represent your brand. An example would be the Nike Swoosh. Some logos are combinations of wordmark and brand mark, either used together or separately, depending on the business owner’s preference.

2. Typography

When you produce and publish marketing or informative content about your brand, your text will always have a particular font and style. The appearance of your text on a web page or computer screen adds to the meaning and message you convey to the audience. If you use big block letters, it means you are conveying stability and strength. If you use a swirling script, you are displaying tradition and elegance. These meanings are derived from typography, which is part of your visual branding.

Typography is a full-fledged science about visual art that relates to the way text is displayed. The specific fonts a brand uses comes from typography and contribute to the brand’s visual identity.

Many organizations take advice from graphic design experts before finalizing the typography of their brand. Many graphic designers recommend using a combination of sans serif font and a serif font for the headers and the following text. ‘Serifs’ are little tapering lines that distinguish the titles from the body copy. They give your content a balanced feel.

3. Color Palette

The color palette that you choose for your brand logo usually creates an emotional impact on the audience. Your brand’s color theme communicates the characteristics of your products and the features of any services you offer.

A website built on Strikingly promoting social programs to empower individuals

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Colors have their language. For example, Verdant shades of green represent nature and balance, while cool blues reflect peace and calm. A sunny yellow color suggests optimism and warmth. Hence, the colors you use in your marketing content set the mood that your audience views your brand.

4. Graphic Elements

Any additional graphical details that add a feel to your brand are also part of your visual branding. When you build your marketing collateral or other design pieces, you can include many graphic design elements, such as shapes, textures, patterns, linework, icons, positive and negative space, and formatting. After creating, you can render these in your color palette. It’s a good idea to give them similar visual qualities as your typography and logo design.

5. Imagery

All the photos and illustrations that are part of your marketing content should have the same theme, colors and style as the other elements discussed above. You can use different sources to create imagery, such as stock photography, original shots, vector art, or custom graphics. Your imagery further reinforces your brand personality.

product images on a Strikingly user's website selling detoxifying drinks

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

A picture can speak hundreds of words. That’s why all your products and brand imagery must convey the right messages to the audience. The creative direction of your images should display the same color palette that you use for the rest of the visual branding elements.

Characteristics of a Good Visual Branding Strategy

If your visual identity is superb, it will be easy for your brand to build a fantastic brand image right from the start. You can continue to build your brand awareness as you grow your business, but the first impression would still carry weight.

Here are the characteristics of an excellent visual branding strategy.

1. It’s Meaningful

Your visual branding carries your marketing messages. This visual language emphasizes your brand personality. The fonts, colors and images that you use display emotions, attitudes and attributes. In other words, your visual identity should be meaningful.

2. It’s Memorable

One primary purpose of visual branding is to make your brand and business memorable for consumers. All the elements of your visual branding strategy should work together to make your products unique and recognizable. Include cues that connect your message with your industry. Use your visual identity to communicate where you come from, what you do, and how you plan to serve your customers.

3. It’s Simple

On the one hand, your visual brand identity should distinguish you from the competition. But on the other hand, it should be simple too. Your audience needs to be able to understand and remember your brand through your visual identity.

Landing page of GDC Consulting stating its unique selling proposition

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

If people are asked to draw logos from their memory, they will never forget and draw the simplest ones. This is because the more uncomplicated your visual branding, the easier it is to recall. For example, the logo of Audi is a lot simpler than that of Alfa Romeo. The Ferrari logo is even more complicated.

4. It’s Versatile

To make your visual branding strategy consistent, you must incorporate versatile and practical elements into it. After all, you need to make sure that all your branded assets represent the same visual identity. The branded assets include your brand website, your adverts, your social media content, any print materials, product packaging, product labeling, business cards, mobile apps, email communications, branded merchandise, uniforms for your staff (if any), retail outlet design, office interior, and more.

Strikingly user's website screenshot showing consistency and versatility in its visual branding

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Suppose you use Strikingly to build your brand website. In that case, it will be relatively more straightforward for you to develop and maintain an elegant and consistent visual branding across all your marketing content. Our templates and themes use contrasting color palettes, images can be uploaded easily with our drag and drop feature, and you can adjust the layout of pages with the cursor on the spot.

Our customer support team is available through our live chat feature 24/7. If you have trouble understanding or using any of our tools, you can contact us with your queries anytime. We have hundreds of users who have built a beautiful website on Strikingly and are proud of their visual branding.