I often address the brand development side of branding our businesses and leave the brand design content to the other amazing design bloggers out there, but when Connor came to me with this guest post idea, I loved it. Branding your business and designing your brand’s visual identity are two separate steps in your overall brand experience. Understanding how they differentiate while also how dependent they are upon one another in order to convey consistency and clarity behind a brand is crucial.
As a brand designer and developer, this is my main job. Helping you create a brand that not only looks like you, but feels, acts, and sounds like you too.
I am so excited to welcome fellow designer, Connor Kaylin. She too specializes in helping small businesses identify their unique voice and tone of their brand through the partnership of the visual and internal elements of their business.
*NOTE: Since the publishing of this post, Connor has closed her design business to complete her college education.
Branding v.s. Brand Identity
The creative partnership between your brand’s experience and your brand’s visual identity.
Often times branding and brand identity are assumed to be synonymous. While they work together, they are very different. Branding and establishing brand identity for your blog/ business is one of the most exciting parts of the equation! You have the power and privilege to set the tone for what others will feel while interacting on your site as well as their user experience! When establishing your business’ brand as well as its brand identity, incorporating stunning photos and elegant typography won’t be the sole contributing factors to determine whether or not you’ve built a strong brand and an experience users will want to relive again and again. In order to build a genuine, organic, one-of-a-kind brand and establish an identity that has longevity, it all starts with a foundation. YOU!
Throughout this post we’ll talk about the differences between branding as well as brand identity and how you: creative spirit, entrepreneur, empowered genius, can incorporate yourself into your brand!
Branding consists of the core values, dreams and vision you have for your business! Think of it as the manifestation of the framework you’ve created for how your business will be perceived. When people think of branding they automatically think, “Oh it’s how my business looks.” That is true, but there is far more to branding than just the visual aspect. It’s your business message, content, style, elements, products, etc. Branding can even go as far as to describe the types of words you use! It’s a very multifaceted process. It is crucial that your brand serve as an authentic, organic, and raw reflection of who you are and what your business represents! So now the question becomes, “How can I incorporate myself into my brand?” I’m glad you asked.
Exercise: Ask yourself the following questions…
- What do I envision for my blog?
- How do I want my blog to be perceived?
- What is it that keeps people wanting to come back to my blog?
- How can I incorporate being of service to others in my brand?
- What is my blogs message and how can I make sure I’m staying true to my message?
My personal example:
My goal/vision/dream is to make my mark on this world. I can incorporate that same goal into my brand. We are all our own person. We come from different walks of life. We speak different languages. We believe different things. Because of the combination of characteristics, qualities and experiences, no two people are alike which means we all of something amazing, raw and organic to offer! Connor Kaylin can make it’s mark, by providing a different perspective, striving to be of service to others, providing quality experience and products to help enhance the business’ of others, amongst other things!
Brand identity refers to what we see and what we feel. Think of it as the visuals and packaging. The manifestation of qualities. They are the visual components that help to piece together the users experience. So what exactly does brand identity include? Things like color palate, various patterns, typography, shapes, logos, as well as other graphic elements are all apart of the big brand identity picture.
Let’s do an exercise!
Think of popular brand McDonalds. What color is the logo? Yellow. The color yellow evokes certain responses. Things that come to mind are bright, sunny, energetic, warm, happy, perky, joy and lively to name a few. This is an example of brand identity.
One more time?
Think of popular brand Starbucks. What color is the logo? Green and White. The colors green and white evoke certain responses. For white: peace, sterile, simplicity, surrender, cleanliness and purity. As for green: life, environment, crisp, fresh, money, health and harmony. This too represents brand identity.
Now that we’ve gone over a few examples of brand identity let’s really break this down:
- Who you are.
- How you present yourself.
- What you think about yourself.
When establishing your brand’s identity it’s important that you take into account who you are, how you present yourself and what you think about yourself personally. By taking the time to sit down and thoroughly think through your own identity, making your brand’s identity reflect your own, becomes seamless.
Using myself as an example with Connor Kaylin:
I chose to use blue as the primary color featured in the logo and a copper finish for the dandelion. The colors collectively evoke creativity, stimulates productivity, relaxes customers, encourages balance, and life just to give you an idea. All of which are things that I embody in my personal life. I like organization and calm cool colors. My house is even painted as such, as is my wardrobe.
I believe strong brands require a strong foundation. Make sure you take the time to think about how you’d like to incorporate yourself into your brand, the experience you want to create for your customers and how you want your brand to make them feel. If you need to pause and take a minute to reflect, do so! There’s no need to rush. (It’s called a journey and not a race for a reason!) I’ll always encourage you to: Be brave. Take chances. Stay true to who you are. Seek to serve others!
Remember, we’ll be standing behind you cheering you on!
This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I have a whole library of free resources designed and developed for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and bloggers working to articulate and define their brand and visual identity. From worksheets to style guides, take advantage of my resource library right here on Julie Harris Design.
When it comes to defining your own brand, where do you have the most trouble? Is it finding your voice? Branding your visuals? Articulating your mission, vision, and values? What can Connor and I do to help you find the confidence and clarity in your brand, experience or identity, that will help lead you toward success?
Let us know in the comments below!
(your branding best friends)