Our one and only, wonderful contributor Lucia Philip has the go to advice for all those seeking to find their identity by finding the right brand to focus on for their business. It can always be daunting when a business is trying to find their feet in such a fast paced industry and here at Life Instyle, we are fortunate to have the savvy Lucia as a valued contributor. Lucia works hard in her own field, whilst also striving to assist all the wonderful up and comers out there.
You’ve been working away at your business for some time now. You’ve got some runs on the board and you’ve also survived some really difficult days. And you’re ready to look like a grown up brand which means getting a brand identity done professionally. It may be the thing you’ve promised yourself you’d do once you landed your first paying customer or after you’d been in business a year. Or perhaps you’ve spent an enormous amount of hard work on sourcing suppliers and setting up your business and now you feel you can breathe and finally have a little fun!
A basic brand identity package will run to at least $1000 on a crowdsourcing platform like 99 Designs. But it can be upwards of $2000 if you want something done by an experienced graphic designer.
A core part of my job is to brief designers on creating a brand identity for clients. This month, I will walk you through what a brand identity is and what you can expect to get for your purchase.
Next month in Part 2, I will show you how to develop a brand that is worthy of a stellar identity.
Your brand identity is not your brand.
Don’t confuse your brand with the brand identity your designer will work up for you.
Your brand is the way you and your business make your customers feel. It is the sum of every interaction you have with them whether over social media, in-person or when you send them a product. These interactions are called touchpoints in marketing speak.
Your graphic designer is responsible for developing a brand identity but only you can be responsible for developing your brand. What does your business stand for? What do you want customers to feel? What are the three words that sum up what you want your brand to be? I’ll talk more about this in my next post.
So, what is a brand identity?
A brand identity is the visual and physical representation of what your brand stands for. Think of it like the cover of a book. A designer will use typeface, colours, materials and a logo to signal to customers the important features of your brand.
For example, ‘eco-friendly,’ ‘luxury’ or ‘value-for-money,’ can all be communicated by the type of bag your product is put in after sale. A brand identity can also include things you might not initially think of as branding. The upmarket hotel brand, Sofitel uses a signature scent in all their reception foyers. So no matter where in the world you are, you’ll feel like you are among friends.
It is really important to remember that your brand identity can only ever be as good as your brand. If the book is empty or badly written, it doesn’t matter how great the cover is. People won’t like it.
What is included in purchasing a brand identity?
A brand identity suite will usually consist of most of the following but keep in mind that each designer will do things differently. This list is a great jumping off point when you are in discussions with potential designers.
1. Logo (marketers usually call this a Wordmark or a Brandmark)
2. Logo Lock-Ups
These are variants of your logo and allow you to use your logo in different locations or for different purposes while maintaining consistency. You may have a white logo but want to share it on a website with a white background. In this case a black version will be needed. Social media platforms often need purpose created lock-ups so that your logo is still easy to read.
3. Colour Palette
This includes your main colours (usually featured in your logo) and some secondary colours. These secondary colours can be useful when it comes to fitting out a retail space, designing marketing materials for print or on an Instagram feed. It is great to be consistent with branding but it can look a bit odd if everything is in one of three colours!
Two fonts are standard for a brand identity. Any more just looks like a mess. Your designer will tell you where to purchase these from (unless he or she uses a free font).
5. Supporting Graphics (or in marketing speak “Extended Visual Language”)
These days it is pretty essential to have social media buttons that are consistent with your brand so find out if these are included in your designer’s package. Depending on your business, you may have other graphics you use frequently. In this case, it makes sense to include these.
6. Brand voice
This might be something you develop yourself but it is important to have it written down and to include it when you are thinking about your brand. Your brand voice may be fun or even cheeky. It may be knowledgeable or reserved.
Whatever your brand voice use it whenever you speak to your customers online or otherwise. Think about how jarring it would be if Chanel shared a post on Instagram with the caption “IDK guys and gals- this is cray-cray!!!!” You would wonder whether the account you were following was an imposter account. That is the power of brand voice.
Working with a graphic designer to develop a brand identity is a lot of fun. Just like picking out paint colours at the end of a long renovation, it is one of those times when you get to see the beautiful outworkings of all the hard work you’ve done. So have fun with the process and celebrate the fact that you’ve come this far.
In my next post, I’ll talk some more about the planning you need to do to ensure that your designer can create an identity that will suit your brand perfectly. And that you’ll love for years to come.
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