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Handbook:
How to Build a Powerful Brand Visual Identity in 10 Steps

Build Your Brand Story, Don’t Play “Brand Police”, and Help Your Colleagues Become Brand Advocates!

Brand is so much more than a logo. In developing a brand and a visual identity for an organization, you are responsible for the narrative and story of why the brand exists and the purpose behind it. By walking intentionally through this Brand Guide’s steps, you will be able to much more effectively plan out a brand that not only looks aesthetically pleasing, but also speaks to the greater purpose of the company as a whole.

In this step-by-step Brand Guide, you'll learn:

  • Approaching brand from a holistic viewpoint
  • How to craft a compelling brand narrative
  • A core overview of typography, logo design, and color theory
  • Steps and strategies for selecting the core visual components
  • How to ensure you are following best practices for user experience
  • Creation of a dynamic brand guide as opposed to a PDF document
  • Innovation for brand strategy between design and development teams
  • Internal communication to bring your colleagues on board as brand advocates and give them the tools to succeed!
Step 1

Get Existential and Know Thyself

  • - Why was your organization started, and how is it different from other companies in the market?
  • - Mapping out your customer personas and getting to know them and what their needs are.
Step 2

Construct your Brand Narrative

  • - A brand narrative is a statement that explains the driving force behind the company.
  • - Start with the concept of “WHY” to help unify your brand identity with this Brand Guide.
Step 3

Think of Brand Assets as an Ecosystem

  • - A lot of people think of brand assets (logos, fonts, colors, types of imagery, use of icons, etc) more as isolated components.
  • - The role of a brand strategist is to see them as a part of a larger picture of the overall brand, like furniture within an interior design.
Step 4

Choose the Right Typography

  • - Typography has such a strong link to personality and can be such a fun stage of the branding process!
  • - We go over the basic categories of typefaces, with links to some great suggested font pairings.
Step 5

Design Your Logo in Black and White

  • - Sometimes the most intimidating piece of the initial branding package is the logo.
  • - Start in black & white so that you don’t become biased by color.
  • - We discuss, with examples, the different types of logos, and go over some strategic questions that might help you narrow down your thoughts and get creative!
Step 6

Identify Your Color Palette

  • - You may be living and breathing this brand for a while so choose your color palette carefully!
  • - We go over basic color psychology theory and which brands are using them, and then discuss a few tools and guidelines to help you get going.
Step 7

Accessibility Test Everything!

  • - Far too often, brand teams don’t think as deeply about user experience and accessibility.
  • - Color selection, contrast ratios, color blindness awareness, dubbing of video content, and more are such easy things to consider but often are left by the wayside by designers not following best practices.
  • - Brand teams need to be aware, so that they can create a brand that is also accessible.
Step 8

The Brand Book PDF is Dead

  • - For years, brand teams have been distributing and referring people to PDF documents known as “brand books” or “brand guides”.
  • - Old “brand books” can stick around and haunt you forever!
  • - What’s next? The web-based, dynamic brand portal filled with up-to-date assets and tools that all employees can access on a regular basis.
Step 9

Break Down the Silos: Bring on the Design System!

  • - Typically, marketing brand/design and app/product UX & development have been siloed, leading to a disconnect in look and feel.
  • - The new innovation rolling out in the tech world: the concept of “design systems,” a combination of brand guidelines and development components.
Step 10

Templates & Communication: DIY Doesn’t Mean Going Rogue

  • - Too often an afterthought, internal communication to employees about brand is a key part of implementation strategy.
  • - Those employees can be some of your best advocates!
  • - Giving them the resources they need to be brand stewards expands brand reach through all touchpoints.

Download Brand Guide

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