This appeared on Evans Akanno’s blog here: http://bit.ly/Evansakanno
Brand identity is like sign language. I mean how would you know what to do if you cannot identify a sign, right? So basically people will spend time teaching signs to themselves until they’ve become used to it and respond almost unconsciously when they arise. Logically speaking, you would spend more time teaching complex signs to people than very simple signs that could serve the same purpose. And if it were a game, the guys with simpler signs will have even more people identifying to with them and what they stand for than the guys with complex signs.
In brand identity, it’s a lot more complicated. As a business, your primary goal is to overwhelm your target audience with your type of product or service in order to dissuade them from competition and eventually get them accustomed to your brand. Designs are imperative at this point because they serve as a reminder of the quality of service, whether good or bad, that was delivered by the brand.
Once you are certain about the quality of your product or services, you need to start worrying about the quality of its designs that your target audience will be identifying with – Your Brand Identity. Here are few things to note for your business’s brand identity:
4 Important Things to Note When Building a Brand Identity
Represent your Brand Ideals
You cannot represent water with black or agriculture with red; same thing goes with images. No one would identify easily with brands whose colours/images are misrepresented. These misrepresentations are quite rare to find but I’m sure you get the point already. Take a look at the Brand Identity designs below for Seun Oduntan farm.
Notice how the image of the tree and the colour green all represent the brand ideals which are farming and agriculture. The need for proper imagery and colour is key to better interpretation by a brand’s target audience as well as easy identification. Your Brand Identity designs are viewed almost momentarily by your target audience so it is important that they speak almost instantaneously.
Uniformity across all materials
You cannot have entirely different designs on different things, it’s that simple. It could get clumsy and eventually confusing if you have different designs with different adaptations. Consistency will help your consumers identify your brand on just about anything. Designs should maintain a particular type of font, colour and imagery on every material. See a case study below.
Simplicity – Ambiguity Ruins Everything
Ambiguous designs cannot possibly be implemented with ease on a whole lot of material. Simple designs are way easier to implement on materials and since we are talking about consumer perception and things that would be easy on the eyes, why then should we encourage ambiguous designs. It’s very tricky to express all your brand ideals in one design but then, that should concern the creative design agency that you’ve hired. Resist from all temptation as a business owner from owning a physically attractive design or get smitten by its practicability. Still thinking ambiguous?
I would caption this as unique designs but you see in brand identity, due of the abundance of competition with similar products and services you offer, your designs are expected to be easily differentiated from the rest. Take a look at the Ariel, Omo and Klin brands, all detergents. If you do laundry on your own, I am sure that you might have experimented with these three or isn’t that correct? Now if I turn these detergent packs face down where you are unable to view clearly the brand names, would you still be able to identify which one is which? If the answer is yes, then you have just witnessed effective brand identity designs.
Proper Brand Identity Manual
Big brands compile instructions for the usage of their designs into brand identity manuals. These manuals show acceptable and unacceptable usage of their brand identity designs. Usage on websites, clothing gear, stationery, prints, banners, ads etc. This sort of manual allows for consistency in usage ease brand identification among your target audience.
Finally, you should know that your brand identity isn’t just your business, it is you as well. So be your designs – very unorthodox but true. Wear your colours. Not just clothing gear but your business website, your sporting gear if you are into sports, and any other thing that adding your brand colour won’t look weird on. In other words, don’t be extreme. Don’t wear a green blazer instead of a green tie.