Visual Communication: Creating an Effective Brand Identity.
Posted by Cass Fanara
Whether you are looking to develop an existing Logo into a fully fledged Brand or create something for personal use, or for business; this article will outline the relevance, importance and execution of creating an effective visual brand identity, that strongly affirms ‘Who YOU Are’ across offline channels (e.g. Business Stationery, Signage) and multiple online channels (Website, Marketing/Advertising and Social Media).
What is Visual Communication?
“Visual communication is described as the conveyance of ideas and information in forms that can be read or looked upon”. (Galang, 2012)
Image transcends language, both written and spoken. No matter which language is communicated – people will always share a natural understanding of the visual image. Studies suggest that “As human beings, our brains are wired for images. According to research from 3M Corporation, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. This is because we take in all the data from an image simultaneously while we process text in a sequential fashion.” (Burmark, 2004)
“Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about 7 bits of information (plus or minus 2). This is why, by the way, that we have 7-digit phone numbers. Images, on the other hand, go directly into long term memory where they are indelibly etched.” (Burmark, 2004)
When applying this in practical terms, the most effective way of communicating a brands identity is through the use of visual media, in order to maximise awareness and ultimately increase revenue streams.
Creating an Effective Brand Identity:
As a starting point, the brand concept must be conceived; so that it directly communicates who or what it is? what is it’s purpose? and who is the target audience? The logo design must visually encapsulate and represent all of these elements.
It is hugely important that the design and style of the logo fully reflects the brand message, to ensure that the target audience recognises it immediately. The logo must be simple enough to be perceived quickly and with ease, and also have enough visual content to be memorable so that the audience creates a strong visual association with the brand overall.
The following outlines key elements to consider when creating a Logo Design:
Symbolism: Create an original and unique visual device that illustrates your brand effectively. You can rarely go wrong when using clean lines, strong shapes and a simple, modern Sans Serif Font Family. Ensure that the design isn’t too complex, so that it reads well up close and from long distances. I recommend initially creating the logo in Greyscale, as use of colour can be distracting. If the logo works in black and white; it will work in colour.
Colour Theory: It is well known that use of colour can evoke subliminal and even emotional responses. Be aware of which colours you are using and what they express. For example: Using red predominantly in an Organic Food Company logo may detract from what the brand is trying to represent. Using natural tones like green or brown may be more effective and coincide with the brands ethos. Also, note in what circumstances will these colours be used? and choose appropriately. e.g. Colour Blind people find it difficult to see certain colours together.
Text Content: Keep the text within the logo concise and to the point – Name and Tagline. Note any other relevant information like specific contact details as a separate entity.
Ultimately – cater to your target audience. Through market research; ascertain their likes, dislikes and what would visually create the strongest response and call to action.
Developing your Brand Identity:
Once the logo has been created, it can be shaped into an effective brand by adapting its design concept naturally across all related visuals and media, e.g. Business Stationery, Email Signatures, Signage and across all online platforms.
Consistency is key. Stick to the specific design concept, style or theme of your logo and create further visual accents (e.g. backgrounds, borders or images) that enhance the brand image rather than detract or confuse your audience. Choose a specific set of style guidelines (fonts, sizes, shapes, related imagery) and keep to them. This will ensure audience brand recognition and enhance the perception of credibility and professionalism.
Applying your Brand Identity in practice:
When you are confident that your Logo and Brand concept is 100%, its now time to unleash it too the world! The following is an outline of potential steps you could take to promote your brand both Online and Offline.
- Start off with branded Print Stationery; like Business Cards, Letterheads and Compliment Slips. Then if relevant; create, develop and promote printed advertisements in Newspapers, Magazine publications, Signage, Calendars etc. If your business/brand is really starting to thrive – perhaps look into television and radio advertisement.
Please note that as a trend; an increasing amount of visual forms of advertising and promotion are being expressed in the online world (rather than the offline) due to the increasing popularity and enhancement of modern technology – e.g. Smartphones, Tablets, Mobile Applications etc. Therefore, you should assess which medium of promotion will maximise brand awareness; with the best value for money.
- Start of by creating an original Website or Blog. ‘WordPress.com’ (http://wordpress.com/) for example is an excellent medium for creating your own website/blog.
- Blogging about your brand and related topics is also a hugely effective way of creating audience engagement, loyalty and awareness.
- Social Media: Create a Facebook Page (not a Personal Account!). When using a Facebook Page; you can avail of Facebook Insights and engagement statistics. Access the link to the Facebook ‘About Page Insights’ here: https://www.facebook.com/help/336893449723054/
- Create a corresponding Twitter.com account and Tweet regularly. Depending upon the relevance to your brand; create a YouTube.com, Foursquare.com, LinkedIn.com, Instagram.com, Pinterest.com or Google+ profile. There are so may to choose from – these are but a few!
- Websites like Hootsuite.com and TweetDeck.com are great tools to Monitor, Maintain and Manage your online social media channels. Mailchimp.com and Polldaddy.com are very effective if you wish to send out email newsletters and create polls aimed towards your target audience.
As a further consideration it is also important to note the ever increasing presence and importance of Online Multimedia Channels; for not only advertising, brand promotion and entertainment. But also the increase in Audio Visual Media for Teaching/Tutorials, Learning and Understanding.
For example; YouTube.com encapsulates all of the above and is a hugely valuable online resource. As are websites like Slideshare and Mashable.com. Some effective examples of this can be seen via the following links:
YouTube: Entertainment and Social Engagement: “YouTube is partnering with Cowell’s company Syco to launch the first-ever online global talent competition.” (Mashable.com, 2013)
‘The You Generation’ YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/yougenerationtv
YouTube: Teaching: ‘Malcolm Gladwell: Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce.’ An Absolutely Fantastic example of learning through Audio Visual Media. YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIiAAhUeR6Y
YouTube: Brand Promotion: Three – The Pony #DancePonyDance.
YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ekr05T9Iaio
I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this article, and that you’ve learned a bit more about Visual Communication! I welcome any comments, queries and feedback, and I look forward to posting about another Digital Marketing related topic very soon!
As always, thanks for reading!
Posted on March 24, 2013, in Brand Identity, Digital Marketing, Email Marketing, Facebook, Logo Design, Online Advertising, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Visual Communication and tagged advertising, Brand Identity, business, design, Logo Design, Marketing, target audience, Visual Communication, Visual Identity. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.