How to Craft a Visual Identity: 5 Elements to Keep In Mind

    September 24 2017

    It can be difficult for brands to establish their very own visual identity and become recognizable across multiple social media platforms. Don’t stress! We’ve got five tips that will help you achieve an awesome, recognizable visual identity. First, let’s look at a couple of fundamentals of visual branding for social media - your logo mark and colors.

    Your logo, including the mark and colors, is often your brand’s first impression. Think of it as your brand walking out on the red carpet and everyone is looking to see what it’s wearing. Before you set out to create, or update, social media profiles across multiple channels, examine your logo. What does it say about you? How does it make people feel? Once you have a logo you love and others will connect with, then it’s time to craft your visual identity. 

    Logo Design and Color

    Color psychology is used to influence the way people see and experience a brand through color. Certain colors have been proven to elicit certain emotions in people. Big brands have taken note of this science and used it in their logo designs. Most logos you see are not “accidental” colors. So, what does your color say about your brand? Find out here

    When it comes to leveraging your logo design and color in your visual identity, think about things such as the font colors on text overlays, color backgrounds, filters used with photos, etc. The first step to creating a cohesive look on your social media channels is complimenting the brand’s colors. 

    Another factor to consider is your logo font and design. Is it soft, rigid, playful, sophisticated? Make sure that your logo represents your brand’s vibe. If you don’t yet have a logo, you can easily create one online. However, it is a wise investment to work with someone personally so you can convey what you want people to think and feel when they see your brand. Then, the designer can help bring that to life for you. 

    Now, let’s dive into the practical tips you can use to help create a recognizable visual identity for your brand on social media. 

    5 Tips For a Recognizable Visual Identity

    Tip 1: Your Username. When choosing a username, it's important your username “handle” remains consistent across all social platforms to ensure overall cohesion and optimal searchability across multiple platforms. This matters because your handle tells people who you are. It can also convey what you do (i.e. Name Bakery). When your name is consistent across all platforms you engage with, people can easily find you. 

    Something to consider if your exact brand name is not available is location. It happens, the name of your business is also the name of another business in another place. When this happens, consider adding in the location. For example, if you are a handyman in Austin, TX and your business is called  Fix It Handyman which is already taken, try fixithandymanATX. Whatever you choose, make sure you can get the same name for every platform. 

    Tip 2: Your Vibe. When people visit your pages, what do they see? Does it look like a cluttered mess or is there obvious thought and care put into the content vibe? The best way to ensure that the vibe you are going for comes across in your content is to have a plan. There’s a time and a place for scrappy content but it needs to blend in with your overall strategy. Working with your logo design and colors, write out what you want your vibe to be. This includes the photo filters you will use, colors, layout and fonts. Once you have your social media style guide created, make sure all content adheres to it. 

    A great example of how one brand is skillfully using fonts and colors to create their social media vibe is @joincoa. Whether they are posting a quote, sales pitch or photo, it all feels the same. And if you were to navigate over to Facebook to look for them, you’d see it is the same there as well. 

    Tip 3: Your Tone. Even in a world where photo and video content rule, your words matter. The captions on your posts can be just as important as the postmedia. Do you want people to consume your content for entertainment, education or inspiration? Your captions and hashtags need to align with that goal.  

    An example of an account that aims to educate and entertain is @workinprogress. With each caption, you get the same welcoming feeling, like you are being invited to the conversation. They explain what they are talking about on the show and even offer a “why” to tune in. 

    Tip 4: Your Activity. There’s a saying that people are the sum of the five people they spend the most time with. People will look at not only what you post but who you follow and engage with as well. When you interact on social media as your brand, does your activity help create the online community you want to grow? Being active with other accounts in your industry will also expose your handle to people who may not have found you just by searching. 

    An example of creating an online community can be seen with @carolinagelen. She often creates Reels with posts that others have made with her recipes. She encourages them and gives a shoutout when they create one of her masterpieces. And she tags them. On the flip side, she learns about their cooking accomplishments because they tagged her in the original post. See how it works being “social” on social media ;-). 

    Tip 5: YOU! Above all, be you. “Authenticity” is not a buzzword, it’s real. While you put a lot of strategy behind all the technical pieces of your visual identity, at the end of the day, people want to know and connect with the real YOU!

    Take a look at @delicateforkingflower. This is a unique personal brand that highlights her originality and personality. A former cooking competition contestant, singer, actor, and powerlifter all rolled into one tiny person with a big personality. 

    As we said in the beginning, we know it can be difficult for brands to establish their very own visual identity. With the five tips in this article, now you can overcome some of the barriers and shine through with a recognizable visual identity. We’ll be looking for you!

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    Learn more about Allie Teegardin, on PLANOLY

    Allie Teegardin

    Allie Teegardin is a contributing writer at PLANOLY. As a writer, adjunct professor, and baker, she makes sure to add value to whatever she creates.

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