How to Create a Full Brand Identity for a Startup Company
We've already written about the importance of building an effective brand identity and, hopefully, convinced you. However, our tips were general, we didn't go into details. Now it's time to amend the situation and discuss everything in order so that you can avoid common branding mistakes.
In our article, we’re explaining how to build a strong brand identity and achieve the best results. You'll learn what to expect and whom to hire. You'll have all the information you need to make an adequate choice.
Let's begin our story.
When you should create brand identity elements
Firstly, let’s recall that branding means forming a comprehensive idea of the company (or its product-service) in the customer’s mind. The process involves the tools of both design and marketing, and one of its steps is to make a perfect brand identity. And the identity is, as you probably remember, a system of unique visual images and solutions which help you quickly and unambiguously identify a brand and increase its recognition.
We won’t talk about positioning, a brand legend, naming, and other important aspects of branding right now. Our primary task is to address the question of how to build a brand identity and thereby increase profits. And above all, we'll figure out who and when needs it.
Who needs to create a brand identity design:
Commercial organizations. They’re aimed to use the corporate style to connect the company’s visual image with its product and individuate the brand among competitors.
Non-profit organizations (those engaged in social, political, and social activities). Here, the task is to create a positive company’s image and increase the level of people's trust.
Famous personalities. Some people (so-called celebrities) have reached a really high level of popularity and can turn their name into a brand which, too, requires the same accompanying attributes.
When you must create an app branding strategy:
The launch of a new startup. If you’re just starting your business, you should definitely think about your company’s brand strategy.
Change of the project name. There are cases when a businessman, for some objective reasons, is forced to change the name of his product or company. And a new name requires a new identity (which seems obvious).
Project evolution. If you're unhappy with your sales, then try to focus on brand identity and, quite possibly, update it. Sometimes it's enough to redesign the image of the product in order to attract new consumers.
Steps before starting the branding process
Okay, you’ve decided to create a brand style guide, but be patient and take your time! Don't miss a few key preparatory steps. Only an elaborate campaign can prevent branding mistakes to avoid unpleasant surprises and failure.
#1. Defining brand development goals
First of all, you should understand what is so special about your company and what market niche your product or service can occupy.
And, by the way, keep in mind that tradition and classics are great, but no one needs an outdated product, relevance plays an important role as never before. And branding can come in handy in this respect, it’ll help put a good shine on your company, and customers will see it in a new light.
#2. Marketing research
It implies an analysis of the market needs, competitors, and target audience. In the end, in order to find out how to develop a brand identity for the success of your company, you must understand who you'll have to deal with (your potential rivals and consumers).
Alas, today the product cannot cope with competitors, being just quality. It's necessary to become special and radically different from other market players. And marketing research will help you find the right solution.
#3. The brand's strategy based on the key idea
Now starts the work on building brand identity guidelines for this product of yours (or the company itself). The stage includes the identification of the guiding ideas and the compilation of a list of the main criteria which the brand identity must meet.
These three preparatory stages will lead you to writing down a technical project with a detailed and accurate description of your requirements and wishes. And then you'd be quite ready to begin the most interesting stage - the creation of an unforgettable brand identity.
How to develop a brand identity
Now it's time to think about how to create a style guide for your brand. We'll compartmentalize the whole issue and knock it down to key elements.
By the way, what are brand guidelines? What exactly do you need to develop, what elements?
So, the basic brand identity includes…
We can safely say that the whole corporate style is based on the logo. Because this is a logotype which helps you create a brand experience of the top-level and attract more clients.
When working on the logo, remember the following principles:
Conciseness. The logo must have a simple composition, no extra details!
Scalability. Your brand symbol should work in different resolutions and look equally good in any size.
Modernity without pursuing trends. Definitely, no one wants to have an old-fashioned logo, but you had better forget extremely fashionable trends. Otherwise, your symbol will become obsolete too soon. However, you must remember: in order to keep brand identity relevant, you have to work on your logo on a regular basis (it also applies to other elements of identity). We don’t mean you ought to come up with a new idea every year. Minor redesigning from time to time would do just fine.
Expressiveness. The logo should make a strong impression and remain in the memory of the audience for a long time. It's the only way to get a successful brand identity.
Compliance with specific industry standards. You can always abandon conservative design trends and go your own way but do it consciously. And we don’t think that conducting such experiments on your own would be a great idea. Only an experienced designer is able to show originality without depriving his work of relevance and meaning.
Multiformat. For further use, the logo must exist in different formats (raster and vector) and sizes, and it's also desirable to have a black and white version.
Fonts are integral elements of the perfect brand identity of any company. The ability to attract attention, the relevance of the visual perception of the logo, and its memorability depend on them.
There may be several fonts - for different purposes, such as:
creating a text part of the logo;
web-elements (these fonts must have the ability to adapt to different browsers);
design of advertising media materials.
Principles of font selection:
Readability: the excessive ornate font is useless;
Associativity: a good font should be associated with the product (to be luxurious and sophisticated when it comes to expensive jewelry or elite perfume or cause a sense of mobility when talking about technical means);
Compatibility: improper mixing fonts is unacceptable and leads to the chaotic perception of the information by your consumer.
A corporate palette is one more corporate style constants, and you cannot develop brand design without it. A suitable color scheme ensures the unity of the brand perception on advertising and informational platforms and works on the recognition of the entire company. In addition, a thoughtful and harmonious combination of colors is able to create a proper emotional background, which is also important.
Three approaches to selecting a color palette:
monotonous gamma when the palette varies within the same color (using its various shades and saturation levels);
contrast gamma when antipode colors are used. It’s quite good if you have to give a strong impression and quickly draw attention to your product;
moderate gamma (something in between the listed options).
The above concept of a travel application (the work of our designer) clearly shows the choice of color solutions. Visit the project itself to see all its details.
Corporate stationery and other accessories
Before bringing closure to the issue of how to create a brand style guide, you have to think about creating additional elements united by a common corporate style. Classic examples are business cards, badges, envelopes and folders, flyers, calendars, catalogs, souvenirs, and more. All these items must be made using branded colors and fonts.
Any tangible product needs packaging, and packaging is a great (and already paid by you) advertising platform. Spectacular packaging can make a favorable impression on the consumer and stimulate him to new purchases.
Surely, you must have repeatedly noticed that some products on the store shelf attract more of your attention thanks to their attractive design… Unable to resist, you're taking such a product in hand, you're studying the packaging, reading the label. Maybe, you won't buy it, but you'll undoubtedly keep it in your memory, and this is already half the battle.
So, you’ve managed to create brand identity elements but they should be fixed somewhere. And here the brand book comes to the rescue.
Brand Book is a corporate document designed for employees. It systematizes all the ideological elements of your company style, contains a set of rules on the use of the graphics and verbal components, thereby allowing to avoid numerous common branding mistakes.
By the way, among brands with strong brand identity, there are international organizations which usually have several brand books, each of which is adapted for the specific region and takes into account language features, customs, and other things of the same kind.
Who to choose to build a brand identity
We figured out how to build a brand identity, but who will be responsible for this work? There are three main options, each with its pros and cons.
The option is good if you need constant design solutions. Say, you're the owner of a chain store system where new products often appear (and, of course, they require the creation of appropriate packaging).
Unified vision. Working in your company, the designer will be able to penetrate the corporate spirit. It will positively affect his work.
Always at hand. Your expert will always be close to you, whenever you want to see him.
Uneconomical. You’ll have to pay your specialist constantly (as opposed to a one-time payment to a studio or a freelancer).
Not required by most companies. If you just need to create a brand identity design and forget about the whole problem, the in-house expert isn't your choice.
Such an option may suit any company. There are many specialized sites helping to find different freelancers (not only designers).
Cheapness. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but, in general, hiring a freelancer isn’t too expensive.
Availability. A lot of freelancers work outside office hours, which may be convenient.
Instability. You cannot be 100% sure that the freelancer will do the work qualitatively (and that he'll do it at all).
The narrowness of vision. A self-employed designer is often unable to look at a problem extensively. The in-house expert sees the work of the company from the inside, the agency's designer consults with his creative director. But the freelancer doesn’t have such opportunities.
If you stand in need of building an effective brand identity, your best chance is to hire a design agency. This is a great option for medium and large companies with a decent budget.
Professional designers. The studios employee high-class experts with reliable experience and proven skills.
A complex approach. Identity is best developed in conjunction with all the design, which means an agency with diverse specialists is what you should choose.
Many options. If you happen to be unsatisfied with the result of the work, you don't have to give up the studio, just ask to reassign the job to a more experienced designer. In previous cases, you didn't have such an alternative.
High price. Yes, usually such work requires good money (but the result is also good, which means the game is worth the candle).
Long execution time (due to the integrated approach to solving the issue which we’ve already mentioned).
The choice is yours, but it seems to us the best option is the last one. Such experts are experienced and know how to build a strong brand identity. Also, they work in a cohesive team.
Finally, we'll give a couple of tips on principles of selecting the right agency:
Pay attention to the agency website. A virtual representation of the company characterizes the studio as a performer.
Service also plays a role. After talking on Skype (or after exchanging emails, it doesn’t matter) with the manager, you'll be able to understand whether the agency’s experts know their business quite well.
Take a look at the portfolio, presentation, brief. These documents will indicate the level of the company’s expertise.
Strong brand identity is a great way to become more noticeable among competing firms and introduce potential customers to your company. If you want to impress your clients and partners and make sure they remember you, be ready to spend a lot of time and effort on building your unique corporate style. Your work will definitely pay off in full.
We’d be happy to provide you with our qualified assistance to implement this project. Our UI/UX experts know all about building an effective brand identity from scratch and always obtain amazing results. Contact us!