When it comes to your company’s brand, your mind probably immediately goes to your logo. While the logo is definitely the foundation of a brand, there is so much more that goes into creating an overall brand identity for a business.
Your brand identity can include your website URL, your brand voice or personality, and your visual elements. Understanding what this means and how to create quality visuals consistently is key to strengthening your brand.
What are visual elements?
In art, visual elements include the lines, colors, shapes and so on that make up the composition. In branding, they include any type of visual media that your business might create, and the components that make up those graphics.
So when it comes to strengthening your brand, your visual assets really matter.
Why are visual elements so important?
A brand strategy incorporates things like your vision, your voice, and your visuals. Putting together what you envision for your company, and for the world with your company in it, alongside your voice and visuals helps to create a strong brand that people recognize and are loyal to.
Your visuals help with brand strength. People might know your business, but if you have a strong visual brand with a set style guide, your audience begins to recognize your business’s content and advertisements without even seeing your business name.
It helps your visuals to resonate with your audience and make them think of your business without you having to label everything. That’s powerful.
Take Panera Bread for example. As we read from left to right and top to bottom, we see the “Now delivering to home or office” copy before we even see the logo.
But due to their strong brand presence, we know that they use that same font in all of their content, including their in-house visual elements and their menu. So we know this is a Panera Bread advertisement before our eyes even get to the logo.
How can you use visual elements to strengthen your brand?
Visual elements also help with brand recognition. If you utilize the same colors, fonts, and design style throughout every promotional material your company creates, people are going to start to recognize it every time they see it.
This is exactly what you want. Because when people remember your business without even hearing or reading your business name, they’re going to be much more likely to buy from you.
There are so many different elements you need to think about when creating a strong visual brand identity. Let’s dive into a few of these, and how you can create consistency across the board.
Brand Style Guide
First things first, having a brand style guide for your business helps to create a set of guidelines for how every visual your company puts out should look. Logo placement, what colors you should use, what fonts to use where and when.
The first step to visual brand strength is creating a cohesive look and feel for every visual element your company puts out that can easily be recreated no matter who is working on it.
There are a few different ways to create a brand style guide, but our favorite over at Visme is an infographic. An infographic style guide showcases your brand story, your logo and how to use it, your fonts, colors and more, all in one fell swoop.
A logo is powerful and should never be undervalued. This is why you should always invest in a quality logo design, as that’s going to represent your brand across the board. While you can DIY most other visual elements, leave your logo to a pro.
Social Media Graphics
The graphics you create on social media have the potential to be shared with new audiences. You want these to encompass your brand, and that includes your brand colors and fonts.
While the graphics you share on each social media platform should incorporate your branding, each individual network also has different areas that need to highlight your brand.
When it comes to your Facebook Page, there are three main areas that you can use to put focus on your brand: your profile photo, cover photo, and Our Story cover.
You should include your logo in your profile photo, and a photo or graphic that represents what your business does in your cover photo and Our Story cover.
The Our Story section is also a great place for you to show off your brand’s voice, and share why your company does what it does.
Similarly to Facebook, you need to brand your profile with a profile photo and cover photo.
Keeping the same profile and cover photo look across your social media platforms allows people to recognize a profile that belongs to your business at a glance.
Instagram also requires a profile photo for your business profile. But one thing that sets this platform apart is its use of Story Highlights.
Instagram Stories live on your profile for only 24 hours, but if you save it to a highlight category, you’re able to keep it alive for much longer. These highlights allow you to choose a cover photo, which offers just one more way to strengthen your brand.
Try incorporating your brand colors and fonts into these highlight covers as well. They’ll match your logo, tying your entire Instagram presence together nicely.
When it comes to your Pinterest profile, you want to, yet again, utilize the profile photo. But you also need to keep your board covers and branded graphics in mind!
Pinterest allows you to choose a cover board to pull pins from that appear at the top of your profile. If you save graphics from your blog or other campaigns to Pinterest, these should all go in a single “Your Company” board in addition to your other boards.
This way, you’re able to use that specific brand board as your cover board and as a showcase board at the top of your profile.
Furthermore, you want to create branded board covers to keep a uniform look throughout your Pinterest profile.
Last but not least, you want to be sure to brand your presence on LinkedIn with your visual elements as well. Yet another profile and cover photo combo helps to strengthen your company’s brand.
Including infographics in your visual content strategy is always a good idea. Visuals can help people retain information better than other formats, and an infographic is a longform visual element that helps to explain data or information about a topic.
For example, this infographic is the visual representation of a blog article that explains how to keep your infographics on brand:
Let’s dive into a few of these points on keeping your infographic on brand.
Use your brand colors.
You want to make sure the infographic looks like it came from your company by using your brand colors. If you need more colors than what your brand uses, try taking advantage of different shades of color rather than bringing in new colors.
This helps to keep the graphics your company puts out similar and streamlined.
Here’s an example from shipping company FedEx:
This infographic was created in their brand purple and orange, making it instantly recognizable as something that FedEx put out.
Incorporate your brand fonts.
Another great way to keep your infographics on brand is by using the same brand fonts you use in your logo, on your website and in every other graphic your business creates. Your style guide should include different fonts for header/subheader and body content, so be sure to utilize those.
Take this FIFA infographic for example:
They’ve created this infographic using their brand fonts to match the rest of their promotional materials, games and more.
Include your logo.
And of course, you want to add your logo to every graphic your company creates. Not only does this help with branding, but it also adds ownership to the content. No one else can grab it and push it off as their own work when your company’s logo is in the header and/or footer.
Add a branded link or QR code.
When sharing an infographic on social media and other places on the web, you can’t create links from specific sections in your infographic. This is why it’s a great idea to add a branded link or QR code to the infographic.
Branded short links make it easier for your audience to see a URL and type it in, or they can use a QR reader on their smartphone to be navigated to the exact landing page that’s relevant to the content in your infographic.
A case study is another great visual element for your business to create and share, and there are many different ways to do so.
You might do this in blog format. You might create it in a design software and save it as a PDF available for download. You might send it in a newsletter.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to keep it on brand. Utilize white space and margins throughout all of your designs. If you create one case study PDF with a one-inch margin, you need to create every case study PDF with a one-inch margin.
You also want to stick to your brand colors and fonts as well as a similar design style. This pertains to your graphic elements and icons. There are several different icon styles to choose from, like line icons, 3D icons, glyph icons, flat icons and more.
Your website is your home base. Everything that leads to your website should be on brand, and their landing page should have the same look and feel.
Although not every website CMS or theme comes with the fonts you might be using in your style guide, you’ll want to upload these to your site, so you can still incorporate them in your design.
Stick to the same brand colors, graphic design elements and photography style throughout.
This includes blog content: your promotional graphics, your headlines, your images/graphics, etc., should all match your branding.
Your newsletter needs to follow the same brand guidelines as everything else. Create a branded header for your newsletter, create graphics for your content where necessary, add in your brand colors and choose a font as close to your brand font as you can.
Most (or maybe even all) newsletter service providers don’t allow its users to upload fonts, so you’re stuck with the limited options they provide. Using a basic font like Open Sans is a great way to include written content in your newsletter that doesn’t look too off brand.
Your thumbnails and transition slides should all match your brand appropriately. Again, use of your logo, brand colors and brand fonts is key here.
YouTube allows you to set your own video thumbnail, and you should absolutely take advantage of this. Creating a cover thumbnail for each video on your channel helps to create a consistent feed that matches your brand.
How can you create visual elements?
While you want a professional logo designed, you don’t have to be a designer to create any of the rest of these visual elements. You don’t need to have access to the Adobe Suite or a comprehensive knowledge of how to use it.
With online software like Visme, an intuitive design platform and visually appealing starter templates, you can create beautiful visuals that strengthen your brand quickly and easily.
Creating a cohesive look and feel across every platform your business lives on and every visual element or piece of content your business creates is essential to achieving a strong and recognizable brand.
Guest author: Chloe West
Chloe is a Content Marketing Manager at Visme, an online graphic design software. She loves to write about digital marketing and design and finding new ways to engage Visme’s audience through content. Chloe is based in Charleston, SC, where she loves exploring her city with her son.
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This Article is About:
- Strengthening a brand with visual elements
- Visual marketing