The face of your company is its visual identity. It’s the overall visual representation of who you are, what you do, and who you serve.
You’ve probably heard that first impressions count. This is a common expression, and that’s because impressions matter even more than you may think. That first impression can help or hurt your brand. It can be the difference between potential buyers clicking purchase or clicking away from your website or offer.
Studies have shown that you have just seconds to make the right impression. There are many factors that are a part of this first impression, but visuals make the very first – and strongest – initial impression.
Sorry to say it, but people do judge a book by its cover. And people will be judging your business and offers within just seconds of coming across them.
The pieces and parts of a visual identity typically include:
- Brand colors
- Text Fonts
- Images (on your website, print, social media, etc.)
- Branded stationery and deliverables
The key is to present each of these as parts of a cohesive, uniform visual story. This means your visuals balance and complement each other, they are in line with your company ethos, and they recognizable. You need every element to stand out in your marketplace. Done correctly, your visual identity does just that.
Here’s how your visual identity boosts your customer engagement and marketplace credibility:
- It builds trust.
Consistency seems minor but has a big impact. Likewise, when visual identity is not consistent, the consequence can damage your image. Your community needs to know they can rely on you to create the same quality of products they’ve received before, and provide the same level of customer service they received before. Although your visuals seem unrelated, they’re not. The consistency of visuals reinforces and builds trust.
- It distinguishes you.
When your visual identity is unique to your company, people recognize it. They know who you are just by glimpsing your visuals. This makes you identifiable in a sea of competition.
Let’s look at a few companies with notable visual identities.
Airbnb is a portal for planning experiences and trips away from home. When we look at their marketing material, we see a bold upbeat look. We see the primary branding color, pink, along with people-heavy images and a fun, adventurous feel to their website. This fits with the Airbnb lifestyle. It’s a well-crafted image of free-spirited living.
The company centers around people and the experiences they have when away from home. And aptly so, their marketing material visuals paint a picture of people doing just that: having enjoyable experiences.
Now, let’s look at Dropbox, specifically their website. Dropbox is a storage and organization solution. A quick glance over their visual identity and we see elements including sharp lines and solid colors. We also see a logo that’s a simple, open box, the perfect representation for what they do. Their overall aesthetic looks creative but is still clean and organized. This is right in line with their mission and who they serve.
Everything about their visual presentation says non-complex, straightforward, and organized; the same way you would want your files to be stored.
Their offer is to help people sort, store, and backup pertinent documents and media in the cloud. The clean, sharp visuals reinforce simplicity and invoke trust, two characteristics you would rely on for storage and organization.
Now it’s your turn.
Are you clear about your company’s visual identity?
Are you confident with the overall picture you present to your audience and marketplace?
Colors, images, embellishments, fonts, all have meaning and elicit moods. Every detail matters. Do yours represent your company, brand personality? Are they relevant to your specific market segment? What do they communicate? Are they balanced and distinguishable?
Creating a clear, unique visual identity is a process with many parts. You’ll know you’ve succeeded when your community can quickly identify your company just by your visuals.
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to dedicate resources to choose the right color combinations and visuals for all your marketing material, products, deliverables. Everything you share with the world represents your brand, and so, all the visuals matter.
Creating your visual identity is not a hurried process. It takes time and effort, and the results need to sync with the other pillars of the Branding Framework. It’s a focused, detailed process to make sure your visual identity communicates and personifies your brand with accuracy. But it’s a necessary process that’s part of the foundation of a trustworthy, recognizable brand.