What Is a Brand Identity?

Your business’s personality and ability to build relationships are key

Graphic designer sketching logo ideas
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Cavan Images / Getty Images

A brand identity helps define a business’s personality and relationship with its target audience. It consists of a collection of design elements (logo, typography, color palette, and shapes) along with messaging that your business will communicate. The visual elements and messaging chosen allow your customers to recognize your business and develop a lasting relationship.

To create a brand identity that resonates with your ideal target audience and builds loyalty, it’s important to learn the development process, and explore the critical visual elements involved.

Definition and Example of Brand Identity 

A brand identity consists of not only the visual elements including logo, design, and color scheme, but the messaging that helps define your business’s personality and distinguish it in your target audience’s minds.

Alternate name: Brand image, visual identity

Branding expert Walter Landor once said, “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” When you consider how to develop your brand’s identity, analyze popular brands to understand how their visual identities and messaging are positioned to build trust and loyalty with an ideal customer.

For example, a household name with a strong brand identity is Coca-Cola. When consumers typically think of the beverage company, the red background with “Coca-Cola” written in white with a cursive font comes to mind. The brand is also synonymous with harmony and happiness, particularly in its advertisements, from its classic “Hilltop” spot featuring the song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”  to the more recent, Emmy-nominated “Happiness Factory.”

Identify your ideal client before beginning to develop your brand identity.

Why Is Brand Identity Important?

Developing a compelling brand identity will allow you to define your business, tell your story in an instant, and form a bond with customers. When you can connect with your ideal customer base, you will find more satisfaction in doing business because you provide the products or services you love to share. Satisfied customers reciprocate by sharing what they love about your business on social media, for instance, which helps build trust and awareness of your brand and, in turn, potentially drives growth.

How To Develop Your Business’s Brand Identity 

Your brand identity is your business’s personality, and it’s much more significant than just design elements. So before you enter the design phase, you must define your business and its purpose. Here are the questions you should answer:

  • What is your mission?
  • What are your core beliefs?
  • What makes your business unique within your industry?
  • What is your brand voice and personality?

Identifying Your Business’s Visual Brand Identity 

Once you have developed the foundation of your brand, you can begin working with a graphic designer to create the visual elements of your brand identity. Your graphic designer will construct these design assets to become the foundation of marketing your business.

Choose a graphic designer who understands your business and its purpose to create design elements.


Here are several design elements that are important to be consistent in positioning your brand:

Typography 

Choose fonts that will speak directly to your target audience. For example, if you are targeting your product or service to women between the ages of 30 and 40, you would choose a different font style than if you were targeting women between the ages of 60 and 70.

Brand Colors 

People’s emotions and ability to connect with a brand are linked to colors. Therefore, you want to choose a color palette that will help your audience trust your brand.

Shapes 

What specific shapes will you use in the design of your logo?

Once you have identified the typography, color palette, and various shapes your business will use to develop its visual identity, you can create the following marketing materials for your business:

  • Logo
  • Website
  • Business cards
  • Brochures
  • Product packaging
  • Banners

Can You Change Your Brand Identity? 

As your business grows, its identity will evolve. However, your new identity will still need to be aligned with your original core values so that you do not lose the brand loyalty of your target audience.

Always remember that your brand’s identity is based on its unique positioning within your industry. You may have plenty of competitors, but only you will be able to provide a specific, valuable product or service through your business.

Key Takeaways

  • Your brand identity is how you want your ideal customer to view your business.
  • Analyze popular brands to understand how they develop their brand identities and build customer loyalty.
  • Define your business and its purpose before developing your visual brand identity.
  • Develop designs that will connect with your ideal customer immediately.
  • Your brand identity will evolve—and it should—but your core values should remain consistent.