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What is a visual identity?

A visual identity is often what people think of when they instinctively think “Branding”. Your visual identity is composed of the different designed elements that distinguish you from other businesses as well as your competitors.

A challenge for a visual identity is to be able to balance the need of consistency with flexibility. Having too rigid of a visual identity can make entering new channels or launching new products difficult. But not having enough guidelines within a visual identity means it’s easy to quickly lose consistency and brand recognition. The art is in the balance.

Your visual identity includes but is not limited to:

  • Logo(s)

  • Color Palette

  • Fonts

  • Icons

  • Illustrations

  • Brand Patterns

All together, your visual identity is what dictates what your business looks like throughout different channels whether that’s your website, app, social media accounts, billboards, advertisements, etc.

One core task of your visual identity is to cue potential customers to what kind of business you are. I mean this in the most literal and philosophical sense. You want our logo, colors, illustrations and photos to accurately represent your product or service. These same elements also provide information as to how you run your business.

Example Time: Several years ago, Away luggage became an incredibly popular brand. It was trendy, cool, woman owned, and positioning itself as a different kind of luggage company. And it worked. Millennials flocked to the brand. Then in 2019 The Verge released a damning piece that showed that while the brand had this “different kind of company” energy, internally they were dealing with consistently toxic work environment. This led to their CEO stepping down in 2020 and now there are hundreds of Away competitors.

Why do I mention this nearly 3 year old story? Because part of the reason the backlash was so drastic was because of Away’s branding and the visual identity that propelled them to the spotlight. When you invest in your brand and visual identity, you can reap the rewards. And if your actions don’t align with that messaging, you get hit just as hard. That’s what we mean when we say Branding is Everything.


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