Uniqueness is the holy grail of brand building, as every business wants to gain the edge over rivals in the same marketplace, and being distinctive is crucial when developing a robust brand identity.
One of the best ways to achieve this is through the impactful use of visual brand language. But what does this mean exactly, and how can modern companies go about standing out from the crowd?
The Components of Visual Brand Language
There are a few elements that come together to make up the way that your brand is expressed and interpreted visually.
The most obvious example is of course the brand logo, which is often the first thing that prospective customers will encounter. It needs to make a good impression, and also be unique enough to be memorable.
Other aspects include everything from the corporate colors you pick to the way you format content and even the name of the business itself, as well as the products and services you offer.
This makes visual brand language an all-encompassing consideration. It is also why it is worth working with a branding agency in Manchester UK, or one which is local to you, so that you can get expert input and advice as you set about building or revamping your brand.
Your Industry and Company Ethos Must Be the Starting Point
One mistake it’s easy to make when analyzing the approach to taking to representing your brand visually is overlooking the expectations of your target audience.
Things like the industry you occupy and the ethos, ethics, and mission statement of your organization have to be taken into account first and foremost. If not, you might end up with a visual identity that clashes with all other aspects of your company. This might make you unique in your marketplace, but it won’t necessarily be helpful in terms of generating growth and achieving traction.
In simple terms, if your company is involved in or aligned with sustainability in some way, reflecting this in your identifying factors makes sense. Likewise, if your brand is consumer-focused and has a broad range of demographics in its sights, approachability will be vital.
Basically, being different for the sake of it, and ignoring the immutable elements of the niche you occupy, won’t be conducive to good brand building.
Of course, this all requires you to have a handle on who your audience actually is. If you aren’t certain on this point, doing customer research and asking for feedback will stand you in good stead.
Your Rivals Can Guide Your Decisions
Before you can set your company apart through visual brand language, you need to know what you are up against. Researching the brand identity of your main competitors is informative, allowing you to see where you can do things differently, and also giving you clues as to how certain branding decisions can succeed or falter, depending on the company and the context.
Again, it is a good idea to use your findings as a blueprint for your own branding, without going too far in the other direction. Competitors will have had a hand in shaping the aforementioned customer expectations, so knowing what other visual identities are out there is advisable.
Your Tone Is Influential
If the visual language you use is friendly and approachable, but your tone is overly formal, professional, or impenetrably wordy, this will generate a jarring juxtaposition that will confuse customers.
As such, you need to think about the ways in which your visual identity connects with and combines alongside the cavalcade of other factors that are at play in your brand building.
If you are struggling with this, it’s helpful to break down the elements that will define your brand tone into three main concepts.
These can be straightforward and unambiguous, such as sustainability or cost-effectiveness. They can be more nebulous, such as passion or persistence.
Whichever you choose, these concepts can form the foundation for your brand tone, as well as the visual language you deploy alongside this.
Color Is Captivating
It’s impossible to discuss visual brand language without analyzing the use of color. Many of the most recognizable brands in the world have managed to monopolize certain hues and color combinations, to the point that they are inseparable from the brand itself, no matter where they might appear.
Obviously, it’s unreasonable to expect up-and-coming brands to master color immediately in this way, but it is still a prime example of how careful, subtle choices can have a marked impact on how a company is perceived and whether it lingers in the minds of consumers.
Color has to be interwoven with all of the other elements discussed earlier, such as the expectations that come with your industry and your ethos. It must also be used consistently and liberally, appearing not only in your logo but in as many other contexts as you can think of.
Change Is Always Possible
The last point that you need to absorb is that attempting to set your company apart through visual brand language is not always going to be achieved successfully on your first attempt.
You need to be willing to try things out, see how they perform, assess whether they are connecting with your audience, and make changes if they still leave something to be desired.
All brands evolve and change, and after a certain amount of time, a refresh will be needed to ensure your company feels relevant and vital, rather than archaic and outdated.
The important thing to avoid is complacency. Brand identity matters more than you know, and standing out from the crowd in the right way can cause your company to skyrocket, even if there is not a lot separating you from your competitors in other areas.