October 20, 2022

Design theory: What is brand identity?

Design Theory: Brand identity is more than how you look - it's what makes your organisation unique.

Design theory: What is brand identity?

Brand identity is more than a good-looking logo, aesthetically pleasing colour palette and clean website. Although these are all essential components of your brand’s appearance, brand identity includes the values that underpin your organisation, vision, and mission.

It’s not just about how you look – it’s what makes your organisation unique.

Read on to learn more about how to build an eye-catching brand identity – straight from the horse’s (sorry, Senior Creative Lead Nick’s) mouth. And the best bit? You probably already know all you need to get started.

The outward face of brand identity

The visible elements of a brand are key to its public identity. The outward elements such as logo, colours, language and tone of voice all help your market understand your organisation’s personality. Because you’re not a pretty logo alone (and neither is brand identity), it’s important to consider how your values and mission are externally communicated.

When we sit down with a client, we get to the heart of their organisation. Before we start designing and writing, we find out who they are, what they want to say, and why they want to say it.

We ask questions of our clients to ensure that we know (almost) as much as they do about their organisation. So we can accurately communicate their values and their mission.  Questions like…

  • What am I doing and – and why am I doing it?  
  • What are my values?
  • How do I want to present myself – approachable, formal, funny?  
  • How will my audience respond to this representation?
  • What is important to my business?
  • Where do I want to stand in comparison to my competitors?

Different aspects of brand identity

Brand identity can be complex. You have to take into account not only your organisation’s own values and motivations, but also how it will stand up among the other voices in your industry. You probably do things differently to them.  A brand identity is about communicating that difference.

Here’s our breakdown of its different aspects. Take all of them into account and consider the implications of each on your reputation and audience. And if you need a team of experts to help you along your branding journey, you know where we are…

  • Logo
  • Colour palette
  • Tone of Voice
  • Typography
  • Taglines
  • Messaging
  • Proposition
  • Visual and verbal vocabulary

What’s the difference between brand identity and brand image?

Brand image and brand identity are sometimes used interchangeably. But brand image refers to your customers’ and clients’ own impressions of your brand, while identity is controlled by you and your organisation. Although clients’ perception of your business can be influenced by a number of factors, such as experience with your product or service, your identity should work to underpin your image. Putting the values that you are communicating into practice.

Brand identity is just one of the aspects that help to build your reputation. Alongside the other facets of digital and content marketing and public relations, a fresh identity can establish you as an industry leader. As one of our clients recently said, “As a founder, I can only compare being ‘rebranded to someone throwing out your wardrobe and telling you to wear much smarter clothes… I have to say I much prefer our new clothes”. Is it time for your brand makeover?

Interested in learning more? Feel free to get in touch with us to organise a chat with Nick and George, our branding brains. With experience rebranding – and building brands from scratch – across a number of industries, including renewables, insurance and more, we would love to find out more about your brand.