Creating an Effective Visual Language to Build a Consistent Brand

We are all taught that judging a book by its cover is wrong, but in advertising, and branding in particular, first impressions are pivotal. A brand’s visual language is that critical first impression that influences people’s decision-making processes. Visual language not only conveys a brand’s value, personality and unique position in the market, but it can also influence consumer behavior. So how can you create a distinctive visual identity for your business that will make a powerful (and lasting) impression?

Think about your visual identity as a symbolic shorthand showcasing your brand’s key values across various touch points. The visual language literally includes “everything you can see” from a company logo to app icon, to the choices for typography and color palette to Twitter header and website layout, and even the proportions of copy to imagery is part of the visual language that encompasses your brand’s essence.

Below are 3 key elements to create a visual language that is compelling and effective.

1. Identify Your Brand Elements

Defining your brand’s core values and strengths is the first step in creating a unique look and style. This way the visual language has a foundation and communicates how you will provide value to your customer. Focus on the real, authentic values that resonate with people you’re trying to reach and treat them as building block of your visual identity as well as your company culture. As Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz once put it: “In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.”

2. Create a Brand Style

Once you’ve zeroed in on all the core values and vision you want to convey, it’s time to set up a visual style that exemplifies that. A logo is a solid starting point, but your visual position has to extend to a whole system stylistically: creating a corporate/brand color palette, typographic identity and specific photography, illustration, data visualization style for all branded content. The point is, all the imagery and visual displays should have a consistent look and feel in all materials, whether print or online, marketing or merchandise.

3. Usage Guidelines Create Consistency

With the ever-growing variety of platforms and mediums people are viewing and interacting with brands, establishing a clear brand style guideline is now more than ever, the backbone of an authentic, recognizable and trustworthy brand experience. These guidelines – from traditional elements like fonts, logo treatments and color palette to more modern aspects like social media filter styles – create  consistency in the way you 

look, connect with and service your target audience at each touch point. Staying consistent will not only help your business build recognition but also boost your credibility as you grow.

Your brand is communicating in more ways than ever before, using new visual tools and platforms to engage with customers and target audiences. In the sea of competing messages and brands, a strong visual brand language is a crucial way to highlight the unique identity of your business/brand and make a great first impression.

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