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The Four Key Elements of a Visual Design

The Four Key Elements of a Visual Brand

To create a truly original online and offline impression, your business should have a complete brand identity, which includes several in-depth components. However, a key foundational aspect of any business brand is the visual identity, which we’re going to dive into with this post.

The visual appeal of your brand consists of four main components:

A color palette

Your brand’s color palette should consist of two to five colors that are used consistently throughout your website, social media posts, and other business material. Color conveys meaning and emotion, so choose colors that represent your brand and the overall feel of your business well. Is your brand bold and edgy? Calming and reassuring? Feminine or masculine? Make sure the colors you choose fit the emotion that your audience is meant to be feeling when they visit your store, website or social media. 

Not sure where to start? One of our favorite tools for creating color palettes is Coolors.co, where they list countless color combinations including the hex codes that can be pulled through to your favorite design tool! 

Font Pairings

Another crucial step to establishing a unique brand is by choosing and consistently using specific font pairings. Just like your color palette, your choice of fonts should reflect the mood and attitude of your business as well as the emotion you’re trying to convey to your audience. A big and bold font can present your brand as daring and fearless, while a handwritten font can present it as welcoming or personal. Keep in mind that any font you choose should be clear and easily readable so your message isn’t lost when viewers are scrolling through your material. 

A few great places to explore a variety of different font styles are Google Fonts, MyFonts, or Fontpair.co.

Imagery and Mood Board

The next step in building the visual aspect of your brand is to create a mood board with images that match the feel of your brand and fit in well with your color palette. A mood board is a collage of images, materials, textures and text that is used to create an aesthetically pleasing flow and help communicate your brand. It’s excellent for getting a sense of how your brand will be visually interpreted before you begin spending time or money on designs and other materials.

To get started, focus on the mood and emotion you want to portray. What do you want people to feel when they think about your brand? What message do you want to send through the imagery you choose? You’ll want to add images that work in harmony with your color palette and font pairings to depict those emotions for your audience. 

You can use websites like Pinterest or other image sharing websites to search for images that portray what you’re looking for. There are also countless free stock image websites where you can search by subject, activity, or even by color. The goal is to select the right images that work together in harmony and flow well with your color palette as well as the rest of your voice and creative direction.

Some of our favorite places for free stock photography are Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay, or Canva. Or for a few more premium membership photography sites, take a look at Envato Elements or Adobe Stock.

A Unique Business Logo

The final aspect of your brand’s visual identity is your business logo. Your logo is a small but essential part of your brand identity. It will be used as the face of your company and should capture the essence of what you stand for. Whether you’re creating it yourself or hiring a designer, make sure that you think about how it represents your business.

There are several design softwares that can help in your logo creation. One of the most popular is Canva, an easy-to-use platform that provides lots of templates with logo designs for inspiration. However, it’s important to review the terms of service with any platform you use, as it’s often illegal to copyright a design that uses elements from these sites. 

Some brands find it effective to just stick with a bold font or pairing of two font styles as their logo. Regardless of the simplicity of this style, it’s still a very effective way to design a unique logo that reflects your brand’s persona and creative style. That being said, it’s most common to add a visual graphic to your logo that could be used with your business name or by itself across your business material and platforms. Think about major brands like Apple, Microsoft, Nike, or Adidas. Each of these have simple yet powerful graphics to accompany their brands which are recognizable anywhere they’re seen. 

When choosing a visual element for your logo, follow the same steps we’ve gone over to make sure it matches the voice, mood, and personality that you’ve established for your brand identity. It’s also important to keep in mind that a logo has to work across various applications and platforms. It needs to be recognizable on your website, on social media and in any advertisements you might use across digital or print mediums. Many companies will have several formats of their design to use across platforms, including a horizontal version to be used in the top bar of the website along with a square or circular version for social media profile images. 

Logo design takes time, so be patient as you work toward a product that suits your business. However, remember that your brand is so much more than just the logo, so it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself throughout the process. Keep in mind that a simple logo can go a long way and can work even better when adding to smaller or more elaborate designs.

Once you’ve created each of your visual components, you may also want to consider creating a style guide for your brand. A style guide specifies how different elements should be used on your website, social media platforms, or any other business material and is an excellent guide to refer back to whenever you’re working on new designs.

This style guide often includes your logo with its various formats, your font pairs with the specific styles you’ve chosen, a color palette with your two to six brand colors, and a mood board with any images you plan to use or that reflect the mood of your brand. You can use Canva or any other design software to build your style sheet.

Creating a visual brand identity is an important step for any business, but it’s really only the first step. Take a look at this post for our in-depth brand identity outline to dive deeper into your company’s complete brand identity.

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