You’re probably wondering how to create a brand identity. The good news is you’ve come to the right place. We’ve constructed a detailed guide that will take a deep dive into the world of branding. We’ll discuss what a brand is, how to create your identity, and show some of the best brand identity examples out there.
By the time you’ve finished, you’ll understand how to build the perfect brand for your organization.
What is a brand identity?
Many people are confused when it comes to defining brand identity. Essentially, it’s the way your brand expresses itself to consumers. Everything – from your brand logo to the way you communicate on social media – contributes to this identity.
The easiest way to think about it is that your brand identity is how you present yourself to others. Consumers identify with your brand because of the way you’ve composed yourself and the feelings you give off. Brands with strong identities tend to be successful because other people have an easy time connecting with them.
On the other hand, brands with weak identities will struggle. Consumers don’t really understand who they are or what they bring to the table. So, if you want your brand to succeed, then you need to focus on building your identity.
How to create a brand identity?
Building your brand identity won’t happen overnight. There are plenty of things to consider, and this section of our guide will explore them all.
Step 1: Define your brand mission
Most brands with a weak identity forget the very first step. Before you work on any design elements – or anything else – you have to define yourself as a brand. What do you do? What are you working towards?
Essentially, you have to come up with a brand mission. This can be anything you want, and the easiest way to realize your mission is to ask yourself a few questions:
Why are you starting your company?
What do you want your business to achieve?
Are there any values that you hold dear to you as a brand?
What makes you unique?
When you start answering these questions, you begin to get a feel for your brand mission. This is what you stand for and what your brand is all about. Having an identifiable purpose is key as it helps other people connect with your brand.
If you’re still struggling to create your mission, then try and describe your brand using three words. Think of the first three words that come into your head, and this tells you a lot about your company.
What’s the importance of a brand mission?
In essence, it sets the foundations of your brand identity. As you move ahead, everything you do will be built around this mission. You have to develop an identity that aligns with your mission and makes this mission clear to everyone out there.
The biggest mistake you can make is choosing a mission than doesn’t fit your brand. As you’ll see from the brand identity examples, there are plenty of brand missions that connect with people more than others. A popular one is having the goal to save the planet and be more eco-friendly. Of course, this is a great mission to have, but it might not align with your business and what you do. So, don’t pick what’s popular, pick what relates to your company, and makes the most sense.
Once you’ve decided on your particular brand mission, you should write a mission statement. This comes in handy later on – especially when building your website. Use the statement as a guideline for what follows; everything should reflect it.
Step 2: Define your target audience
Your brand mission is step one, but your target audience is step two. Again, this works with your mission statement to lay the foundations for your brand identity.
It’s simple, every company will have a target audience. You’re never going to have universal appeal. Identity issues happen when you try and appeal to everyone. If you do this, it just leads to messy branding with no consistency at all.
When you target a specific audience, it helps you figure out the best ways to communicate with them. In turn, this assists you as you build each element of your identity. Effectively, you start to build your identity based on things that appeal to your target audience.
So, how do you define your specific audience? It begins by creating audience personas. Here, you have to consider the following things:
Where they’re located
Exisiting brands they relate to
The best way to create an audience persona is to look at your business. It’s pretty simple; think about who will be interested in buying what you have to offer. Soon, you’ll have all the parameters for your target market.
Now, you know the type of people you’re presenting your brand to. For example, your target audience may be pensioners living in retirement communities that are looking for a new hobby. Or, your audience could be 18-25-year-olds in university trying to save money.
There are endless possibilities, but think about how your identity changes depending on the audience. The way you communicate and present yourself to the first example audience is massively different from the second one.
Therefore, you can’t go ahead with brand building until you define your target audience!
Step 3: Competitive analysis
Next, you need to look at your competitors. While you should never directly copy what your competitors do, it helps to understand what they’re all about.
So, it’s time to analyze the top rivals in your industry. Which brands are you most likely to be competing with? If you’r eunsure, then here’s an easy trick:
– Open Google
– Search for keywords relating to your brand
– Look at all the listings in the results
By doing this, you’ll soon find all the companies that cater to the same market as you. Now, you have to look at what they’re doing and how effective it is. As a result, you’ll learn some ideas that might help you build your identity – but you also figure out what your rivals are doing wrong.
Therefore, the aim is to build on all the good things they’re doing and avoid the same mistakes. Remember, you don’t want to copy them – you want to better them! Analysis is the best way to set your brand apart from the others, which helps you appeal to consumers and gain customers.
Get your list of competitors, then take a look at these elements:
Key messages & values
The products/services they offer
How they’re marketing their business
You can do all of this in a table as it helps you make sense of everything and keeps your research neat and tidy. By looking at these things, you get an idea of how your rivals are building their identity.
What are their fundamental messages/values, and how do they get this across throughout their branding?
What products/services do they offer and are they of high quality or not?
What’s the public opinion on this brand? What are people saying about them in reviews or across social channels?
How are they marketing their brand? What methods do they use more than others?
You’ll soon pick up on a few things that help you work out what’s good/bad about a competitor. For example, you could see that they’re not getting their values/mission across in any of their marketing efforts. Or, public opinion tells you that people don’t like specific aspects of their customer service. Likewise, you may see that they do an excellent job of displaying their message through everything that they do, etc.
Analyze around 4-5 competitors to see various examples. Who knows, our brand identity examples may present you with some competitive analysis that you can use! Use your findings to help build a better brand identity for your business. Ensure you bring out all your key advantages and improve where your rivals have failed.
Step 4: Bring together all the different brand identity elements
This next step probably requires the most amount of work and research. Here, you have to bring together all the different brand identity elements. This is where you start to design your brand and how you communicate with others.
Obviously, you have lots of things to consider. So, here are the key brand identity elements to look at:
Tone of voice
To start, we need to look at your logo. This is basically the main element of your brand identity. The best logos can display your values and tell everyone everything they need to know about your business. You’ll see some very effective logos in the brand identity examples later in this guide.
Of course, your logo has to reflect your brand mission. It has to align with your statement and convey the same values/messages you put across. It needs to be eye-catching too, and it should leave an impression on consumers. People should be a bit taken aback when they first lay eyes on your logo because it stands out. This ensures it remains ingrained in their minds, which aids brand recognition and makes you easier to identify with.
The worst logo design error is following the trend. In the design world, certain things always become popular. Don’t follow any trends as your logo needs to be timeless. If you include elements that go out of fashion in a few years, then your brand identity suffers. Choose something simple, clean, and easy for people to understand.
Again, the colors you choose say a lot about your brand. For example, what colors should you choose if you want to convey a fun and happy brand identity? Ideally, yellows, oranges, and other bright colors convey these feelings better than others. If you go for dark brown and gloomy tones, then you instantly go against your brand mission!
This isn’t a decision you should take lightly! If you mess up the color scheme of your brand, then you wreck the identity. You’ll have to do an entire brand re-design to implement the right colors.
Also, these colors need to be present everywhere. Of course, they’ll be on your logo, but they also need to be on your website, advertising material, social media platforms – and so on. You want to build up to a situation where people start relating specific colors to your brand whenever they see them.
Serif fonts: used to convey trust and a traditional element to your brand
Sans serfi fonts: used to make your brand look more modern and updated
Script fonts: used to express a sense of class or luxury
Display fonts: used to create big statements and add striking elements to your font
Of course, each group features a plethora of fonts that you can choose from. We keep saying this but think back to your brand mission and target audience. What fonts align with your purpose while appealing to your target market? For example, if you have a youthful audience, then the sans serif style is the best.
Your website is the digital face of your business. As such, the design must accurately reflect your brand identity. Include your mission statement somewhere on this site, and ensure your logo is clear for all to say. Use the right fonts and colors as well, to keep your branding consistent.
A website is arguably the best way to convey your brand identity to consumers. When someone visits it, they should know precisely what your business stands for and the way you present yourself.
Tone of Voice
This refers to the way you communicate with people. Are you going for a professional voice? Or, will you prefer a more relaxed and friendly tone? It all depends on your target audience and brand values. Make sure you pick a tone of voice that aligns with both of these things.
Your audience is particularly crucial as you have to choose a tone that they find appealing. Will an elderly audience like being spoken to in the same way as a youthful one? Probably not. The tone you use will be present across all elements of your business; website, social media, customer service hotlines, marketing material, etc.
All businesses can use content to help promote their brand identity. Content can cover anything:
Social media content
The list is endless, but it doesn’t matter what type of content we’re referring to. What matters is that the content represents the brand. Produce things that solidify your brand identity and clearly reflect what you stand for. This is an easy way to build recognition among consumers.
As you make your way through all the different brand elements, you will start constructing the perfect identity. When you’re finished, you should make sure that everything is consistent. All the things you do point back to the same mission statement and appeal to the same target audience.
One of the best ways to learn how to create a brand identity is by looking at what’s already out there. So, the rest of this guide will be dedicated to brand identity examples.
Brand Identity Examples
Below, you’ll find various brand identity examples complete with some analysis. We’ve looked at brands from across the whole spectrum, so you get a good idea of what they’re doing well – and what could possibly be improved.
Dropbox is interesting as it’s a brand identity example that shows how your brand can adapt and evolve. The company provides cloud storage solutions for individuals and businesses. You keep data files here, and there are various other features too. But, when it first launched, Dropbox was all about storage. So, they branded themselves as simple and easy-to-use. All their branding material focused on this as they developed a minimalistic web design.
Then, things changed as they added new features and expanded their service. Now, the old brand identity didn’t fit as they weren’t branding themselves as a simple company with a simple service. Instead, it was all about their flexibility and the different things they offer.
So, Dropbox rebranded and now features a more colorful and innovative design. They’re really big on images now; the website features big bold images, and their Instagram feed is full of them too. The images they use are all very contemporary as well. They’re making you think about their company in the same way that people view contemporary art. It’s different from everything else out there.
As such, this builds the perfect identity for the new Dropbox brand. They are incredibly forward-thinking and more flexible than ever. They think outside the box and come up with different cloud solutions to suit customer needs.
We can’t talk about brand identity without bringing in the kings of branding; Apple. A tech giant known throughout the world, Apple has a clear brand identity. The company displays itself as minimalistic and innovative. The Apple logo is enough to make people feel like something is of high quality. You could slap it on a box of pens and people would buy them because of the logo.
All throughout Apple, you find the same branding. The website is so minimalistic and clean. There’s no clutter anywhere, just lots of spaces and the typical Apple color scheme of white, grey/silver, and black. Even the packaging they use helps build the brand identity. iPhone and iPad boxes are plain white with the name of the product on one side, the logo on another, and a picture of the product on the top. Open it up, and you don’t get endless manuals and clutter, just the phone, headphones, charger, and one bit of cardboard with some instructions on. It’s vastly different from the norm, and this is what Apple wants you to think when you see their brand.
The products reflect this as well. Every Apple product is designed with innovation in mind. They differentiate themselves from others by using operating systems unique to this brand. They’re often the first to add new features like fingerprint sensors as well.
Each element of Apple’s branding strategy feeds into its identity. Now, when you see the Apple logo, you can’t help but think of innovation, minimalism, and extreme quality.
Spreadshop is an online company that helps other businesses/entrepreneurs to create and sell their merchandise. Essentially, they help you open your merch shop and sell your products to customers.
When we look at their brand identity, it’s clear they’re conveying themselves as a modern brand for a millennial audience. This is reflected in the sans serif font throughout their site, giving off a contemporary feel. Also, their service is clearly aimed at the 18-35 generation as it’s all about selling merch online.
The color pallette the brand uses is clean and bright, which further solidifies this idea of modern youthfulness. The website itself almost feels very quirky and friendly, which is mostly thanks to the conversational tone of voice.
One thing the brand does really well is how it targets the pain points of their target audience. They know their customers are struggling to sell merchandise without spending too much money. So, they make a clear point of showing how much you can save and how much you can make. They even have a blog that further promotes the brand identity by delivering helfpul content aimed at the target audience.
As soon as you visit their website or social media pages, you know exactly what the brand is about and what they do. In essence, that shows how good the brand identity is.
Next, we have a business that lets you design and sell custom shirts. Much like the previous example, the brand identity is clear. The logo is simplistic and modern, and the color scheme is mainly white – with a few hints of gray and other light colors. So, we get the sense that this brand is trying to give off the sense of modernity and youthfulness.
Again, sans serif font is present, and they use photographs to good effect as well. Every single person in the photographs looks like they’re between the ages of 21-40. So, the brand basically sets out the target market for all to see – and you identify with this if you fall within the range. Their Instagram feed is the same; all the photos show a specific age of people. This solidifies the identity as a brand that appeals to this type of audience.
Everything about the brand is incredibly relaxed and minimalistic. You don’t get the sense of some overly professional and uptight organization. Instead, the tone is conversational and clearly targeted towards creative individuals. From the moment you lay eyes on the logo, you know the type of brand you’re dealing with. You understand that this is a modern company aimed at millennials, and every other brand element backs this up.
Threadless sells a range of custom items that anyone can buy. This includes phone cases, clothing, home decor, and much more. Right away, we learn seomthing from the brand logo. It features the company name in lower case scriptive writing. The style of it looks very funky, which gives off connotations of creativity.
As it happens, this perfectly reflects the brand identity. Threadless clearly thrives on being creative and unique. All of their products are custom-designed, so it makes sense that their logo is different from a lot of others out there. If you were presented with the brand logo and nothing else, you could give a reasonably accurate description of what you think the company does and sells.
When you move through the other elements of brand identity, it’s evident that this company wants to identify itself as quirky and modern. The website features bright and vibrant colors with a lot of images/photos. The witing is all sans serif, and the tone of voice is relaxed. The people in the pictures all seem to be around 30-45 years of age, which tells you the target audience for the brand.
Threadless is definitely a quirky/hipster brand that wants to offer people something different from the norm. The logo represents this, the style of the website does as well, and the design of their products helps solidify this identity.
Casper is a brand that sells innovative mattresses throughout the world. They made a splash because of their intriguing business model, which was backed up by impressive brand identity. The logo is very smooth and sleek, which represents the mattresses they sell. Then, the brand color scheme is really calming and peaceful. It features a mixture of beige, blue, and a lot of white. As such, it perfectly encapsulates the brand identity by bringing in typical feelings you’d have when you lie on a mattress to go to sleep.
They utilize hand-drawn illustrations in a lot of their content as well. When combined with the logo and colors, it helps provide a sense of comfort to the audience. The website itself is uber modern and features a very updated design. All of these elements come together to create an identity that mixes comfort and peacefulness with modernity.
This works perfectly for Casper. After all, the matresses they sell are marketed as having modern technology that improves comfort and sleep quality. Their identity couldn’t be any clearer, and it remains consistent throughout social media, advertising, and even their blog.
Airbnb rose in popularity by offering an alternative to the usual travel acommodation. Their business is all about encouraging people to go and explore new parts of the world. When you stay at an Airbnb, you’re looking for somewhere that keeps you comfortable while letting you see and do new things.
As a result, brand identity is built around this concept. If you look at the Airbnb website and their social channels, it’s clear what message they’re putting across. By using lots of bright and colorful photos, they display families and couples having fun in different locations. It pushes forward this message of living an active life and giving in to wanderlust. The photos encourage you to travel and make you feel like you need a holiday. They also appeal to the target audience – people who want to travel – and make them feel a common connection with the brand.
Plus, they’ve also managed to add a trustworthy aura to their brand identity as well. The website layout is crisp and clean, which makes you feel like you can trust this business. They produce helpful blog content with tips and tricks as well, further establishing trust with consumers.
This builds on the notion of Airbnb as a brand you can trust to help you live your active lifestyle and go traveling.
Brand Identity: Summary
After reading this guide, you should have a better idea of how to create a brand identity. Remember the points in the earlier half of this piece:
Start with your brand mission
Find your target audience
Analyze your rivals
Bring every element of your brand identity together as one
Consistency is vital with your branding. All the brand identity examples we ran through prove this. Each company has a clear brand message that they want to get across. So, their website, social media, product packaging, content – everything. It’s all consistently build around the initial mission, which helps create the ideal brand identity.
Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot from our guide. Remember, creating an identity for your brand is essential. This is how people connect with your business. A proper identity can help you draw in new customers and establish a loyal base of support.