How to Maintain Visual Branding in Your Content Marketing

Posted by Nathan Ojaokomo on January 5, 2022

GSD

You'll never get a second chance at a first impression. And in a world where a million and one things compete for your audience’s attention, it’s essential to have recognizable visual branding that leaves a great impression.

However, many marketers and business owners only think of their logo when asked about visual identity. But the truth is that visual branding is so much more than that.

So what is visual branding? Why is it essential for your business? And how can you create and maintain a visual identity in your content marketing?

Read on to find the answers and more.

See How ButterCMS Helps Companies Take Control of Their Digital Content

What is visual branding?

Visual branding or visual identity is, in the simplest of terms, the part of your brand that the market sees. It’s how you shape perception and leave impressions on customers with the visual elements of your brand.

Some of your brand’s visual elements include your logo, typography & fonts, color palette or color scheme, texture & patterns, photographs & imagery, and even your physical stores’ interior design.

Visual identity is all of this imagery and graphical information that sets your brand apart from others.

This essential means of communication with your target market often results in developing a brand style guide or identity manual—a rule book that provides instructions on the brand’s visual representation at all times and situations.  

To better understand visual identity, let’s use the example of one of the biggest companies in the world – Apple.

Apple’s visual identity is not just the name or the icon of an apple but also includes its items, packaging, store decorations, design, website, and ads.

Timeline of Apple logos

Source: Logaster

Apple’s visual identity is incredible, and if you look closely, you will find that all parts of their visual identity are similar and follow a guide. From color to space to images and designs – everything seems to follow the same line.

The inside of an Apple store

Source: AppleInsider

And visual identity is one reason why Apple remains one of the biggest companies in the world. People are in love with the visual identity, which is why millions of fans buy and continue buying their products even if they don’t have the best specifications or prices on the market.

Visual branding vs. brand identity

Some words or terms in the branding industry look and sound the same, which often leads to plenty of confusion. Many people use the terms brand identity and visual branding interchangeably. But both terms do not mean the same thing.

Brand identity is a combination of brand voice, visual branding, and brand personality. Your brand voice consists of the words and language used to communicate with your customers. It characterizes how you interact with them in person, over the phone, and in similar interactions. Brand personality consists of the human emotions that people feel when they interact with your brand.

There isn’t a visual branding vs. brand identity argument. Instead, they work hand in hand. A business looking to grow mustn't ignore the brand identity or visual branding. In simple terms, brand identity is who the brand is inside, while visual identity is who the brand is outside.

So, visual branding forms a part of your brand identity. It consists of the visual elements of your brand’s identity.

Elements of visual branding

Here are some of the popular aspects or elements of an appealing visual brand:

Logo

A logo is a visual representation of your brand. All the top companies and brands in the world have logos. Your logo might be a wordmark like Google’s, an icon logo like Apple’s, or a letter mark like IBM’s.

Panel of different logos

Source: Nepsprint

Don’t hesitate to pay good money for your logo design because it’s going to be the face of your company or brand. Endeavor to use a logo that sends a message that aligns with your brand’s voice.

Also, ensure the logo is identifiable irrespective of its size so you can use it on different surfaces or platforms.

Fonts & typography

Typography and fonts refer to the shape or style of the text used in your branding. There are hundreds of fonts, and each one evokes a feeling in the viewer.

Ensure your fonts are legible and feature the correct size. Limit your selection of fonts to two or three for your visuals. Finally, use fonts that fit the shape and size of your logo.

Panel of logos that are typography-based

Source: Nextbridge

Color palettes

Even more than fonts, colors and color combinations are a powerful way of arousing your audience’s emotional response. 

You’d agree that what you feel when you see the color red is different from what you feel when you see blue. Red often denotes danger, a warning, or hunger, while blue usually denotes thoughts of peace and calm. 

So use colors that evoke the emotions you want in your audience.

Color emotion guide chart

Source: Huffingtonpost

You can use color in your brand identity through a color scheme – a combination of hues, shades, and tints. You can then apply this scheme to all your brand materials.

With ButterCMS’s advanced image editing capabilities, you can adjust your image’s hue, contrast, saturation, and more within your Butter dashboard.

Imagery

Imagery refers to photos, videos, and ambassadors used in the brand’s adverts. Your brand must look for the imagery that best represents your personality and customers.  Of all the elements of visual branding, imagery is perhaps the most important. People wish to see themselves reflected in the brands they choose, so you need to pay attention to imagery.

Images are also instrumental in telling compelling stories about your brand. When using people-centric photos, it’s best to consider the effect the image will have on your brand. Consider the gender, diversity, and how people have responded to such options in the past. 

It would be best not to go down the stock photos route because you might end up using the same images as other brands. And that makes it extra hard for your audience to tell the difference.

Web design

Think about it. Almost every business that’s online needs a website and that’s why web design is an essential element of any visual branding. 

Your website should have similar colors, fonts, and imagery as the rest of your branding collateral. 

It should also be simple and easily accessible to anyone to browse on their mobile phones, tablets, or laptops. You should also perform a visual component test before launching new components on your website to ensure that they load correctly. 

An example of branded web design found on Dribble

Source: Dribble

See How ButterCMS Helps Companies Take Control of Their Digital Content

Why is visual branding important?

No matter how great your business and messaging are, visual branding is usually the most effective and sure-fire way to capture your audience’s attention.

Before buying your product or service, potential customers see elements of visual branding first. So, you must make it attractive so that they can connect to your brand and be interested in whatever you are saying. Color, an element in visual branding, can increase brand recognition by up to 80%.

Companies that have perfected visual identity find it easier to attract the best clients.

What makes a good visual identity? And how to create one

Considering how beneficial a great visual identity is to your brand, how can you create one? Here is how.

Define your brand identity

Do not put the cart before the horse. Your brand identity should guide your visual identity and not the visual identity driving the brand identity.

While you might not have all the things that make up your brand identity figured out, you should at least define the basics of your brand identity.  Some of these include your core values, your mission statement, your ideal buyers, and your communication style.

When you have these figured out, it would be easier for you to craft your visual identity.

Make your visual branding distinctive

We live in the age of authenticity, where consumers say that distinctiveness is an essential factor when they want to choose the brands they want to buy from and like. Thus, make your visual branding different from the competition. That way, your target audience will know, with just a glance, that a product or service comes from your brand.

Be consistent

Consistent presentation of a brand can increase revenue by up to 33%. Therefore, ensure that your visual branding is consistent wherever your brand appears, whether online or offline.

Be simple

Yes, your brand can communicate many messages and stories, but with so many options comes confusion.

Thus, the best thing is to create a unique yet straightforward visual branding. You have a short time to leave an impression on your audience, so you should focus your branding on the single most important story you want to tell.

Conclusion

Having a visual brand is an excellent means of telling your story and connecting with your customers. As with any powerful tool, misusing it can have disastrous consequences for your brand. However, understanding your brand identity and following the other tips highlighted here can guide you on this journey. 

Managing your visual branding elements can be a chore sometimes, especially without good management. ButterCMS offers a single dashboard that allows you to efficiently manage all your visual assets and a CDN to serve them as quickly as possible, regardless of your location.

 

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Nathan Ojaokomo

Nathan is a content writer who helps B2B SaaS companies create and refresh long-form content

ButterCMS is the #1 rated Headless CMS

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