Your Brand Identity (Toolkit)

So, In my opinion, others may vary, but your brand identity elements are made up of 7 key elements. If you’re in the start-up phase, (around 0-3 years), some of these elements may well develop over time, but my top 4 which are an absolute must, (well maybe 5 if you’ve got a really catchy tagline then keep it and run with it), are your name, logo, colour scheme and use of images/graphics. Other elements can be suitably tweaked over time as you progress but these 4 are what will stick with your audience the most and ultimately set you apart from your competitors.

When building your brand identity which elements come first? For me it was the name, which came to me as I was rewriting my business model for probably the 4th time. But we are all very different, we all have different sources of inspiration, and we all think and work in very different ways. You might hear your tag line first (cakes by bakes referring back to the first blog), you might see your colours, or it could be your logo, one might inspire the other. The point is it really doesn’t matter which comes first, what matters is how all the elements come together.

Let’s take a closer look at each;

Name – Your chosen name should be something that either reflects your business, or a nonsense word made up of maybe 2 or 3 words, or a word that means something to your business.

Logo – This one is probably the most valuable part of your brand. It’s the most recognised element of your toolkit, and it’s used everywhere! Emails, stationery, advertising, banners, website, physical products (if you sell them). Basically anything your business puts out into the world will use your logo. Most businesses favour image based logos, but it’s not uncommon to simply use a word (your business name) as the logo, especially if it’s a nonsense word or that’s just spelt a little differently (like Dezign or Kre8). Keep it memorable, distinctive and relevant to your audience (for example if you sell tyres an ice cream might not be the best option for your logo).

Colour Scheme – You might want to stick with a scheme that reflects your industry (for example most eco based businesses use green). Pick 2-3 colours – primary, secondary, and tertiary (or accent). Your accent colour is the one you’re going to use as a highlighter, (example the colour of the buttons on your website). Your choice of colours can also help your audience make an emotional connection, here’s a quick rundown on colour physiology;

  • Blue – Associated with Depth, Stability, Wisdom, Trust, Confidence. Mood: Calming (useless fact here for you, but did you know that blue is actually the most commonly used colour in the world!)
  • Purple – Associated with Wisdom, Wealth, Royalty, Power, Luxury, Magic. Mood: Powerful, Calming, Strength.
  • Orange – Associated with Enthusiasm, Heat, Success, Creativity. Mood: Warmth, Excitement
  • Black – Associated with Power, Mystery, Elegance, Mourning, Luxury. Mood: Confident, Calm, Stable, Mysterious
  • Yellow – Associated with Energy, happiness, warming, attention. Mood: Aggravation, joy
  • Green – Associated with growth, health, harmony, safety, nature. Mood: Calm, refreshed.
  • White – Associated with purity, light, clean, sterile, innocent, spacious. Mood: Cold, unfriendly.

A great site for mixing and matching colours schemes, and for getting some inspiration, is adobe kuler (, be sure to take note of the colour values to pass to your designer.

Images and Graphics – Also another highly recognisable element of your brand. Think about the type of images your audience will respond to best, or if you are selling a product what’s the best way to present it. Graphics such as icons and patterns are also an excellent addition to your brand imagery.

Tagline – Also known as a slogan or catchphrase. Every business might not have one, but if you do and it’s catchy it can make up an important part of your brand. It will stick with customers, helping your business stay at the front of their mind. ‘I’m lovin it’, ‘think different’, ‘Just do it’, ‘the best a man can get’ . Recognise any?

Tone and Voice – Give your brand some personality! This one’s all about the way in which you talk to your audience, and the language in which you choose to do so. Are you friendly, humorous, calming, professional, academic? Think about your audience and talk to them in a way they will respond using an approach which reflects your business. Be careful of industry jargon if your customers won’t understand it. Once you’ve established your tone and voice, use it in all of the words your business puts out into the world, advertising, marketing, social, emails, the list goes on.

Typography – Your brand fonts, as with everything else in your brand kit, should remain consistent. I personally like to choose two that complement each other, one which is quite prominent and the other more reader friendly. I use the most prominent for headings or statement messages and the other for main content.

When you first start to look at your brand it can be a little bit daunting if it’s something you are new to, it’s sometimes helpful to pull together a bit of a mood board. Find things you like about other brands (does not need to relate to your area of expertise at all), then take your favourite parts from each, see how they all fit together, think about what you would like to add or take away, and you will be on your way.
I’m currently in the process of creating a set of worksheets, one which will hopefully help you get a clearer picture of what you would like your overall brand to look like, if you think this would be of help to you drop me a message here. Or sign up to the newsletter (link at the bottom of the page) to stay up to date with all of the latest goings on here at The Spark Labs.

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