How To Create A Strategic Brand Identity Design (From Strategy)

We’ve all heard the old adage: a brand is not a logo (or a strategic brand identity).

And we all understand that a brand is far more than just the visuals, but that doesn’t mean they are irrelevant.

In fact, when coupled with strategy, the visuals become more important, as they become part of a cohesive system that shapes the image of the brand in the mind of the audience.

In this article, you’ll learn how to create a strategic brand identity design.

Create A Brand Identity Design
[Brand Strategy Process]

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Brand Identity Design Evokes Feelings

What we do as brand builders when creating a brand and trying to connect that brand with the audience, is try to create an image in the mind of the audience so that they feel something for the brand.

And if we can identify the feeling that they want to have, then we can design an identity that can help to evoke that feeling. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to create a strategic brand identity design

Step #1 Become The Audience

Within the brand strategy development, one of the major tasks is to develop an audience avatar, because everything within the brand strategy is developed from that avatar.

When it comes to the brand identity design, it is the exact same. You need to step inside the shoes of the audience so that you understand them. 

You need to understand what journey they’re on, where they’re going through, the challenges they have long in front of them, and, of course, the feelings attached to those challenges. 

When you’re able to step inside the shoes of your audience, you can get a sense of empathy for what they’re feeling, and that helps you in the design of the strategic brand identity.

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Step #2 Uncover The Brand Persona

Once you’ve identified who the audience is, and you start to understand them in terms of: 

Their personality 

What they’re attracted to 

What they want from a brand, 

then, you can start to develop the personality of your brand.

Here are some questions to consider:

How So, how is your brand going to turn up to the market? 

What kind of personality is it going to have? 

How is it going to look, sound, feel?

The answer to these questions should provide a set of characteristics the audience can feel connected to.

That’s how we connect with other people and with other things: through the characteristics that we see (and whether or not we’re attracted to them!). So really identify the human brand persona.

That your brand is going to show up to the market too. And what characteristics are behind that persona?

Step #3 Amplify The Characteristics

Without a doubt, this is one of the most critical roles when it comes to designing a strategic brand identity. Why? Because the role of the brand identity is to get attention and to communicate something to the audience visually. 

What it needs to communicate are the characteristics that have been previously identified within the brand strategy

That is how we’re going to connect and resonate with the audience. 

The visual identity has nanoseconds to connect with your audience and get their attention. Once it’s gotten that attention, the characteristics within the brand identity are going to communicate again and double down on what the brand should mean to the audience.

In order to digest information as humans, our brains create shortcuts so as not to get overwhelmed with information. Characteristics are one of the easiest ways that we can assign meaning to people and things. 

So, when we see certain characteristics, we immediately assign a meaning to them, and that then feeds into the rest of the experience we have.

As a result, it’s crucial to extract and accentuate those characteristics and lead with them when designing your strategic product identity,

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Step #4 Design With Characteristics

If you sit down to design a brand identity and there is no strategy behind it, the design can go off in any direction.

But when you lead with a strategy behind you, you’ll have a clear path to what you want to achieve, because you have identified who the audience is. 

You’ve also identified the position that the brand is going to take in the market and how it’s going to communicate with its audience in terms of the characteristics and the personality that it wants to lead with.

So, when you sit down to design the brand identity, you need to have all of that information at hand so the process becomes a lot easier. You need to think about the characteristics that should be communicated, for example, with the logo:

What kind of shape is the logo going to be? 

Is it going to be rough, gritty, or smooth? 

What about typography? Is it going to be modern or a bit more traditional? 

And what about the image style? Is that going to be fun and bright or is it going to be dark and moody?

All of these characteristics that we’ve identified within the strategy are weaved throughout the brand identity that help us to communicate in a nanosecond to our audience what our brand should mean visually.

Over To You

Brand identity design is something that’s very close to my heart. It’s something that I did for a long time and something that I thoroughly enjoyed.

In fact, when I was freelancing, I used to get irritated that I had to do work like “marketing” and “speaking with clients” because I loved brand identity design.  

But it wasn’t until I really got into strategy that I realized the importance of the job of brand identity design in connecting the brand with the audience visually.

Beyond the visual identity, there’s a lot of work to do when building a brand. But that initial reaction, that initial connection with the audience and the characteristics we communicate to assign that initial meaning is incredibly important in grabbing that attention. 

When you understand that visual identity design goes beyond just looking good, you’ll see the real strategic role that the brand identity plays in the overall success of the brand. 

That’s when you can take your visual identity designs to new laevels.

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