Brands have multiple dimensions, so which one do you start with, and when do you start tackling your brand visuals? We take a look at the process and timelines to understand what to tackle first and how to best create an effective visual identity.
Let’s imagine your brand as a house. The first step is building the foundations – identifying your mission, vision and values. These elements are often overlooked by businesses and individuals – and as a result lead to a shaky foundation with no compass or direction for the brand.
Defining your mission and your vision allows you to understand the problem that you’re solving, and attract the right clients and team members. It gives you direction. Your values on the other hand aid you in decision making, and keep everything you do on-brand.
Once you have build the foundations of your brand, it’s time to start thinking about the visuals. Keyword – thinking. Using your values and keywords as a base, you can start to look at mood boards and color palettes, as well identifying imagery styles and fonts. It would be an error to jump right into creating your visuals without having these elements sorted first.
As a recommendation, we would advise on creating a brand visuals stylesheet. This is a small one-pager that showcases all of your colors, fonts, and imagery styles, as well as a guide on where they should be used.
Now that you have your foundations, and the first floor of your building – it’s time to actually start producing your brand visuals. You should start simple and create things like banners and imagery for your digital mediums. This will give you flexibility to really find your style before jumping into hard commitments like packaging or printables (if that is your business).
As you grow and scale as a brand, your foundations may change. You may find that your mission and vision change, or that the colors you originally selected no longer fit your brand personality. This is where iteration comes in, especially for startups. Pivoting on visual elements should be abrupt, and not gradual – as that may look unprofessional to an external audience.
Building a brand is like building a house. You must start with the foundations and then make your way up to the roof. With brands, it is first important to understand the what and why before tackling visuals. Be sure to check out our visual identity page and explore our visual resources section for free downloads to help you build your brand visuals.