The terms brand, branding, and brand identity are often used interchangeably, but they are actually different aspects of how your organization communicates who it is and what it stands for.
- Brand. Brand is the meaning that people attach to your organization, product, or service.
- Branding. Branding is the management of the brand’s meaning.
- Brand identity. Brand identity is the visual elements that are used to identify a brand.
Your brand identity is anything that can identify your brand. Elements that can make up brand identity include logo, key colors, standard typographic treatments, library of graphic elements, different logo lockups, corporate typefaces, consistent image styles, and sensory elements involving sound, touch, or smell. The key to brand identity is consistency. When visitors come your organization’s website, it is important that the website matches your brand identity in look and feel. This can be difficult to achieve using standards website templates that have limited options for customization. A website designed to showcase your brand identity and to ensure that it is accurately represented should consider the following:
Images. Avoid stock images as they appear exceptionally unemotional and out of touch when there are so many better options out there. Instead, find images that capture the sentiment of your brand, as well as the brand colors. Including headshots of administrators and customer-facing staff that are created to work with your brand colors helps to keep the website feeling personal while maintaining brand identity consistency.
Logo. A logo is important for identification. The five principles of effective logo design are simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, and appropriate. Logos should be designed to stand out from their surroundings. An excellent logo should be high quality and instantly recognizable to your customers.
Call-to-action (CTA). Website visitors should be encouraged to click, which is why CTAs should be highlighted on every page. CTAs must stand out from the rest of the page and attract attention, but they also must be designed with fonts, colors, and shapes that are consistent with your brand identity.
Core message. Ensure that your organization’s core message does not get lost in a busy website. Your website design should reflect the overall tone of your brand.
Individuality. While it may be tempting to copy from a competitor’s website that you find to be especially effective or appealing, it is important that your website is designed to look and feel like your brand, and no one else’s. Challenge yourself to design a fresh website based on your brand identity, but if that is not in the cards for you it is better to look outside of your industry for website design inspiration.