The Ultimate Guide to Create a Brand Identity [FREE TOOLKIT]
A strong brand identity doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just pick a few colors and haphazardly slap a logo together. You need to approach your design strategically to build an identity that truly reflects your brand—and can support you as you grow. This requires deep thinking, a team with strong communication and design skills, and an intimate understanding of who you are, what you do, and how you want to present your brand to the world.
This work isn’t easy, but it’s some of the most important work that any brand can do. So if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it the right way. Of course, tackling a brand identity can be both intimidating and confusing. What should it include? How do you start? Who needs to be involved?
Don’t worry. With the right guidance, you can move through the process effectively, and that’s why we’re here. To make it easy, we’ve broken it all down into this simple step-by-step guide, including our best tips and handy toolkit to help you along the way. Follow this guide and you’ll end up with a beautiful, functional brand identity that will help you outshine your competition, connect with the right people, and tell your brand story through every piece of content.
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Why corporate branding?
“Take whiskey. Why do some people chose Jack Daniel’s, while others choose Grand Dad or Taylor? Have they tried all three and compared the taste? Don’t make me laugh. The reality is that these three brands have different images which appeal to different kinds of people. It isn’t the whiskey they choose, it’s the image. The brand image is 90 per cent of what the distiller has to sell.”
© David Ogilvy, “Ogilvy on Advertising”
Online logo generators are personality killers
As technology and AI gets better and better, more services providing cheap, quick and automated branding tools come online. While these services can only make something similar to real brand identity, many self-starting entrepreneurs tend to neglect why corporate branding is important, seeking cheap, low-quality solutions that will inevitably damage them in the long run. When a young company enters the market and has a cheap, “standardized“ look, it immediately falls into the grey area of companies fighting over every client that’s left after the real brands.
This applies not only to online design generators but also to cheap self- or freelance-made logos for $30. And the reason for it is that this process doesn’t include basics like an analysis of competitors, target audience, concept creation or other fundamentals necessary for the high-standard identity creation. Cheap logos are made in a couple of hours from a brand strategy template and all of them look similar. It’s a well-known and often cited fact that a Nike logo cost $35. However, the year when it was first created is 1971. But that was just a logo, the company became a brand after having worked with an advertisement agency, which had really managed to convey the company’s main message to the consumer by making a lot of efforts including the creation of colourful, eye-catching video-commercials.
This begs a conclusion – one should never neglect the importance of getting a brand at an early stage of a company’s development to ensure the long-term prosperity of the business.
A brand is a fragile flower that needs to be maintained and treated well
These days, in the era of Information Technology, opinions and trends tend to change so quickly that every established brand has to maintain its identity up-to-date to stay competitive on the market. The ability to adapt in accordance with the market conditions is one of the most important tasks for any company. However, the difficulty is to keep the brand committed to its initial brand values and principles through the changes. Even if those changes are visual, adaptive to the modern design requirement or conceptual.
Another example is “Old Spice” that was forced to adapt to the change in its customer portrait – as it started to lose the younger customers because its branding appealed to the older segments of customers. As it began to rebrand, the company has launched an ad campaign which, with unique and reckless humour, has conveyed the message that using their product is a sign of leadership and confidence.
In both cases, the products stayed the same. The only thing that changed was branding and consequently, the customer’s perception of the company and its products. Thus, if your brand is slowing down its pace, perhaps it is out of date and needs some fresh air.
Frequently asked questions about building a brand
How do you develop a brand?
Brand creation involves identifying your business strategy, target customers and their needs, your competition, and your brand positioning and messaging. Once you know your core brand identity, you can create a logo and tagline and develop a branding and marketing strategy alongside.
How do you define brand identity?
Brand identity is the core of your brand and what it stands for. Brand identity includes your values, brand personality, and visual aesthetic. Your brand identity is communicated through every single part of your company—from your logo to your colors to your copy to your in-store experiences.
What is in a brand kit?
A brand kit contains all the information someone would need to get to know your brand, as well as promote your brand. Almost every brand kit includes the company name and logo, color palette, and other approved imagery. Some brand kits also include information about the company’s founders and team, goals, and products. A brand kit is helpful for press and PR teams, brand ambassadors, affiliates, and influencers.
How much should I pay for a logo?
You should pay what you’re comfortable paying for a logo. You can get a brand logo for free or you can pay as much as tens of thousands of dollars to outsourced your branding and logo design. When first starting out, it’s okay to use a free logo maker like Hatchful. When you get more established, you’ll likely want to invest in a professionally designed logo.