Creating and Maintaining a Cohesive Digital Brand Image

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Visual consistency is about perception. It’s the ability to pick out, recognize, and immediately understand something you see. Coca-Cola is a great example. You can instantly recognize the simple, iconic red and white colors paired with its cursive font anywhere and in any language. Even for its holiday campaign, Coca-Cola used its colors to its advantage. Remember the famously adorable polar bears wearing red scarves that stood out from its soft, white fur and snowy background? Classic. 

This goes to show the power of strong, cohesive branding. Customizing the language, photography, color palette, layout, and written content of your brand’s digital marketing materials can go a long way. In fact, a recent study by LucidPress discovered that consistent brand presentation increases overall revenue and growth by 33%. 

Visual brand identity takes into account elements such as the following:

  • Color scheme, often including defined spot colors
  • Typefaces and typographic treatments
  • Visual flows and patterns

Let’s walk through each to better understand how you can choose the right visuals to convey your brand personality. 

Color Scheme

Color will be the first element that jumps out to consumers. This means it holds a lot of power over brand impression. The first question you should ask before deciding on a random color is: How do you want your brand to be portrayed? 

Color symbolism varies greatly across cultures. In Western cultures, red is a popular hue when looking to convey emotions like passion, power, or even energy. In Chinese culture, red symbolizes luck, joy, and happiness and represents celebration and vitality. Blue inspires more tranquility since it’s associated with oceans and calm, clear skies. 

Whether you choose one or two colors, pick a set and stay consistent. Make sure these colors show up on not only your digital and printed collaterals like business cards and social media pages but also stock imagery. With sophisticated search algorithms in any photo database, you can filter your image results by hues to ensure you’re using the color that customers will come to associate with your brand. 

Typefaces and Typographic Treatments

You might not realize this, but the font you choose for your brand greatly impacts consumer impression. Think about how Disney’s iconic font and typeface evoke a sense of excitement and magic whereas the font for the New York Times implies the very opposite: no-nonsense, all-business persona. Both fonts are instantly recognizable and trigger a sense of familiarity. 

Once your font is chosen, you’ll also need to think about the typography. This includes all the nuanced details that come with fonts. From letterform such as the tails in serif-based fonts to tracking (the spaces between each character), each trait should convey the sound of your brand voice. 

Visual Flows and Patterns

When you look at a picture, a storefront or even wallpaper, your mind automatically starts searching for a recognizable pattern. Patterns and flows comfort the minds of many consumers because they are predictable. 

You can make use of negative spaces like tracking between characters in your font to provide a more modern feel. Open spaces also give viewers a break from anything too crowded and provide contrast to make something stand out. The flow of visuals also helps lead your consumers to where you want their eyes to land. If you already have a pattern or look in mind, do a quick reverse image search to find similar images and even videos to commercially license that match your brand persona. 

Creating and maintaining a brand image is crucial to any company, but it’s not easy. Once it’s established, a recognizable brand can help boost brand affinity, improve sales, and maximize content marketing investment. By creating a new visual identity and establishing style guidelines, you learn to control multiple aspects of design, from colors to typeface and even patterns. It’s how your brand can take the first step to trigger the right responses and actions from loyal customers and new users.

Grant Munro is GM at Shutterstock Custom.

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