Visual identity systems: what they are and why they are important


When we build a brand, we build an experience that reflects purpose. Visual identity is a big part of this brand’s experience. Colors, graphics, and fonts transform brand concepts into recognizable visual identities.

Once a brand is established, it must become a recognizable identity that can be perceived by the outside world. This recognition comes with consistency, and a strong system of visual identity is needed to achieve that consistency.

To create a visual identity system, you need all the visual elements that a brand has. The basics of the visual identity system are a strong guideline of the brand and its tasks in implementation. The ultimate goal of this system is to turn all brand assets into principles that can be followed by the entire content team to ensure that the online presence is aligned with the original brand concept.

Advantages of the visual identity system

A visual identity system is a way to make things easier, help people achieve a manageable and effective workload, and avoid mistakes. These mistakes can happen if there are no clear guidelines on how to achieve excellent work results.

Establishing systems turns complex processes into easy-to-understand steps that increase efficiency.

An effective visual identity system will help the organization:

  • Improve the outcome of their content creation process.
  • Avoid mistakes related to not understanding what a brand means.
  • Simplify collaboration between teams.
  • Create complex strategies with strong foundations that can help you implement them.

How to create a visual identity system

Step 1: Develop a brand identity

The visual identity system starts with what we know as a brand image. This includes the logo, fonts and colors of the brand. Ideally, you will have them in brand guide already, if not, you need to develop them in this step.

Step 2: Create a mood board

Mood tables are similar to visual identity systems in the sense that they display much more than a logo and color scheme. Mood plates go a step further in displaying photos, video, and even sound or smells to get a rounded sense of brand.

Mood tables are selected content (ie not developed in a company or organization) and are not public. They are very helpful in gaining inspiration and feedback from stakeholders on what the official visual identity system might look like when completed.

Step 3: Get feedback

Sounds simple enough, right? But this can be a step in a process that you repeat several times before deciding on a complete draft of your visual identity system.

Instead of creating proprietary content for your visual identity system, every time you receive new feedback, use your fashion board from the step above to upload your vision. Once you receive enrollment, you are ready to put together your own visual identity system.

Step 4: Include guidelines

In order for the visual identity system to work well, it is important to include guidelines for the use of each element. These guidelines answer specific questions “How do designers create new content without violating consistency?” and “How does a website developer understand what a website should look like?”

For example, there are types of content where a logo is not the best option to add, so designers may opt for a word mark or a simplified logo instead.

It is important that you are very precise and precise in your guidelines so that there is no confusion and designers can develop a distinction about best practices for using a visual identity system.

Once you have them in place, it’s time to add guidelines for each item. You can structure this in several ways, but here are some common ones:

  • Assign a page to each item and include guidelines on the same page as the item.
  • Include a guide for your brand at the beginning of the visual identity system document and add guidelines towards the end.
  • Add a FAQ that explains the guidelines for each item.
  • Add samples of what you need and not so the team will see examples of real-world guidance.

Fundamentals of the visual identity system

If you want to build your visual identity system to make your brand stand out from the crowd, here are some best practices that can help you avoid common mistakes and achieve great results.

Get to know your message.

Know your message, purpose and how you want to talk to your audience. The basics of the visual identity system need a strong foundation for success. Think about those values ​​you want to share and the misconceptions you want to avoid at all costs. Create a schedule that prioritizes your main goals and allows you to create results that align with your values.

Knowing what you want to communicate will help you create a message that is not only profitable, but also aligned with your values.

Have a strong theoretical background.

Did you know that psychology studies the foundations of the relationship between colors and feelings? Have you noticed that the message can be read as scary or romantic depending on your handwriting? If you have this information, you can shape how people visually perceive your brand.

Psychology tells us a lot about colors and how they can affect the perception of our brands. If you don’t know much about this, it may be time to start doing research work.

Create an effective system.

Create an efficient yet scalable system that can be upgraded to suit your brand and business needs. The main goal of any system is to make things easier. This should be on top of all the demands that arise along the way.

Examples of visual identity systems are successful if they show the potential for magnification without loss of effectiveness.

Be precise.

Be as precise as possible, as this will avoid mistakes and unnecessary things between team members back and forth. Choosing details such as photos that match the brand can make a difference.

Clarifying things can be extremely helpful for new team members who don’t have the brand background needed to understand the basics of a virtual identity system.

Create an amazing visual identity system

Building a system is a concept that sounds more technical and specialized, making it difficult to get started. But the truth is, even if you only have a bunch of tasks together, you’re already building the first steps toward creating a system. You are close to the goal.

Systems can make everything easier, even if you start with small questions. You will learn the details along the way.

Have you created a strong visual identity system? If you haven’t already, today is the day to start.

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