So, you’re launching your brand-new business soon (exciting!). Or maybe you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, but your brand is feeling… stale. After crafting and refining what your business is all about, who you serve, and how you’ll make money, your next step is to create your visual brand. But if the phrase “visual brand” seems vague and cloudy, you’re not alone! I’m here to clear this up for you so you know exactly what visual branding elements you need.
In this post, you’ll learn the 5 most important visual branding elements you need to successfully launch or update your brand. We’ll dig into what a visual brand is, why you need one, and your 5 must-have elements. Let’s do this!
Make Sure You Have These 5 Visual Branding Elements Before Launching
What is a visual brand?
Your visual brand is the visual expression of your business. It includes the following 5 core elements that we’ll dig into in this post: a color scheme, logo, typography, graphics, and brand photography. It can also include video elements, your use of space, textures, and shapes. All of these elements work together to represent the look and feel of your brand and differentiate it from others.
In essence, your visual brand communicates your brand’s values, mission, voice, goals, and personality. Sound difficult to wrap all of that up in just 5 visual elements? It can be! Personally, even though I’m a visual person and have experience in graphic design, it’s not my area of expertise. I hired Saturday Studio to design and select my color scheme, logos, and typography. This was back in 2018, and I am still in love with my visual brand over five years later!
For me, it was worth hiring this part of my business out to experts. But, there are so many easy ways to create these elements on your own if you want to go this route. I cover some of these DIY methods in the post.
1. Color Scheme
First up in your visual brand identity is a color scheme. Select at least 3 core colors that will represent your brand. Add 2-3 additional colors to increase visual interest and variety to your marketing materials (such as your website, business cards, graphics, and even your brand photos- don’t worry, we’ll touch on this soon!).
If you are DIYing your visual brand, one of my favorite tools to create color schemes is Coolors. It’s a super easy way to generate endless color scheme ideas or browse trending palettes.
Next up on the list of your 5 must-have visual branding elements is the all-important logo! You want your logo to be simple and easy to comprehend.
You can also create sub-mark logos for different purposes. For example, I have 5-6 different logo variations I use across my platforms. The different shapes and sizes allow me to use each logo where it fits best and makes the most visual sense.
Fiverr and Upwork are two great places to find freelance designers to create your logo.
Selecting your typography is the next order of business. Typography is a fancy way of saying font. You want at least 2 fonts in your visual brand identity. An easy way to select your typography is to choose one serif and one non-serif font (like mine below). You can use one for your headers, and one for your body text.
It can also be fun to select a third supplementary font with more style. I use a script font to add a hand-written element to my website and email newsletters.
Next, you need a set of graphic elements. Graphics can take on many forms, like quote graphics for Instagram or Pinterest, Instagram story or reel templates, Facebook cover images, banners on your website, or infographics. Canva is an easy-to-use tool to create graphics. It’s a great place to browse fonts, too!
Start with a small set of 3-5 graphic templates you can use in different ways across your marketing platforms. You don’t need 20 to start with! In fact, the fewer graphics you have the more recognizable your posts and content will be to your audience. You can always switch them up with different underlaid images or other colors from your color scheme.
5. Brand Photos
And lastly, my favorite visual branding element: brand photos! Brand photos are the perfect way to express your visual brand with a huge impact. Take this collage of a recent brand shoot I did for my own business. Everything from my environment, the colors in my wardrobe and props, and the styling on my bookshelves represents my brand. Whether you have your brand photos taken by a photographer, or shoot some yourself, keep your color scheme and graphic elements in mind as you create.
If you want to learn how I do this for my own clients, sign up here to enroll in my comprehensive online course, Visual Content Toolkit. It will teach you my methods for creating strategic and styled brand photos that perfectly express your brand.
Wrap-Up: The 5 Visual Branding Elements You Need
When you have these 5 visual branding elements, your ideal customers will recognize and trust your brand without blinking an eye. Which one are you most excited to create or update? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. It’s no secret that creating all of these elements yourself (especially as a busy entrepreneur!) is not easy. You will likely need extra help with creating a highly effective visual brand. If you could use a boost in the brand photography arena, join Visual Content Toolkit here! I’ll be teaching you how to create not just pretty brand photos, but strategic ones (aka more money in your pocket and impact for your customers!).