Graphic Design’s Impact on Building a Brand Identity
Graphic design is one of the most powerful branding tools you have available.
Along with your choice of words and values, good design is the best way to quickly communicate critical information about your brand — like your industry, your attitude and your business’s values.
Even subtle design choices — like texture, colour saturation, and font-weight — can significantly impact how customers perceive your brand.
These are seven ways graphic design can shape a brand identity — and how good design choices can result in healthier, more effective branding.
1 – Graphic Design Reinforces Brand Values
Graphic design is one of the most powerful tools you have when you need to communicate your overall brand identity quickly.
For example, textures can add a little bit of playfulness to what would otherwise be a solid block of colour.
Fonts can range anywhere from highly formal to sleek and professional to chaotic and unique.
Even the shapes you use — circles, squares with rounded corners or highly irregular shapes — can create significantly different emotional responses in a person.
Each of these decisions can say a little bit about your brand — what you sell, why and how you’re different from the competition.
Over time small design decisions can build up. When you keep your design habits consistent, they can give you much control over how potential customers perceive your brand — allowing you to build a brand that’s both strong and recognisable.
2 – Colour Psychology Can Impact Brand Perception
Colour is one of the design elements that can have a significant impact on brand perception.
Major companies lean heavily on colour psychology — or how colours impact a viewer’s mood — to create brands that customers will associate with certain emotions and energy levels.
High-intensity colours like yellow, red, and orange are often a good fit for high-intensity brands that want to be associated with excitement and energy.
Lower-intensity colours, like blue or purple, can produce designs that are more relaxing or calming.
While there are exceptions to the rules of colour psychology — a good designer can likely create calming yellow images or exciting blue ones — using them as a guide will help give you more control over how your brand is perceived.
3 – Graphic Design Is What Makes a Brand Stand Out
Even the best businesses offer more than just good products or excellent customer service.
They also have unique brands and use graphic design to tell stories about their businesses that make them more memorable than the competition.
Their use of design helps them stand out in a crowded market and encourages customers to pick their products over the competition.
Good graphic design sometimes means taking a unique approach that can help you…
Because graphic design also communicates your brand values, unique graphic design can also show customers how your values are different from the competition — and that you’re willing to experiment or break from the pack to meet customer’s needs.
4 – Graphic Design Helps You Take Advantage of Potential Branding Real Estate
One unique advantage of graphic design is that you can use it to build your branding in various places — even ones you may not associate with marketing or branding.
Packaging, for example, is an often under-exploited resource when it comes to branding.
Just about every aspect of your packaging can be branded with unique graphics — including your packaging materials, the package itself and even the receipt you ship.
Some businesses use branded car wraps.
Others create merchandise to hand out at events or to sell on an online storefront.
Good graphic design can also help make existing marketing more effective.
Email blasts, banner ads and a business’s website all have the potential to improve branding with graphic design.
5 – Graphics Communicate What Words Can’t
Graphics are much faster than words when it comes to communication.
Whether they’re looking at a product in a store, a digital ad online or in an infographic shared on social media, people will see your use of colour and shape before they start to process what you’re talking about.
Words alone are often too slow for online branding — which is part of why graphic design is so crucial to your brand-building efforts.
While you won’t want to skip out on using words entirely, it’s essential to consider how individuals will parse visuals long before written content.
6 – Good Design Can Make a Brand Seem Professional
Slick design, high-quality assets and good fonts can all help make a brand seem more professional.
Even if you don’t want your brand to come across as stiff or formal, this professionalism can still help your business seem more trustworthy, self-aware and reputable.
On the other hand, low-quality assets can have the opposite effect.
A visibly pixelated or artifacted logo, one that’s been upsized from a small original image, can come across as unprofessional or less self-aware.
This is why many brands will maintain some master logo file, either in vector format or as a vast raster image, always to provide a professional-looking version of their logo, no matter how large of an image the project requires.
Other assets can provide similar benefits, helping you to create professional-looking images or advertisements as needed.
7 – Consistency Can Make (or Break) Branding
Consistency in design can have a significant impact on your ability to brand.
When your design elements are consistent, they can help reinforce brand awareness and improve your brand’s cohesiveness across ad campaigns and different ad channels.
This is why many larger brands actively maintain style guides, which detail how designers should use colour, fonts and shapes.
These guides help structure the creation of internal materials and help brand partners create content or ads consistent with the company’s current branding style.
On the other hand, inconsistency can lead to less effective branding or even confusing ad campaigns that seem like they came from different companies.
How Graphic Design Can Radically Alter Your Brand Image
Graphic design can have a significant impact on how customers perceive your brand image.
With the right approach, you can use graphic design to control how your brand is perceived — helping you build a more powerful and consistent brand image.
Author Bio: Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.