Why Your Brand Needs a Visual Identity System

A well-designed logo can effectively communicate a brand’s essence. But by itself, it cannot sufficiently express everything about your brand.

In order to achieve that critical goal, your brand needs a visual identity system comprised of a logo, color palette, imagery, and fonts. With a unified system, you can build a solid foundation for recognition and familiarity.

Why a Logo Is Not Enough

One of the worst mistakes new brands make is believing that a logo is more than enough to guarantee familiarity and recognition among its target audience. With a changing marketplace, logos can pale in comparison to a well-built visual identity system crafted with the help of an expert branding agency.

Similarities between different logos

The confluence of trends and the Internet makes it easier for designers to influence each other’s works. The downside is that many logo designs become similar to one another, using the same visual language.

And as consumers are exposed to a glut of visual noise, it can be challenging to develop a unique logo that can truly differentiate a brand.

Smaller display spaces

The influx of newer platforms for brands to display their visual representations presents both opportunities and challenges.

On one hand, you have websites, social media, and apps where a brand’s visual representation can be prominently displayed.

But on the other hand, these platforms can only provide a limited amount of space, which is not enough for a full logo.

Through thoughtful identity designing, brands can take full advantage of these opportunities through the use of colors, graphics, and fonts.

Your brand should be fluid

By their inherent nature, logos are stable. There are only a few instances which merit an overhaul of a logo, including a strategic shift in the brand.

Your visual identity, on the other hand, is more flexible — agile in the face of new challenges and opportunities. In fact, a well-constructed visual identity system should continuously evolve.

Building an Identity System

A robust brand identity system enables a brand to become recognizable sans a logo. Furthermore, it brings harmony and consistency that can be harnessed in telling an impactful brand story.

How can your brand build a powerful identity system? The operative term is a system.

A sound system has three essential qualities: flexibility, unity, and consistency. Here are some tips to help you achieve these goals.

●      Start with your logo

Your brand’s logo is your primary tool in relaying what you have to offer.

As such, your logo should work well with a variety of platforms, ranging from print to the web. Simplicity helps.

●      Create a visual alternate

Once you have your logo down pat, the next order of business is creating an alternate mark which will give your identity system a higher degree of flexibility.

It can be as simple as removing the text from the logo, like what Nike does, or creating a secondary logo, like what sports teams do.

●      Use colors and fonts effectively

Most brands use one to three colors for their brands. But expanding your color palette to secondary or even tertiary colors can give your brand more flexibility.

 The same idea extends to fonts. Your brand’s primary typeface will serve as a strong foundation for your logo while secondary fonts within the same family of typefaces can provide you with a method for hierarchy when used across different platforms.

●      Establish your brand’s voice

How does your brand’s voice sound across different platforms, from sales scripts to online content?

A brand’s voice extends beyond what it talks about and pinpoints how it actually sounds. Across the different platforms that you use to convey your message, your voice should have a unified, consistent tone.

●      Write it down

Once you have gone through each of the elements of brand identity, it is crucial to put all of these standards together in a style or brand book.

The primary function of this stylebook is to ensure that standards are met consistently across different platforms while providing users a wide berth for creativity while discouraging monotony.

A Unified System

Establishing a visual identity system entails an enormous amount of time and effort from all the parties involved. But your investment will pay great dividends in the form of recognition and familiarity over the long term.


Grace Yacoub is the owner, founder and CEO at Zaman. She recognized the potential to develop brands in Dubai back in 1996. Amongst her first projects were to convert the local powerhouses of Etisalat and NBD into branded entities and engage the nation in the drive for modernity. She has since led projects across finance, family, industry, property, retail and all sectors to convert many of the region’s most important companies into powerful brands.


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