Graphic Design 101: The Power of Visual Identity

A phone on a white desk showing fatbuzz visual identity such as colours and logo

A great design should help reinforce your brand values or unique selling points in an easy to convey way – speaking volumes with no words at all. It needs to be memorable, original, and consistent in order to stay in your customer’s memory.

That’s a pretty big task for graphic designers, but there’s no overstating the importance of a distinct and recognisable visual identity for a brand. If you’re not yet convinced that design, specifically good design, is vital to your success, check out our top 5 reasons why you should hire a professional graphic designer.

But if you need still need more reasons…

Let’s Play a game.

If you read those top reasons to hire a designer and still need a push, maybe this game can help drive our point home. We’ve got 5 logos below with their brand names removed.

Can you still tell us what brands they are?

Brand logos with their names omitted

If you were able to immediately recall the brand name, that means the designers did their job well by developing something unique, and that the marketers did their job well by getting that logo in front of you enough times to remember it.

From a UK perspective, you’ll recognise these brands as Walkers, Wall’s, Burger King, Danone, and TK Maxx. The fact that you can identify them with the name missing is impressive – it’s exactly what a brand hopes for.

While you’re unlikely to come across a logo with no name in a real buying situation, you might come across these brands by other names when you’re abroad.

Names Vary, Visuals (Usually) Don’t

What we know as Walls is called Good Humour in the US, what the world calls Burger King has been crowned ‘Hungry Jack’s’ in Australia. Walkers crisps may be more familiar to some as Lays, Danone is labelled Dannon in some countries and TK Maxx is known as TJ Maxx in some places.

The reasons for these name changes are quite varied. In the case of Burger King, the name was already trademarked by someone else in Australia. In other cases, it’s a pronunciation issue or to avoid existing associations in a specific market.

Whatever the reason, this creates an interesting question: What matters more when creating brand identity, your name or your design?

Our little game above highlights that people, no matter what they know the brand name as, could identify the brand purely from their logo. While the logo is only one aspect of visual identity (and visual identity is just one aspect of brand identity), having a logo that is so easily identifiable is a major strength for companies.

What exactly is Visual Identity?

A visual identity will include any kind of visuals used on your logo, website, physical assets, storefronts, uniforms, social media accounts and so on. When designing these elements or choosing it’s important to think about how they all work together.

Think about the colours, typography, and mood and then be sure to keep them consistent across all platforms and mediums. Your visuals will likely be the first impression your business makes on a person, so it’s important to consider what it says.

Bold colours or muted ones? Traditional fonts or modern ones? Bright and fun images or dark and mysterious ones? There are so many options and it’s important that the visual identity you create supports the brand tone of voice you’re trying to establish. If you’re struggling to create a cohesive identity, that’s where help from designers and marketers can come in handy.

Why Visual Identity Matters

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. A brand’s visual identity transcends language in a similar way.

Bringing it back to the earlier logo game: if you were abroad trying to shop with completely unrecognisable brand names around you, you might choose a product that has a familiar logo instead. While you know the name isn’t the same, you might feel more comfortable choosing it because visually it is connected to the product you know.

Brand recognition like that creates a sense of trust; the consumer knows what to expect and it is all thanks to the visual cues from design. That kind of power cannot be understated.

Our Brains Love Images

Our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text and identify images seen for as few as 13 milliseconds, proving that good visuals are a key to success for brand recognition and awareness.

But to answer the earlier question, both your name and your designs are important. When creating an overall brand identity, don’t just stop at naming a company.

Think about how that identity can be integrated throughout your entire branding and marketing efforts because using visual communications is 43% more persuasive than relying simply on words.

If design is out with your skillset, not to worry. Whether it’s web, social graphics, or print, our dedicated team of designers can help. Get in touch today to find out how our fatBuzz can help you create a cohesive visual identity