What is brand identity?

What is brand identity?

Branding. Brand identity. You’ve probably heard these words before, they’re thrown around too much but what do they mean?

A lot of the time people will talk about branding when they mean brand identity, they are two different things but are connected and both important parts of a business. Let’s take a quick look at the difference.


Branding can be touched, viewed, smelt, heard and even tasted. 

It’s how people think of your business and what they attributes they associate with it. An example of this is Apple v Microsoft – Both sell computers but we think of one as corporate and the other as a fun and creative even though what we use their products for is the same.

Branding extends to social status too, is a mac user more creative than a Microsoft user? Probably not but by making the conscious decision to buy a mac we are telling people we align with their beliefs.

It’s an intangible and emotional process and forms the reputation of your business and how other perceive you. Although this quote by Jeff Bezos is overused quote it still rings true:

"Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room"  (Jeff Bezos - Founder, Chairman, CEO, and President of Amazon.) 

Your brand identity has a huge influence on your branding and should visually represent the personality of your business. 

As opposed to branding it’s the tangible components that you use for your business both internally and externally. It begins to inform people of what you do, how you are different and why customers should choose you.

The mistake some businesses make is to just create a logo and website and call themselves a brand – This can end up looking cheap and doesn’t give your customers the full picture of your business.

What are the different parts of a brand identity?

Back in the early 90’s an identity usually consisted of a logo, letterheads, business cards and imagery for brochures. Some of these elements are still used today but there’s a lot more to think about nowadays. Here’s a few examples of what a brand identity can include:


A logo-mark should represent your business and be easily recognisable, think of it as a condensed version of your entire brand identity. Your logo should be: simple, versatile and appropriate

Colour Palette

Colour is one of the most influential parts of your brand. It's much more than just picking a colour because it's bright and attention grabbing and is usually the first thing your audience will notice about your business.

Are you playful? Funny? Serious? Cheeky? Creative? Daring? Or maybe it's a mix of a few of them. Your colour palette choice needs to match the tone and personality of your brand.


Choice of font is another one of those big choices you don’t want to rush. You can have the best identity in the world but if your font choice doesn’t support you then it's like running a marathon backwards. Broadly speaking they are four overarching types (excuse the pun) - Serif, Sans Serif, Slab Serif and Script, each of them has a different way of speaking to an audience.


Far more than just choosing some nice pictures. Whether it's bought stock photography or a professional photoshoot, images will reinforce your identity and be a fundamental part of how your audience recognises your business.

Stock photography sites are getting better and better so if you're on a tight budget these could be perfect. But nothing beats custom shot photography to align with your brand.

Additional Material

Your brand identity should touch all areas of your brand, this include all digital and print aspects.


– Website
– Digital ads
– Social media ads
– Video/animation
– Email design 
– Style guide


– Packaging
– Promotional print
– Style guide
– Business Cards

How will a brand identity help my business?

Brand identity will creatively define your business, showing off that magic stuff that makes your business different and engage with your audience. These can be broken down by defining who you are, representing your business properly engaging your audience.


How are you different from your competitors? What can you offer that others don’t? Are you a luxury brand, how do you communicate this tastefully?

A brand identity complete with brand strategy allows you to show off what makes your business different from others and show off your personality. This means developing a clear identity system that communicates directly to your target audience and then engages with them with tailored design.


Does your identity represent who you are consistently? Imagine receiving a lighthearted and beautifully designed email offering a free sample. You then click through to the website you find the tone of voice strict, website badly designed and then it forces you to pay for the sample…It would be like talking to two different businesses, not great for your brand experience.

A successful identity allows you to grow and more importantly, plan for the future. A lot of the time businesses will pay for a cheap and quick logo but end up paying the price in the future by doing multiple rebrands just to stay relevant and distinctive


Engaging with your customers is vital. Without them no business keeps trading. Just having any old brand identity won’t help, it needs to be tailored to your target audience by aligning with their beliefs. This is where a brand strategy comes into action. It dives deep into your customers, positioning in the market and unearths aspects of your business that perhaps you never knew.  

These are the little golden nuggets that eventually build trust and loyalty. And these are perhaps some of the more important aspects as it’s essential to remember we spend money with brands that we trust.

Have an identity that delivers your brand message consistently in creative ways, this will be important for your audience to trust your brand.

How much will a brand identity cost?

It can cost £500 to well over £1m. These are both extreme examples of pricing but the more money you spend doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a better identity. 

Large and established corporations won’t spend £10,000 on a rebrand as they will worry it will be perceived as too little and therefore devalue the brand. But this being said at the low end of the spectrum you will be getting an identity which lacks depth, research and you will probably end up spending more money rebranding sooner than you planned. 


Is it worth spending money on a brand identity?

The short answer is yes. 

You could go online and get a quick logo for £50 – £100 pounds or maybe even a brand identity for under £500 but those off the shelf, quickly created designs aren’t tailored to the needs of the business buying it. There’s also a very strong possibility that quick creation sites won’t represent your business properly and jeopardise what you’ve worked so hard for to get to this point.

Whereas a brand design studio will spend time researching your target audience, analyse the market your product or service will operate in and develop your businesses personality. Now, I know these may sound like a lot of buzzwords but these are some key areas that make investing in a brand identity designer worth it.


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