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Creating Your Brand Identity: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Feb 7

Understanding the gravity of a brand's image is the cornerstone of business success. This goes beyond mere visuals—it's the soul and DNA of your brand that form the bond with your audience.


Brand identity visualized with a collage of design elements that represent Altered State Productions.

Building a brand identity or reinventing one begins with thoughtful planning. We instinctively look toward the luminaries of the industry, drawing insights from their achievements. It's through the lens of their expertise that we find direction, understanding what resonates and why. Altered State Productions' recent brand guidelines update emerges as a beacon of excellence. A masterclass in their own right, these guidelines harmoniously blend innovation, precision, and aesthetics, serving as more than just a brand map—but as a standard for impeccable branding. Every intricate detail, from the nuanced typography to the evocative sonic elements, underscores the intricate dance of creativity and strategy. For anyone aiming to elevate their brand's stature, Altered State stands as a compelling textbook example to draw inspiration.


What is brand identity?

At its core, brand identity is the combination of visual, sonic, and emotional attributes that define a company and set it apart from competitors. It’s more than just a logo; it’s the essence, the DNA of your business.


Brand Guidelines: What Are They?

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Brand guidelines serve as the blueprint for your brand's presentation and perception. These are pivotal in maintaining consistency and ensuring the essence of your brand remains uniform across platforms.


Brand guidelines, sometimes called a brand style guide, function as a cohesive toolkit for your team. They provide detailed instructions on how to use different elements like logos, colors, and typography in various contexts.


Whether it's for a social media post or a comprehensive marketing campaign, having these guidelines in place streamlines the creative process, guarantees alignment with the brand's vision, and fortifies the brand's presence across all touchpoints. It's a how-to manual that translates your brand's philosophy into tangible visuals and experiences.


How to Create a Brand Identity

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Your brand’s story is essential. It should encapsulate your mission, values, and journey so far. This section is where you demystify the why behind your brand, giving context to all the visual and sonic elements that follow.


Your brand should reflect your target audience and speak to them in a way that will encourage engagement. Choose a brand persona that fits well with the demographics you are speaking to. This is accomplished through language, sounds, and visual cues.


Understanding your competitors' brands will help with this process. Knowing their strengths and any gaps in the market allows you to develop a unique niche to stand out. It's important to find a balance between being recognizable as a brand within your industry and utilizing differentiation for brand recognition.


Your brand identity includes your name, logo, slogan, audio and video elements, colors, typography, language, and persona. Each identifier should work in harmony with the rest to create a solid and unmistakable reference to your business.



Your Mission and Unique Selling Proposition

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Developing a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) within your industry should focus on what distinctively sets your product or service apart from competitors. This uniqueness could be derived from various aspects like innovation, customer experience, sustainability, or cost-effectiveness. For instance, a tech company might emphasize a proprietary technology that significantly enhances user experience, while a fashion brand could highlight its commitment to eco-friendly materials and ethical manufacturing processes. The key is to identify and articulate a value proposition that resonates strongly with your target audience, addressing their specific needs or desires in a way that others in the market do not. This becomes the compelling reason for customers to choose your brand over others.


Altered State Productions is a collective of artists thriving in the world of business. The agency creates artwork that converts, stories that captivate, and campaigns that win. They stand out as true creatives from the crowd of pantsuits in cubicles.


Tell Your Story

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Telling your brand's story is an essential aspect of connecting with your audience on a deeper level. This narrative is often woven into the very fabric of your brand identity – the name, logo, and tagline. These elements are more than just visual or linguistic symbols; they're carriers of meaning and history.


Your story should push the inspiration of your brand and the thought process behind these elements. For instance, the brand name might be a homage to a foundational concept or value that sparked the inception of the business. The logo could be a visual representation of your brand's journey, embodying its ethos, challenges, and triumphs. The tagline, meanwhile, succinctly communicates the core message or promise of your brand.


This storytelling is more than recounting facts. It's about creating a narrative that resonates with your audience, making them feel a part of your journey. Share the milestones, the turning points, and even the setbacks, as these add authenticity and depth to your brand's story. This narrative approach fosters an emotional connection, turning customers into brand advocates.


With the tagline - Our Sight. Your Vision - Altered State lets its audience know that its services are a collaborative process, elevating what’s great about its clients’ brands to become something extraordinary.


Finding Your Brand’s Voice

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Defining your brand voice is a critical strategic decision that directly impacts how your audience perceives and interacts with your brand.


For a tech company, the choice might be between a sophisticated, jargon-heavy voice that appeals to industry insiders versus a simpler, more accessible tone that resonates with a broader audience. A lifestyle brand, on the other hand, might weigh the merits of an aspirational, upscale voice against a more down-to-earth, approachable style.


This decision should align with your brand's identity and values, ensuring that every communication reflects these core elements. The right brand voice facilitates clearer communication with your target audience and strengthens your brand's identity in a competitive market. Always strike a balance that is authentic to your brand and appealing to your audience as well.


The tone across all of Altered State Productions’ publications is bold yet welcoming. The brand is authoritative and inspirational. This balance lets customers know they are in good hands with a true partner who has their best interests at heart.


Find Your Target Audience

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Identifying your target audience is a crucial step in shaping your brand's strategy. This process involves pinpointing the specific group of consumers most likely to be interested in your product or service. Factors such as age, gender, income, location, and interests play a significant role in defining this audience.


For instance, a luxury car brand would likely target an audience with higher income levels and a preference for premium products, while a budget-friendly clothing line may appeal to cost-conscious consumers seeking style and affordability.


Understanding your audience's characteristics and preferences enables you to tailor your marketing efforts, product development, and overall brand messaging to meet their specific needs and desires. This targeted approach enhances the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and helps build a loyal customer base.


Altered State works with businesses large and small. Its client roster comprises a range of organizations, from start-ups to veterans in their industry looking to break molds. Altered State knows its clients come to them for work that is innovative and fresh. The brand reinforces its commitment to groundbreaking marketing strategies with a strong portfolio of brand assets that attract like-minded clients.


Designing Your Visual Identity

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Visuals make your brand tangible. They dictate how your brand image is perceived and recognized. The right visual elements can elevate your brand above the noise, creating memorable touchpoints for your audience. A cohesive visual identity ensures consistency across platforms, fostering trust and reliability.


Several other critical components and considerations exist when developing a visual identity beyond selecting color palettes, logos, and typography. The layout and design of marketing materials, website UI/UX design, and even packaging should be considered. These elements should be visually appealing and functional, ensuring that they effectively communicate the brand's message and facilitate a positive user experience.


The involvement of a skilled art or brand director may ensure that every visual aspect of the brand is cohesive, compelling, and strategically aligned with the brand's overall objectives, enhancing its appeal and recognition in the marketplace.


The Logo

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In the creation of a logo, the objective is to distill your brand's unique selling proposition into a single, impactful visual. This requires a deep dive into what sets your product or service apart in your industry, whether it's innovation, customer experience, sustainability, or cost-effectiveness.


For instance, a tech company's logo should reflect its cutting-edge technology that elevates user experience, while a fashion brand might design a logo that visually communicates its commitment to eco-friendly materials and ethical practices.


The challenge lies in developing a logo that not only identifies your brand but also speaks volumes about your unique value proposition, effectively resonating with your target audience and giving them a compelling reason to choose your brand over competitors. This strategic approach to logo design ensures that it serves as a powerful emblem of your brand's distinct identity and values.


Altered State incorporates a triangle as its emblematic motif. This fundamental geometric design is not only instantly identifiable but also universally relatable. The apex-directed triangle suggests ascent, hinting at a superior experience. Contrasting the prevalent square and circular logos, its angular edges stand out, capturing attention amidst visual clutter. Notably, the triangle cleverly replaces the 'A' in "State", emphasizing the brand name at the logo's heart.



The Color Palette

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Selecting the color palette for your brand is a strategic decision deeply rooted in the psychology of colors and their ability to convey specific emotions and values. Each hue chosen should align closely with your brand's spirit and message. A well-considered color palette is a powerful tool, capable of evoking the right emotional response and strengthening brand recognition.


Financial institutions often use a blue palette because the color is seen as trustworthy. Orange logos typically express a level of energy and excitement. Eco-friendly companies typically have green in their branding to represent nature and because these Earth conscious businesses are referred to as being green.


The color theme you choose for your brand should have consideration for many aspects including color theory, competitors, how and where your logo will be displayed, packaging, signage, and more.


The brand's color palette artfully blends deep tones with vivid hues. This contrasts sharply with the prevalent whitespace dominating many brands. The vibrant and bold color choices underscore their reputation for producing standout, innovative designs and campaigns.


Typography

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In typography, the psychological impact on the audience is a critical factor to consider. The chosen font can subconsciously influence how your brand's message is received and interpreted.


For example, serif fonts often convey a sense of reliability and tradition, making them suitable for brands aiming to project an image of trustworthiness and stability. On the other hand, sans-serif fonts tend to evoke a modern and clean feel, aligning with brands that want to appear contemporary and approachable.


The legibility of the font also plays a significant role in user experience, especially in digital mediums where attention spans are short. A font that is difficult to read can deter users, affecting engagement and brand perception negatively.


Moreover, the font size and spacing (kerning and leading) contribute to the overall readability and aesthetic appeal, impacting the user's comfort while interacting with the brand's content.


Therefore, the choice of typography isn't just a design decision; it's a strategic tool that shapes the audience's emotional response and interaction with your brand, affecting their perception and connection with your message.


The diverse font repertoire empowers the Altered State Productions team to play with line, shape, and weight within their textual designs. Every font is chosen to cater to a broad spectrum of visual needs, ensuring readability. These choices were made with precision to ensure they were both practical and distinctly representative of their brand.


Photography

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Photography in branding is a powerful psychological tool, shaping how audiences perceive and connect with your brand. The style, subject matter, and composition of your brand's photos are more than just visual elements; they communicate your brand's story and values.


High-quality, well-composed images can project professionalism and love for the arts, while the choice of subjects can evoke specific emotions and associations in your audience. For instance, using warm, bright images can instill feelings of optimism and make a brand seem friendly and accessible, whereas more subdued, minimalist photography can convey sophistication, aligning with luxury brands.


Maintaining consistency in photography style across all platforms is crucial in building a strong, recognizable brand identity, ensuring every image consistently reinforces your brand's message and values, deepening emotional resonance with the audience. Remember, more is not always better. Prioritizing quality over quantity prevents diluting your brand's impact with excessive, non-purposeful imagery. Focusing on a few select, high-quality photos that accurately represent your brand is key.


Investing time in creating a digital mood board can be incredibly beneficial, as it helps maintain visual consistency, guiding the aesthetic direction to ensure all images align with your brand's tone and style. Moving towards natural, authentic imagery that reflects real-life scenarios can create a stronger connection with today’s audiences. While it's important to be aware of photography trends, they should not overshadow your brand's unique identity. Trends can serve as inspiration, but the core of your photographic choices should always remain true to your brand's distinct message and identity.


Altered State's photography is both compelling and energetic. Each image is crafted with meticulous detail, ensuring subjects are effortlessly distinguishable amidst captivating visuals that engage and pull the viewer closer. High-contrast imagery is used to draw the eye while artistic compositions guide the viewer through the image, finding more to love the longer they look.



Iconography

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Incorporating icons into your brand involves using simple, graphic symbols to communicate key concepts and actions, enhancing the user experience. These symbols are a form of visual shorthand, quickly conveying information in an intuitive way.


Effective iconography requires that each symbol is clear and immediately recognizable, reflecting your brand's core values. Well-designed icons aid in navigation and information conveyance and contribute to a cohesive brand image, reinforcing the brand's message and functionality in a subtle yet impactful way.


The style you choose for brand icons should be in line with your general art direction and other brand elements like typography and logo. For example, a brand that uses a light font would want to use icons with thin lines so there is an even visual weight on the page. Similarly, brand recognition is reinforced when the icons have a visual similarity to the brand logo.


The icons used by Altered State Productions are simple in design since the company frequently utilizes very visually strong elements from photos to videos to animations. This approach allows creative elements to take center stage over navigational elements.


Sonic Guidelines

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In our multimedia age, how your brand sounds is just as critical as how it looks. This encompasses everything from the jingles in your ads to the hold music on your hotline. Sonic elements have the power to evoke emotions, create atmospheres, and establish instant recall.


Depending on your brand persona, you may choose sonic elements that evoke a range of emotions. Such as fun sounds for a children's brand, electronic effects for a tech company, and comforting and reassuring melodies for an insurance company.


The sounds that you choose will have one of the strongest effects on your audience's emotions when interacting with your brand. It's important to set the tone for a smooth and pleasant customer experience every time.


Altered State recognizes the potential of audio branding, crafting soundscapes that resonate with their audience's sensibilities. From the customer service phone line sounds to the sound of the logo sfx, this auditory experience not only enhances brand consistency but also deepens the connection between the brand and its members.


Music

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Music influences mood and perception, making it a crucial tool in shaping how audiences experience and remember a brand. This auditory element plays a subtle yet significant role in reinforcing brand identity and can even influence consumer behavior – upbeat tempos can energize and motivate, while softer, slower rhythms can soothe and relax.


In essence, the music associated with your brand becomes an emotional cue, forging a deeper connection with your audience and enhancing their overall experience with your brand. Music choice in branding is not just entertainment; it's a strategic tool for emotional engagement and brand differentiation.


The sonic signature of Altered State Productions is tech-centric, calming, and serene. Their crafted audio landscapes beckon listeners, encouraging them not just to engage with the brand but to linger and immerse themselves fully.


Brand Cohesion & Fusion

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In branding, achieving a unified whole hinges on the seamless integration of various elements. This involves strategically pairing colors, music, logos, and other components so that each one complements and enhances the others. The color palette chosen should reflect the brand's personality and ethos, while the music or sound design should underscore the brand's message and tone. Similarly, the logo design must align with the overall aesthetic and emotional feel of the brand, ensuring a consistent visual identity.


This pairing process is crucial across all brand touchpoints, including website design, marketing materials, and even product packaging. The aim is to create a cohesive brand experience, where each element works together to reinforce the brand narrative and identity.


When these elements are thoughtfully paired, they contribute to a strong, coherent brand image that resonates with the audience and stands out in the marketplace. The success of a brand's identity largely depends on this careful orchestration of various components, ensuring a cohesive and impactful brand presentation.


Finalizing and Disseminating Brand Guidelines

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Compile all directives into a detailed guide once you've finely crafted your brand identity. This brand guidelines website or document typically includes logo usage, color palettes, typography specifications, and other brand-related assets. By disseminating these brand guidelines, you ensure that every team member, from marketers to designers, stays true to the brand's core essence. It acts as a reference point, ensuring consistency across all branding efforts.


These guidelines are useful when you work with other organizations that may also talk about your company. Whether it's a media outlet sharing a press release, sponsorship placements, or co-marketing opportunities, a clear brand guide ensures that everyone using your brand assets uses them correctly.



Utilizing Brand Guiding Tools: Corebook.io vs Gingersauce

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Utilizing specialized tools can greatly simplify the process of creating and maintaining brand guidelines.


Emphasizing a seamless experience, Corebook.io offers easy onboarding and a quick start without the need for coding expertise. The platform is designed with brilliant UX and simplicity, ensuring that branding teams find it accessible and intuitive.


What sets Corebook.io apart is its commitment to providing online brand guidelines that are not only flexible but also consistently up-to-date. With features that allow you to edit, share, update, and protect your brand value, it serves as a dynamic tool for building and maintaining your brand's identity. The collaborative prototyping in Corebook° Studio enables creative teams to reduce repetitive tasks and accelerate branding projects. Sharing assets is made effortless with deep link functionality, and the platform even allows for interactive brand storytelling through multimedia content such as audio, video, and animation. Corebook.io transcends traditional brand guide creation, turning it into an engaging and collaborative process that truly resonates with the evolving needs of modern brands.

Pros

Cons

Easy OnboardingNo need to learn coding; simple UX ensures a quick start.

Web-based Dependency: As an online platform, it might require constant internet connectivity, which can be a limitation in some scenarios.

Collaborative FeaturesCorebook° Studio enables collaboration and reduces repetitive tasks, aiding in faster project completion.

Potential Learning CurveDespite the focus on simplicity, the extensive features might still present a learning curve for some users.

Interactive Storytelling: Multimedia content like audio, video, and animation enhance the brand guides, allowing for a richer brand narrative.


 

Developed by experienced design agency owners, Gingersauce is a solution aimed at creative professionals who understand the value of time. Recognizing the time-consuming nature of creating brand books and the need for customization, Gingersauce provides templates and a platform to ease the creation of professional brand books. It's not just a time-saving solution; it's a learning platform on how to brand, encapsulating years of branding know-how.

Pros

Cons

Time-Saving Solution: Designed to expedite the process of creating brand books, using AI features, saving valuable time.

Target Audience: Primarily geared towards designers, which may limit its applicability to other professionals involved in branding.

Platform: Provides a platform to learn how to brand, enriching designers' knowledge.

Dependency on Templates: While the templates speed up the process, they might restrict unique and outside-the-box design elements.

Customizable Templates: Allows creativity and personalization within the constraints of professional templates.


By integrating tools like Corebook.io and Gingersauce, brands can ensure that their identity is captured accurately and efficiently in their guidelines, allowing for a more consistent and powerful brand image.


Branding Wrapped Up

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Establishing a strong brand identity is crucial for businesses, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises. This strategy goes beyond visual appeal, directly impacting the psychological connection with the audience. Consistency in branding across platforms, including websites, social media, and offline channels, can lead to a revenue increase of up to 23%. This uniform branding ensures that each customer interaction is a reflection of the brand's core values and personality, creating a lasting impression.


For smaller businesses, the importance of brand identity is even more pronounced. A Nielsen survey indicates that 59% of consumers tend to buy from brands they recognize, emphasizing the role of brand familiarity in purchasing decisions. A well-crafted brand identity can build trust and loyalty, essential factors for consumer engagement.



In this competitive marketplace, where a strong brand identity can be the difference between success and obscurity, the pivotal question for any business, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, is: How can you craft a brand identity so compelling and aligned with your core values that it not only captivates your audience's attention but becomes an indispensable part of their daily lives and decision-making processes?


 

ABOUT ALTERED STATE PRODUCTIONS

Altered State Productions, renowned globally for its video services, also excels in art direction and branding. With a decade of top-tier experience, they are celebrated for their innovative and efficient approach. Specializing in creating some of the best brand identities that respect budget constraints, they are the perfect choice for quality-driven, cost-effective branding solutions in Dallas.

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