A question of visual identity
What is visual identity?
A brand is really in the eye of the beholder - yet this doesn't just refer to a logo or a creative ad campaign - it goes a lot further. In actual fact, when we speak of a brand or branding, we often are referring to visual identity, how the 'personality' of comes together and is portrayed to others.
Visual identity when referring to a ‘brand’ - is ultimately the holistic look and feel of a brand, manifest as consistency among the brand, its strategy, and all its individual visual elements which are constantly evolving over time. It has been found that successful idea creation here, often starts with the search for a unique 'ownable' visual element which can be used to identify the product/company. Often previous examples of successful brand advertising can often be the base of new ideas for new products.
What comes under this term?
Under this umbrella term of ‘visual identity’ is almost like a hub and spokes system. Here, there are various parts at play continuously which affect the visual identity of an organisation/product. Every aspect of a business must seek to contribute positively to the 'brand' and have a benefit.
It should be noted here, that the most important aspect of any branding is emotional perception and connection. This is not something that can be controlled, but there are ways of helping to influence/direct this perception - including a targeted strategy, content and the like. The environment in which branding sits within is dynamic and constantly changes. Added to the fact the new role of consumers being ‘co-contributors’ to brand construction and development, it has never been so important to ensure one ‘tone-of-voice’ is used with any visual identity for a brand. Consistency can often be everything here.
The reality of visual identity today
As we have seen technological improvements over the past decades, it has meant that more than ever before we are connected instantly. It also means that we are a lot more engaged with visuals from numerous organisations/brands on a continuous basis. The rise in the use of social media and platforms is important as platforms like Instagram and Facebook allow for active engagement, and help to feed into a user-led approach often with visual identities of brands/product launches.
Success in the field of visual identity comes in a variety of sizes, from the huge household names like Apple to smaller local businesses which might have a local following. All of these organisations are engaged with brand identity and engaging with their respective customers in their own way. The important thing in this space is again tone and consistency, getting the ‘right voice and pitch’ is really important.
Branding - does it stop there?
No quite frankly it doesn’t. We now live in an increasingly globalised and virtual world, where we as individuals are no longer simply limited to our physical identity. Much like brands the world over, we now have to think and consider a virtual identity, one which comes into focus every time you engage with anyone on the internet. As such, visual identity is now constantly shifting with the sheer variety of different creative opportunities and platforms available to people around the world.
Your personal brand can have a tremendous impact. The effects of this can be felt across the board - from professional spaces to personal spaces. One’s visual identity doesn’t stop in the physical sense - it encompasses the virtual sense too. This new age of 'visual identity' is quite an interesting one, especially if you consider the sheer amount of young millennials who actively use social media to connect with the world. Our 'visual identity' is no longer what we look like, rather a combination of how we portray ourselves in our 'virtual selves' and our 'realtime selves'.