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Brand identity


People, and agencies, have different ways of describing similar things. This is how we see the difference between brand strategy and brand identity. Brand identity is the unique combination of visual, verbal and emotional elements that distinguish a brand and shape how its audience perceives it.

What is brand identity?

If brand strategy is the words, meaning and reasons why you do what you do, brand identity (sometimes referred to as visual identity) is the more tangible, visible stuff. Things like word choices in your copywriting. The colours and visuals you use. Your iconography, the way your physical assets such as offices and vans look – if you have those things.

But your identity can’t exist without your strategy. Not a good one, anyway. Both the brand strategy and the brand identity should be covered in your brand guidelines. Got it? Let’s move on to exactly what your brand identity needs to cover.

How to Build a Brand Identity

Brand colours

You’ve probably heard that colour can increase brand recognition by up to 80% (according to a study by the Pantone Colour Institute). So, it’s the main factor in being recognised by your target audience. But it’s more than that. The primary colour you use across your brand can have a serious impact on brand perception. The psychology of colour is a huge factor in marketing, so you need to think through what kind of emotion you want to be associated with. Calm? Exciting? Fun? Mysterious?

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The typography style/typeface you use will stem directly from how you want to be perceived. Look at the top few fashion brands – the minimalist fonts and space between the letters make the brand feel expensive. The lettering a company like Toys R Us used (RIP) showcased the fun in the brand.

Brand fonts

The size and weight of your text can be a really interesting way of standing out. It can emphasise or subdue what you are trying to communicate without changing the words.

Brand logo

Your logo isn’t everything, but it’s a key element of your brand identity which people will know you for. Don’t overthink it. Let the designers give you a few options they think work best, and let them tell you why. It’s not the be-all and end-all – remember, your brand is everything you say and do as well as the visual elements.

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Tone of voice

Your brand voice should reflect the type of company you are. If you’re a cheeky kind of brand, you should speak that way. If you’re a company writing people’s legal documents and want to be seen as trustworthy and sincere, you should probably steer away from any jokes or light-heartedness.

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You need to know whether you’re using illustration at all. For some brands this works, and for some it won’t. Again, you need to consider whether the style works with your brand, or whether it will be too casual/friendly. The level to which you use it can vary, too. Some companies use illustrations as accents and focus more heavily on photography, and others revolve their identity around illustration.


Iconography is underrated, and many brands don’t take advantage of it. Rather than using the generic icons provided by whatever software you’re using at the time, you really should have bespoke icons created in line with your brand. All these little parts add up to create a unique and memorable brand identity.

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Why is brand identity important?

Your brand identity is important because it is the visual (and sometimes audible, and it can encompass other senses, too) representation of your brand.

It’s what people can see, and it’s how they know they’re dealing with you and not another company. It’s what makes you stand out, and makes you different. It’s what makes you instantly recognisable.

Maintaining a brand identity

There’s no point in creating a brilliant brand identity if you don’t make sure it’s maintained. Consistency is massively important when it comes to retaining brand loyalty and recognition. Make sure your brand guidelines are constantly updated, and you have either an internal team or an outsourced agency ensuring everything you produce is on-brand.

Neil Richardson

Head of Business Development and Strategy Rick Shiels Media
Dawn Creative surpassed our expectations with their creativity and originality. They took the time to understand our company values, mission, and target audience, and developed a brand identity that truly resonates with our core beliefs. The innovative concepts, thoughtful designs, and attention to detail were evident in every aspect of the brand development process.

Sonya Carassik Ratty

Strategy & Partnerships Manager Disabled Living
The Dawn team really took the time to understand the organisation during our rebrand process, and brought imagination and real creativity to it. Communication was clear throughout. We're absolutely delighted with the result.

Joanna Pawlowicz

Marketing Manager Softbank
Dawn Creative team is a dream to work with! We partnered up on a rebranding project for our [DMFA] website, and could not be happier with the end results. The support we've received was truly exceptional - from the initial branding workshops, development phase, all the way through to the launch. It is great to see how our vision came to life, and how the team managed to take a very simple concept, transforming it into a whole brand identity that aligns with our vision & mission.

Caroline Hazard

Marketing Manager Adidas
We really thank you for everything. Everyone loved the content you produced for our global event - it's also being used as a sell-in tool internally so it will be really helpful to the sales team. Our VP of Marketing was really impressed so let’s keep up the great work.

Emma Casson

Head of Product Marketing Apadmi
I just wanted to drop you all a note to say how delighted I am with the showreel!! It's absolutely brilliant! Thank you so much for all of your hard work and for pulling it all together so quickly. The pitch also went really well and I'm sure the video will have played a part in that.

Jennifer Bailey

CEO Calla Shoes
The feedback we've had [on the rebrand] has been incredible - the new look and feel together with the launch of our new improved range has dramatically increased revenue this year already!

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We believe every brand is a sleeping giant just waiting to be awoken. To rise up and show the world what it's made of. It's our job to chip away at the stone and realise its potential.

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How your brand moves says things words can’t. Every movement either raises hairs or raises eyebrows. Delights or deters. It's important to make every movement count.

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