Branding, you be you…

Al Power 👨‍🎨
5 min readAug 26, 2022

Ok, lets discuss branding. What it is, why it’s important, and how you can go about creating something that is going to be beneficial to your company.

What is a brand?

Let’s ask the most obvious question to kick this whole thing off. What exactly is a brand? So, this article is not going to be a step by step guide to creating your first brand identity. It’s not going to be a join the dots tutorial on how to create a logo. I’m going to try help you understand what a brand is, and how you should be thinking at a higher level about your brand.

What is your brand? A logo, a set of illustrations, a style, a tone of voice. No. Well, yes but there is so much more to it other than the visual elements. They’re simply the skin of your brand. So, if you think about branding in human terms, your brand is your identity. I have a brand, you have a brand, we all have brands. But it’s not just your face, or your nose ring, or even the clothes you wear. It goes way deeper than that. It’s who you are. It’s your soul. It’s what you value. It’s what you believe in. It’s what makes you you.

So, when you’re creating a brand for your business, it’s so important that you put the ground work into the deeper underlying elements. What does your business believe in, what are your core business values, how do you want people to perceive you. These are the key questions to truly understanding what way your brand will develop. Once you are able figure out your inner-self as a company, only then will you be able to start focusing on the exterior. Your logo, your colors, your illustration style, your tone of voice. All these visual components bubble up from your core. But you can only start focusing on the visual components, once you have a consistent, agreed stance on who you and what you really believe in.

For instance, taking it back to human terms again, imagine you’ve a really crazy, whacky personality, then you may lean towards wearing crazy, whacky clothes, with spiky purple hair. If you’re more traditional, then maybe you’re someone who likes to tuck your stripy shirt into your corduroy jeans, with a big set of keys dangling out of your belt buckle, it’s how you represent yourself visually, it all comes from your inner being, who you are inside. It’s generally dictated by your personality. That’s where your brand is developed.

Why is it important?

Now, let’s follow it up with another obvious question. Why exactly is it important to have a solid brand identity? So, from a business perspective, obviously you want a solid, well considered, focused brand identity, because it’s creates trust. It creates a solid perception of who you are. And you want people to remember you for the right reasons. Again, lets take it back to human terms again, imagine you met someone who said one thing, but did another. They were not very consistent in terms of how they approach a situations. A morbidly obese personal trainer, a tattoo artist with no tattoos, a dog groomer who preferred cats. You may be wary of that persons expertise, because it may look like they don’t believe in what they preach. It’s so important that you build a presence that sets you up grow with the right characteristics front and center.

Creating an underlying believe system that reflects your inner self, then pushing it out across every orifice possible to create a consistent, well-rounded, finely tuned unit is your north star. If your beliefs and values are focused on what you want to achieve as a business, then your branding should echo that and in turn hopefully move you in the right direction towards success.

How can you build a solid brand identity?

Well, building a solid brand is a long-term commitment . It won’t just happen over night. Like I’ve said above, the first step is to have a solid understanding of who you are. I have found the The Three-Hour Brand Sprint by Jake Knapp is a great way to kick start the discussion. In the workshop you’ll ignite discussions about your personality, your target audience, your brand values, and where your brand stands in the competitive landscape. All of this type of discussion will go such a long way when it comes to figuring out your tone of voice, your visual identity, and just the general vibe you want to pour out across your company as a whole.

Your brand should tell a story. A story which takes into account your mission and vision. It should incapsulate everything from who you are and what you do, through to where you want to be in the future. And if your story is clear, easily understood, and consistent, well then you’re in a good position to start focusing on how to visualise your brand.

Obviously, technically to grow a brand from day one, all of this should happen before you create any visual design. But in reality, you’ll find that this sort of discussion happens when your company is starting to become moderately successful, and someone has realised that everything about your brand identity is weak and totally inconsistent. Maybe your logo looks like it was drawn in Microsoft Word, or maybe your favourite color started as blue, but quickly changed to pink. There comes a time in every company’s life when a step back is needed and a reassessment of your brand values is taken. In fact, it’s actually a great thing to do from time to time. Companies evolve, and so do brands. Reevaluating your narrative, and your brand values is something that should be constantly done. Companies evolve and you might find that the brand values that you once strongly believed in have changed over time. And from this creeps inconsistency, and everyone knows inconsistency is the devil to a brand identity.

So thats about that. Obviously this has all been very high level. I never touched on how you go about actually creating a visual identity, but trust me. If you’re planning on creating a visual identity, and you approach a brand designer with a full understanding of who you are as a company, you’re brand designer will thank you so so much.

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