Let’s start with the definition of “identity.” Identity is the “sense of self, providing sameness and continuity in personality over time…” So as far as “brand identity,” what does that mean exactly? I’ll break it down into chewable bits from a graphic designer’s standpoint. A strong brand identity has the following design specifics that are meant to be permanent:
- A LOGO! It’s acceptable to have a secondary logo too – but they need to look related
- Two or three brand colors
- A primary and secondary font
- One texture (if you want one)
- One overall layout/ format/ look/ feel (or whatever you want to call it)
With all of these specifications, the most important factor is commitment. Religiously commit to using them and only them. Consistency is top priority! Once a brand identity has been established, a social media presence should represent that same identity. Yet, many brands struggle when representing themselves on social media, as each social platform has a certain level of uniformity—you’re unable to change the layout, font, or colors of these social sites. However, there are ways to remain true to your brand’s design identity in the social space.
Logos, Images, and Photos
Any profile picture, be it Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc., should be your logo— and use the same one everywhere. You can further showcase your brand identity by choosing an appropriate image (perhaps one with brand colors?) for your Facebook and LinkedIn cover photos, or YouTube and Twitter backgrounds. While we’re on that topic, make sure that your logo or image isn’t pixilated, blurry, or just plain bad. If not for you, then for my sanity.
Colors, Fonts, and Visuals
Chances are that you spent a lot of time deciding on those two or three specific hues to accurately represent your brand, so don’t let them go to waste. Create images and infographics with your brand colors and fonts. The more your visual elements have the same look, the more recognizable your brand becomes.
Social Share Buttons
If we look at branding on social media through the opposite end of the spectrum and suppose that consumers are looking at our website, it’s important to have easily accessible routes to connect on social media. Social media sharing buttons in an obvious place near the top of the page are crucial. But don’t overdo it—only add the social media sites that you’re active on and receive the most engagement. Consider having “counter” buttons, which display the number of shares. In addition, custom social media share buttons offer another excellent opportunity to add your own brand elements to already established icons.
Cohesive Design and Messaging
While design can seriously shine on social mediums, it’s not all about design. Therefore, don’t ignore content. Brand personality is displayed visually, but is also powerful as the written word. These two branding elements should compliment one another—one company that does this really well is Old Spice. Not only do they have great design, they match their messaging accordingly. If you haven’t checked out their social sites, you should—it’s branding at its finest. Who would have thought that deodorant could be so cool?
Identity is what you make it, so make it yours.