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How to create a visual identity for your brand (without any graphic design skills)
Written by Sandrine Lamouche on 15 March 2019
While it takes much more than striking design to build a successful brand, professionally designed graphic elements can greatly enhance the credibility of your business with your audience.
This is an important consideration whether you are updating your brand or branding visuals, or building a blog, YouTube channel, e-commerce store, or any other online asset.
It will be much easier for you to stand out if your visual content elements are striking: a youtubeur who designs miniatures with an impactful design will be more easily known than a youtubeur who creates titles in text.
Fortunately, you will be able to do well in a number of ways. If you can't afford to hire a professional designer or the idea of having to learn to use Photoshop makes you grind your teeth, you can always build a visual brand for any project you are working on or any platform you want to establish yourself on using the tools presented below.
Whether you are redefining your existing brand image or launching a new project, you must ensure that your visuals are professionally designed. We detail how to proceed using ultra user-friendly tools.
Discover Hatchful
The Hatchful application is a mobile application that allows you to create a visual identity with your fingertips, starting from nothing.
After answering a few questions about your business, Hatchful will start suggesting logos from hundreds of available templates. From there, you can customize your brand's colors and fonts, and download all the branding elements you need - including images that are perfectly sized to be published on all your social platforms.
The Hatchful application can be used for free High-end logo designs can be purchased in the application, but no payment is required. Install Hatchful.
Brand strategy: overview
Before moving on to visuals, you will need to consider your brand from a global perspective. Although fonts, colors and logo are important elements, they must be integrated consistently with all other aspects of your branding.
The foundations of your brand image are based on your principles, your values, and the audience you serve. Once these pillars are defined, the details will come much more naturally.
The foundations of your brand are based on your principles, your values, and the audience you serve.
To better define your brand identity, try to answer the following questions:
  • What are you doing?
  • Why do you do it?
  •  Who do you serve?
  •  What are the needs of the people you serve?
  •  What makes you different?
Remember this: you can't help everyone - and you shouldn't try to do so. The best brands are those that have clearly defined their positioning; and this should be the case for your brand as well.
With this in mind, you should add some questions to your list:
  • What are you not doing?
  • Who are you not serving?
Some examples of positioning strategies include: to break into a niche with a predominantly male audience, you could create a brand that precisely serves the female audience; you could target beginners in a particular niche; and so on.
Only by establishing a solid foundation that encompasses all aspects of your brand - not just the graphic aspect - can you make relevant branding choices along the way.
Build the visual identity of your brand
Now that we have discussed the basic principles, let's move on to the visuals.
Companies that have created strong visual brands have a major competitive advantage: they can be recognized without seeing their logo. The reason? All content elements and processes related to their visual identity are consistent, from fonts to image editing processes.
Let us demonstrate this fact through some examples.
In your opinion, from which brand do you think this advertising comes?
What about this one?
You probably guessed that the first ad comes from Apple because of its style and graphics, and the second one screams loud and clear Nike. It is the power of a coherent visual identity, based on a consistent use of the logo, font, and also on a coherent product design.
You too can build a brand as recognizable as these big names in branding by increasing the consistency between your visuals, so that your Facebook publications, Pinterest pins or YouTube miniatures can be instinctively identified.
A brand that excels in this field? The Financial Diet (TFD). Here are some screenshots of the brand's Facebook page, website and store, which are characterized by a consistent and recognizable visual identity. Fans can therefore instinctively recognize the brand's images.
It is through a coherent and well-designed visual identity that you will succeed in increasing your brand awareness, since over time, your customers will begin to expect products and content of the same high quality as your visual elements.
As you define in more detail the elements that make up your brand's visual identity, be sure to write down your choices:
  • Fonts: Which fonts do you plan to use for headlines? What about the body of the text? Do you plan to use special fonts to highlight specific elements?
  • Colours: which colours best match your brand? How many colours will you use? When choosing your colors, be sure to note the corresponding hexadecimal codes (for example, #5c6ac4). This way, you can enter these codes into the platforms you use to ensure that you are using the right grades.
  •  Patterns: do you use striped patterns? Polka dot patterns? Don't you use any patterns? Gather examples of patterns you particularly like to find inspiration more easily.
  •  Image style: do you use black and white images? Do you prefer bright colours instead? Are there still people in your photos? Do you want to use only illustrations?
  •  Logo variants: how do you plan to use your logo? Will you use a logo in text form, as an icon, or perhaps both variants?
This is where a brand style guide can be very practical, allowing you to keep track of all the decisions you make to define your brand's visual identity. In this way, you can ensure the consistency of all the branding elements that will be created later.
Your style guide will be of great help if you decide to delegate the creation of visuals to a virtual employee or freelancer, and it will allow you to maintain consistency if you choose to use an application to design your graphic elements.
Create a logo
The idea of having to create a logo as memorable as that of iconic brands like Nike or Adidas can be daunting. This is why we present some very simple rules for creating a logo that fulfills all its functions (and even more).
Keep it simple 
If this is the first logo you create, you may not know in advance the different sizes you will need. As a minimum, you will need a logo variant in the form of a favicon; a very small icon that identifies your website in the browser tab or URL bar.
For your favicon to be recognizable, your logo must be simple.
Although logos with complex designs can be displayed on a normal sized web page, they will be difficult to recognize at a reduced size. You may even have difficulty resizing a sophisticated logo to the image size of your Twitter or Instagram profile.
Simplicity is your ally.
Create variants
We have so far only mentioned examples that require icons in square format. But what about, for example, the header of your website and your YouTube banner, which provide an extended horizontal space where a rectangular logo or wordmark might be more appropriate than a square icon?
Consider the following example. Walmart team members use a square icon in the photo on the brand's Facebook page, but they also use a rectangular wordmark in other places - which incorporates the icon for consistency.
Consider the context
There will sometimes be specific shapes, signs or elements that will characterize a particular niche or product category. Think, for example, of the signs of the euro and the dollar for finance, or make-up brushes for cosmetics. The same could also be true for colours.
Will you or will you not use these common colours, conventions or symbols? The decision is yours. However, make sure you make your choices in full knowledge of the facts.
How to create your logo
It is the stage that intimidates. But remember that the purpose of this guide is to allow you to create a visual identity for your brand without having to master Photoshop!
This is where several applications can be very useful in doing most of the work for you.
Hatchful is an application for iOS and Android that assists you step by step in the design of your logo. The application allows you to create a professional logo from hundreds of available templates in a user-friendly way.
You can customize colors and fonts (among other elements); and download all the files and variants you need. The application is free of charge, and you can also purchase high-end logo templates from the interface if you want to invest in a design that you particularly like - but you only pay when all your customizations have been made and you are ready to download your new logo and other related branding elements.
Optimize the branding of your platforms
Nowadays, it is no longer enough to optimize the branding of a website and rest on its laurels - and depending on the nature of your project, you may not even need a website when you start.
But, whatever your approach to building your brand, you must ensure that you maintain the consistency of your visuals between your different channels (your website, your YouTube channel, your Instagram profile, etc.).
This means, among other things, using social network images that are customized with your branding and perfectly sized for each platform on which you plan to publish them.
Optimize the branding of your site or shop
At some point, you will probably want to build your own website to support your project.
Sometimes it is the first step, sometimes the last. However, it is only by establishing a personalized online presence through your website that you will maximize your chances of success and revenue.
Consistency is of paramount importance at this stage, since your website provides you with more visual flexibility than any other platform. You will therefore need to think about how you will use the following branding elements:
  • Theme
  • Images.
  •  Fonts of characters
  •  logos
  •  Colours
The theme of your site will shape most decisions related to your brand's visual identity. It will provide you with a starting point to define your general design preferences. You can then further customize it according to your needs.
But we are not referring to an extensive personalization process. That's why you will need to choose a theme from the beginning with a layout, design and features that meet your needs and preferences.
If you are creating a Shopify store, start by exploring the Theme Store. You can sort the themes according to the type of site you plan to create, the price, and several other factors.
Images on your site include header images, blog post images, sidebar images, product images, and so on. Since they will be displayed throughout your site, it is obvious that your images will be an important part of your brand's visual identity.
When choosing images, identify a style that you like and stick to it to ensure the consistency of your shots.
If you combine black and white photos with comic book illustrations, you will certainly confuse visitors (unless you do so with a specific idea in mind).
Fonts of characters
Since you have already selected the fonts for your brand and have taken note of them in your style guide (isn't it?), you will just have to choose them in the editor of your theme.
Most themes and platforms display font options in a drop-down list; as long as the fonts you have chosen are listed, you can select them instantly. 
If you do not see your favorite fonts, you will need to explore the theme code. If the task intimidates you, you should delegate it to an expert. You can find on Upwork French-speaking freelancers who are familiar with the Shopify platform and who can help you with small tasks and assist you in customizing your theme.
Remember the section where we talked about logo variants? You will be delighted to have them on hand when it comes to customizing your site.
The smallest variant, if you have created it, can be used as a favicon for your site. You can then add a larger version of your logo to the header of your site and any other relevant location.
For example, if you are creating a Shopify store, you can automate the addition of your logo to all shipping notifications, so that each email sent to inform customers of the status of their order is consistent with your brand's visual identity. 
Here is an example of a shipping notification sent by the Province of Canada store to inform a customer of the shipment of their order:
Once you have installed your theme, you will usually be able to customize some of its colors. You will need to review the colours you have already chosen, and use them consistently on your site.
At this point, you will only need to add through the editor of your theme the hexadecimal codes you have noted in your style guide.
Professionally designed visuals will maximize the chances of success of your project or online store. Fortunately, nowadays, it has become possible to create a beautiful visual brand with some user-friendly applications that can be used even by beginners.
To establish in record time the visual identity of your brand on your profiles and social network pages, Hatchful will be the application to choose. Download the application for iOS or Android, and you'll be ready to establish a consistent online brand presence (or redefine your existing branding) - without using Photoshop.
In addition, you can use the same tools and procedures to update your social network profiles or your entire website. This approach could be particularly useful for entrepreneurs who manage seasonal activities, organize sales during the holiday season, or who wish to create excitement for a major product launch.
Whatever the reasons that led you to want to define (or redefine) your brand's visual identity, you are now ready to move forward.

Article published by Sandrine Lamouche 

Sandrine Lamouche is CTEP® premium writer and product photographer. she love working with respectful people from around the world with solid values and realistic deadlines. she specializes in writing blogs, press releases, website content, captions, and product descriptions.
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