It's a dog eat dog world out there today. In order to survive, it's uber important for your brand to stand out, be recognizable and be unique.
Branding and business have everything to do with what we presume about human behavior, based on our research. And branding, especially in this digital age, has everything to do with the visual.
So, when you embark on the process of branding or rebranding, an important step is conducting visual research. You'll need to think critically about the brand you're creating and the context in which it will live. This will help you develop an authentic brand that reaches a real audience, and takes into account the natural behaviors of consumers as human beings.
Let's Get Visual
What exactly is visual research you ask?
In college, we were programmed that research meant diving into online databases, (or walking the stacks of the library if you're on the older side). But visual research takes into account the psychology of the design and how the viewer reacts to it.
How do you conduct visual research?
As we focus on the visual aspects of your brand the first step is to audit the industry your brand occupies, starting with the other players.
In your visual audit, use your eyes and immerse yourself in the environment where your brand lives or will live.
- Look for patterns and trends in your sector
- Examine your competition's logos, colors, symbols, typography, mascots, etc.
- Look outside your industry for brands whose visual identity you admire
- Take note of the effectiveness of the elements you come across
As you research these, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the goal of the visual elements?
- What are the preferences of the target audience?
- What does this visual want the audience to think and feel?
- What emotional reactions can be attached to this visual?
- Does this visual incite action?
Monkey See, Monkey Don't Do
After conducting visual research in your laboratory, it's time to analyze what you saw. Learn from other's experiences, as you see what worked and what didn't.
Now you can get to the fun stuff - designing your brand identity. As much as we like to believe that people don't judge a book by its cover, or that looks aren't everything - your visual identity plays a large role when it comes to a brand. Like Walter Landor once said, “Brands are created in the mind.”
You'll want to design a brand that connects with the audience, is memorable, grabs attention and symbolizes what your company stands for.
An Outside Perspective
You may want to consider getting an outside perspective. This could be using focus groups or working with branding and business management consultants like