Are you ready to make a powerful statement and become a memorable e-commerce brand?
Then you need a strong visual identity.
In today’s ultimate guide, we’re filling you in on what visual identity means, how it can help your brand stand the test of time, and how to create your own brand kit.
Ready to learn more?
Let’s take a look.
What is a visual identity?
Comprising the look and “feel” of your brand, your store’s visual identity may include the following:
Additional graphic elements
These identity components are meant to support one another in establishing a unique and personal visual presence. That’s why it’s crucial to implement them consistently across all platforms.
But beyond the sans-serif font you chose for your logo or incorporating the most recent Pantone color of the year, your visual identity is also the outward expression of your brand’s purpose, mission, and unique personality. It’s the visuals, words, and feelings people imagine when they think about or see your brand.
According to branding strategist David Brier, “branding is the way that consumers identify and experience a product, service, or person, from the look, taste, feel, and sound — a brand is all of those multifaceted parts.”
How visual identity helps your e-commerce brand become memorable
Having a visual identity helps you establish a unified presence your audience can rely on whenever they think about you or come across your brand.
Another important element of your identity is your brand story. This is a powerful force you can use to build a strong emotional connection with your audience. More on this in a bit.
In short, these visual cues and brand identifiers help your ecommerce store build a reputation — something to be known, liked, and trusted for.
Consider some of the brands consumers love.
Starbucks, for example, has created a look and experience people can rely on any time they order online, swing through a drive-through, or enter their cafes in person.
Everything is perfectly curated — from music selection, furniture colors, tastes, and smells. Even the barista uniforms are the same, classic green hue sporting Starbucks’ infamous siren logo.
This is the beauty of branding: It inspires customer loyalty and trust. People know what to expect when they think about Starbucks. And that’s the goal you’re aiming for when people think about your brand, too.
Creating your brand kit: How to create a memorable and consistent look
Now that we’ve solidified what visual identity means and how it can help your business establish a reputation, let’s build your brand kit, step-by-step.
To start off, you need the right tools for the job. With the rise of AI, there is an abundance of logo design and branding tools available. Here are some of the best:
LogoCreator.io is one of the original logo creation tools and still offers one of the best options when creating a logo with minimal design experience.
Logo.com offers a logo generator that produces company names and logos. Once you have created your logo you can access all of your brand files.
Outline your target audience and key brand differentiator
Who’s your target audience? What potential customers are you hoping to reach, and why?
Get clear on who you serve and then create a value proposition to help you stand out from the competition.
Branding expert Marty Neumeier says the key is targeting a small, passionate audience that isn’t being served — and growing it — rather than broadening your offer and having to compete with endless competitors.
For instance, if you sell organic protein powder, supplements, and fitness equipment that renowned celebrities use, then your target audience could be:
People who workout
Next, consider what sets you apart.
Marty says, “It’s a long-term plan to outmaneuver competitors through radical differentiation”.
David says, “The art of differentiation is why we choose cars, shoes, whatever we buy. Take two identical bottles of water from two different brands. They’re basically the same product. Unable to find a real difference in the two, the customer will finally default to price. People need something to differentiate in order to make a choice. But say your water has minerals, or a special source, or pH magic, then you’re giving people a reason to choose you.”
Using our previous example, your key differentiator could be the fact that “renowned celebrities” use your fitness products. You can collect real interviews, quotes, and stories showcasing the celebrities who use your products and what they love most about them.
With this in mind, your value proposition could be something like:
“We sell state-of-the-art fitness products and equipment trusted by celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow and Jason Momoa to fellow gym lovers. New customer? Get a free protein powder starter pack when you submit your first order. Use the code NewFree today.”
If you have the funds, consider partnering with one of these celebrities or hiring them for an influencer campaign. Otherwise, peruse their social media profiles, websites, as well as media outlets for any mention of the products you sell and why they love using them.
Use your value proposition across all branding channels, including on your About page, storefront, landing pages, and in your social media bios.
Write your brand story, mission statement, and long-term vision
What are your key business goals and core values?
For instance, do you hope to become the first skincare company that uses 100% ethically sourced products, processes, and materials? Do you want to raise money to supply needy schools with your back-to-school packs?
Use your goals and values to write your brand story (why you started your business), your mission statement (what you promise to do), and your long-term vision (where you hope to see your business five to 10 years from now). Keep your story focused on your ideal customer and how your products were created for them.
Add these elements to your “About” section on your website and, if possible, somewhere on your product packaging.
Solidify your brand voice
Choose the tone and language you want to use when communicating with your customers and audience.
For instance, that could be:
Warm and empathetic
Kind and straight-to-the-point
Witty and charming
Bold and sarcastic
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s in line with the audience you’re serving and your mission statement. Train your customer service, branding, and marketing teams to stick with this tone and language whenever they’re speaking with a customer or planning campaigns.
Choose your brand colors, fonts, and visual elements
Choose colors, fonts, and visual elements in line with your brand voice, target audience, and mission statement.
For instance, let’s say your brand voice is “bold and sarcastic” and your target audience is “Gen Zers who love camping”. Let’s also say that your mission statement is “We’re working on becoming the first camping gear brand that offers 100% foldable, eco-friendly equipment you could fit in a small backpack”.
With this in mind, you could choose:
Bold colors that represent nature, think Forest Green, Black Onyx, and Chocolate Brown
Nature fonts, such as Mogan, Wild, and Leronda
Visual elements, such as tree graphics, tent icons, and camping-inspired digital illustrations
When creating your graphics, use vector images so you can craft high-quality designs without losing image quality with size changes. Vector graphics are made up of lines and shapes based on mathematical formulas so you can resize them as needed without causing image distortion.
Pro-Tip: Look into color theory and color psychology for a more refined approach when choosing your palette. Here are some example colors that are proven to evoke certain emotions in humans:
Red: Brands such as Coca-Cola and Netflix use red to attract attention.
Blue: Known to instill feelings of trust, security, and reliability. Corporate and tech companies like Facebook and IBM opt for a blue palette.
Green: Associated with nature, peace, and growth, making it a popular choice for health and wellness brands like Whole Foods and Athletic Greens.
Yellow: Often associated with optimism, clarity, and warmth. Brands like McDonald's and IKEA use yellow to exude cheerfulness and friendliness.
Black: This color implies sophistication, luxury, and elegance. It’s popular among high-end brands like Chanel and Apple.
We also recommend working with a graphic designer before solidifying your colors, fonts, and graphics to make sure your final look is as cohesive and on-brand as possible.
Design your signature logo
Work with a graphic designer to create a signature logo that captivates your target market and encompasses your brand identity.
A signature logo typically includes a logo mark and the logotype. The logo mark is the symbol or other graphic element used to anchor the signature (for instance, the swoosh Nike uses), while the logotype is the typographic representation of the name of the organization (in other words, the font that spells “Nike”).
Your logo needs to work well in black and white and with color applied. It also needs to have the ability to be effectively implemented at various sizes, across a variety of print and digital media.
Although an important component of the visual identity, your signature logo, relies heavily on the support of the additional design elements to establish an effective visual identity.
If you’re not a pro at weaving it all together, working with an experienced designer is key. An alternative would be to purchase a premade branding package.
Design your product packaging
Now that your colors, fonts, and logo are ready to go, use them to create beautiful product packaging.
Look for ways to incorporate your brand story or mission into your packaging if possible. For instance, if you sell skincare sets, consider printing your brand story on the back of the package lid or you can design a new business card and keep it in the package using reliable online software. This way, when a customer opens the lid, they’ll see your brand story in front of them and the skincare products tucked in the box right below it.
Take professional product photos and videos and maintain a consistent look
To maintain a consistent brand image, take the info you’ve compiled together so far and use it to create a brand style guide. Apply this style guide to all marketing and branding planning going forward.
Then, carve out time to shoot professional product photos and videos in line with your brand identity. You’ll also need to set aside time to cull, edit, and resize your images and videos across the platforms you’ll be showcasing them on.
When photographing your products, keep your backgrounds clean and free of distractions. If you notice distracting elements during post-production, use the remove background feature in PicsArt or your preferred image editing tool to get rid of them.
You can then replace the background with a solid color or gradient in your brand hues or choose a scenic or patterned background.
When creating product demos and explainer videos, use a video presentation maker to create a consistent look and feel across all of your videos. You can also use a video presentation maker to create how-to videos, product guides, and product introductions.
If you sell a complex product, feature a video on your store’s homepage that walks your audience through what you sell and how it works in a digestible format.
Design your storefront and product pages
Congratulations! You finally have all of the elements you need to design a storefront and product pages in line with your visual identity.
At this point, you’ve solidified your:
Target audience and key differentiator
Brand story, mission, and long-term vision
Brand colors, fonts, and visual elements
Product photos and videos
Apply all of these details to your storefront and product pages to create a cohesive look and feel. You’ll also need to apply this look across your ads, social media profiles, landing pages, newsletters, and marketing campaigns.
If possible, work with a copywriter, professional photographer, graphic designer, and website designer/developer to make your final look professional and cohesive.
If you’re on a limited budget, use the Brand Kit tool in Canva or Canva alternatives to upload your logo, colors, and fonts. You can then apply these anytime you create a brand asset in Canva, such as a social media post, flyer, website banner, or anything you design.
And there you have it! Today we covered visual identity, why it matters, and how to create your brand kit.
So if you’re ready to take your e-commerce store to the next level, focus on creating a powerful brand image and voice by following the tips in this guide.
Investing time and resources in developing a visually powerful and unique identity is not just beneficial — it's essential for brand longevity and success.
Why? A visual identity serves as the aesthetic cornerstone of any successful brand. And it's more than just a logo or a color scheme.
It's a comprehensive system that flows effortlessly together to ensure a memorable, consistent, and resonant connection between your brand and your audience. That’s the true recipe for business success.
And if you’re ready to double down on improving your e-commerce store, we have a free, open-source e-commerce platform with your name on it. Start your OpenCart Cloud store trial today. It only takes five minutes to set up!
To your success!