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By Mark Brinn
Discover the role of visual style in maintaining brand consistency. This chapter integrates knowledge from previous sections, walks you through the creation of a visual style guide, and stresses the importance of maintaining a consistent visual style across all brand touchpoints.

A Strong Style is a Consistant Style

Let’s talk about visual style. It’s the glue that holds everything together in your brand. Remember what we learned in the chapters on LogoColorType, and Image? Well, visual style is where all of these elements come together to form a cohesive whole. It’s like a symphony where each instrument plays its part to create a harmonious sound.

The Ingredients of Visual Style

Think of your brand as a dish you’re cooking. The ingredients? Your logo, color palette, typeface, and imagery. Just like in a recipe, each ingredient has its own flavor, but when combined, they create a unique taste that’s all your own.

  • Logo: This is your brand’s signature. It’s the face of your brand, the first thing people see. It should be distinctive and memorable.
  • Color: Colors evoke emotions. They set the mood and tone of your brand. Choose them wisely.
  • Type: The right typeface speaks volumes about your brand. It can make you appear modern, traditional, playful, or serious.
  • Image: Images tell a story. They can convey your brand’s personality and values in a way words can’t.

Consistency is Key

Now, the trick to a visual style is consistency. You want your brand to be instantly recognizable, no matter where it appears. That means your logo, colors, typeface, and imagery need to be consistent across all platforms and mediums.

Think of it like this: If you’re always changing your look, people won’t recognize you. The same goes for your brand.

Defining Your Visual Style

Defining your visual style is like putting a name to your brand’s personality. It’s a way of summarizing your brand’s visual elements into a single, cohesive style. This could be anything from “modern and minimalistic” to “bold and vibrant” or “classic and elegant”.

Compiling a Visual Style Guide

A visual style guide is your brand’s fashion manual. It’s a document that outlines how your visual elements should be used to maintain consistency. Here’s what to include:

  • Logo usage: Outline where and how your logo should be used. Include variations, sizes, and what not to do with your logo.
  • Color palette: Provide color codes for your primary and secondary colors. Include guidelines for how these colors should be used.
  • Typography: Specify your primary and secondary fonts, along with guidelines for their usage.
  • Imagery: Define the style of images to be used, including composition, filters, and any other relevant details.

Remember, a visual style guide isn’t just a list of rules. It’s a tool to help you and your team maintain brand consistency. It’s the thread that ties all your visual elements together and makes your brand recognizable. It’s your brand’s visual language, and it’s crucial to speak it consistently.

Maintaining Consistency Across All Brand Touchpoints

Create a Style Guide: This guide will serve as your brand’s visual bible, outlining exactly how your visual elements should be used across various platforms and mediums. Your style guide should detail the specifics, such as the proper aspect ratio of your logo, the hex codes of your color palette, the proper usage of your chosen fonts, and the style of your imagery. Also, include clear instructions on what not to do to prevent misuse of your brand’s elements.

Train Your Team: Developing a style guide is only half the battle—you also need to ensure that everyone in your organization understands it and knows how to apply it. Arrange training sessions to introduce the style guide and explain its components. Consider creating a short quiz or practical test to ensure team members have grasped the guidelines. Regular training refreshers can also help to reinforce this knowledge, keeping the importance of visual consistency top of mind.

Review Regularly: Even with a comprehensive style guide and well-trained team, inconsistencies can still slip through the cracks. Regular reviews of your brand’s touchpoints—from marketing materials and social media posts to product packaging and in-store displays—can help identify any deviations from your established visual style. Also, as your brand evolves, your style guide may need to be updated to reflect these changes. Regular reviews will ensure your guide remains up-to-date and relevant.

By following these strategies, you can ensure a consistent visual language for your brand. This will not only reinforce your brand identity but also make your brand more recognizable and memorable to your audience.

Visual Style in Branding: A Case Study on Old Pal Cannabis

Old Pal Cannabis has a visual style that’s as distinctive as it gets. Their use of retro imagery and a muted color palette gives them a unique, nostalgic appeal. But it’s not just about looking cool. It’s about creating a consistent visual experience that resonates with their audience.

  • Logo: The Old Pal logo is simple and memorable, with a hand-drawn feel that fits their retro aesthetic. It’s a nod to the past, but with a modern twist.
  • Color: Old Pal uses a muted color palette that feels straight out of a 70s postcard. These colors are consistent across all their branding, from their packaging to their website.
  • Type: The typefaces Old Pal uses also have a retro feel, adding another layer of consistency to their visual style.
  • Image: The imagery Old Pal uses is perhaps their most distinctive feature. They use vintage photos and illustrations that feel like they’re straight out of a bygone era.

Speaking the Same Visual Language

So what can we learn from Old Pal? It’s simple. Speak the same visual language across all touchpoints. Whether it’s your logo, your color palette, your typefaces, or your imagery – consistency is key.

When your visual style is consistent, it creates a cohesive brand experience that resonates with your audience. It makes your brand memorable. It sets you apart from the competition.

And most importantly, it tells your audience that you know who you are as a brand. And if you know who you are, they’ll want to get to know you too.

Now that we’ve covered the visual aspects of your brand, it’s time to give your brand a voice. In the next chapter, Voice, we’ll delve into how to develop a unique brand voice and communication style that reflects your brand’s personality and values and connects with your audience on a deeper level. Just like your visual style, your brand voice plays a crucial role in setting your brand apart from the competition and building a strong, emotional connection with your audience. So, stay tuned!

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