Understanding Visual Brand Language

By on Aug 19, 2013 in 30TH FEB, Brand Strategy, Communication Strategy, Marketing, Start-up Brands

visual brand language

Visual brand language is branding terminology for a unique “alphabet” of design elements – such as shape, color, materials, finish, typography and composition – which directly and subliminally communicate a company’s values and personality through compelling imagery and design style. This “alphabet”, properly designed, results in an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer.

-Wikipedia

What makes Visual Brand Image an inseparable ingredient of branding?

Visual depiction of any viewpoint, message, statement makes is more appealing and casts an instant impression. It help customers relate the brand to the product, to the competition, to their need, to their want and sometimes even to themselves.

Visual Brand Image is powerful enough to create such lasting connections with the consumers as well as the competition.

Consumers love associating themselves to the brands and stick to it for its values and brand promise delivered. Competition on the other hand strives to create a more instantly conniving strategy to overrule the competitor by offering a grand brand promise, a commitment to live up to and strikes it with an exemplary visual communication.

VBL also works on the parameters like, familiarity, credibility, authenticity & commitment and in turn helps in winning the ‘trust’ of consumers. How well and easy you communicate through VBL talks a lot about your own faith in the product/ service offered.

What goes into creating a Visual Brand Language?

Idea? Colors? Concept? Graphics and what else. This is what my graphic designers insist on. They just feel the need to understand the brand/product idea, the colors if there are any preferences and yes the target segment – even that they don’t care much about.

When we talk about a Brand Identity, an average person understands a brand in two ways – from target consumer perspective or from the brand message’s perspective. Either of one is the idea behind a communication strategy for which the VBL is developed.

What more can be a part of a VBL?

A picture is worth a thousand words. The quote goes right with the VBL. And creating that picture saves more than a thousand words of the marketer. It is quick and leaves a instant connection.

Let us check out the Pyramid used for developing a Visual Brand Language

vbl pyramid

Brand Personality:

Anyone who is working on creating a VBL must understand the personality of the brand. The core attributes for which it stands tall among competition and how it is supposed to be understood in internally & externally.

USP/Positioning:

Positioning Statement defines the core message of a brand; it is a must to understand the language of a brand because what we are conveying in words shall be expressed in visuals. VBL is the quickest form of communication a brand can create.

Design Principles:

Design Principles are the basic concepts which shall be used to create the right brand expression graphically. It should depict the message, easy to understand and remember and it should build a connection.

We at 30TH FEB, follow the brainstorming sessions leading to an apt Creative Brief before the VBL process. It saves a lot of time for the client and effort on out end. We know what is to be delivered.

Signature Elements:

Signature Elements are purely the graphic elements, the color, the texture, the finish and even the form which shall go into detailing.

Sometimes, a client might be asking for a solid color with glossy finish – owing to his individual liking but a pyramid approach helps him understand, why she shall pick a solid color with a matte finish and how it will help in VBL to highlight the message or may be a tagline.

VBL helps the brands in a great deal. Let us check an example –

I am taking the example of a shoe brand – Woodland

Woodland’s DNA

Outdoor Adventure Brand

Positioning Statement

understanding visual brand languageTouch the earth. Breathe the wind. Taste the water. Feel the richness of the forest, the emptiness of the desert, the might of the rivers and the majesty of the mountains. As you look around and marvel at the vastness of it all, ask yourself, “Where am I?” And the answer hits you right there and then, “Home.” That’s when you know you are one of the few through whose very veins the spirit of adventure flows like a raging torrent. A spirit that is willing to stretch the levels of human endurance; a spirit that desires to reach the furthest frontiers; a spirit that craves to venture into the unknown. It is this spirit of adventure that defines Woodland. Ever since the beginning Woodland has successfully brought together the power of the human will and the rewards of discovery. Woodland has imbibed this very spirit in each and every one of its products. Products which push the boundaries of innovation so that you can push the boundaries of exploration. [Taken from www.woodlandworldwide.com]

Design Principles

Most of the unique design principles as  understood from various brand categories and communications on the website, we took the following most unique (as shown in the image)

Signature Elements

The signature Elements, would be:

–          A brand which is close to earth

–          Loves Adventure

–          Believes in Innovation & Technology

–          Carries a Rugged & Tough Image

–    Nature friendly and cares for environment

I hope you enjoyed reading about the VBL, what makes it a key ingredient of branding and the unique pyramid for creating the visual brand image. We will soon meet again to discuss about Brand Voice.

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