Better Branding Series Part 2: Creating a Visual System

When establishing a brand the second most crucial step is to take all of the foundational elements we discussed in Better Branding Part 1 and create a visual system that represents and visually connects those components.

Having a visual system will allow your brand to stay consistent across all channels and create a way for you employees, contractors etc. to check and refer to for future needs.

Below we discuss the essential elements you need to establish to create your very own visual system.

Logo:  Primary

Dependent on what type of logo you have chosen (wordmark, letterform, emblem, abstract mark etc.), you will need to show it exactly how it should be represented.

In this section you should also show the clear space recommended for around the logo and at what size the logo should never go below to minimize illegibility circumstances.

Logo & Color

In this section you want to illustrate how your brand colors work with your logo, and which colors should be used when. I find that there is a common misconception in some of my clients that your logo should always be the same color or colors. This is not always true. For different circumstances and on different colored backgrounds this could change. So if you desire guidelines in regards to your use of colors, that should go here.

As an example, what color should be used if the logo is placed on a dark background vs. a light background?

Logo: Alternate

Your logo may have an alternate, vertical or horizontal, format to use in various situations that have different space requirements.  You should know when it is appropriate to use this and which size constraints should be used to best display your brand.

This is where you will show that alternative.

Logo: With Tagline

Depending on the situation, you may want to include your business’s tagline with your logo.  Make sure to map out proper spacing when including a tagline in any logo format. Your logo my not always have your tagline on it and shouldn’t. Make sure you work with a designer that can do both for you if you would like it.

Logo Don’ts: No. Please, No.

Once you have the guidelines for using your logo down, make sure to take note of what NOT to do with your logo.  Some of these may include: Shadowing your logo, outlining your logo, or recoloring your logo, just to name a few. When we send something to another company or designer to create a piece of marketing material for us, we want them to be able to refer to this document and understand what they should be doing and what they should NOT be doing to represent your brand. Only you know your brand best and often times people may make mistakes they don’t know they are making so be clear in this section.

Brand Colors: Core Color

You should understand which colors in your brand work as your core colors, and which act as accents or support colors. Choses two or three colors in this section.

You want to list the HEX value, RGB and CMYK values here next to each color.

Brand Colors: Accent & Support Colors

This is where you want to list any other supporting colors your brand will use throughout its marketing and again list the values above.

Typography: Headlines, Sub-Heads & Body Copy

You will want to have different typefaces picked out for header, sub-headers, and body text.  Knowing when and where to use these typefaces with provide consistency across your brand.

This is where you should list your font choices for each and if there are any rules and regulations with them.


There may be various times that you need to use icons in your marketing. Have you established a style for this? Having unique and consistent icons can give your brand a professional feel so make sure you establish a set or style and include that here.

Brand Patterns

Establishing a set of unique, creative brand patterns can make marketing and designing down the road much simpler and help to establish the feel of your brand.

Photography Styles

When you are thinking about photography, and using photographs as a part of your marketing, make sure to consider who is in the photo, where the location is, what the tone and color of the photo is, and what mood or emotion that photo pulls on.

Showcase some examples here and point on why you are suggesting photos like those.

In conclusion, once you establish all of the above, compile everything into one document and save it in a place that is easily accessible and shareable. Creating a document like this is a great way to create a cohesive and consistent brand that will resonate with audiences and ultimately build equity and trust.

Have any questions? Let us know!

This is part one of a series “Better Branding” and will include 3 posts all together

Part 1: Establishing Your Brand Story

Part 2: Creating a Visual System

Part 3: Developing Verbal Guidelines

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