When most people speak about brand identity, they are speaking about the brand's visual identity. I will cover all of the components of a visual identity system later in this blog post. But first let's define brand identity. A brand's identity system is comprised of all the visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory elements that are designed to identify the brand.
Here is an example of each:
- Visual: McDonald's arches
- Auditory: Harley-Davidson's engine sound
- Kinesthetic: The unique feel of Apple's products
- Olfactory: Cinnabon's cinnamon scent
- Gustatory: Grey Poupon mustard's unique flavor
Within a visual identity system, these are the most important elements:
- Shapes, symbols and icons
- Fonts and typography
- Primary and secondary colors
- Signature/logo lockup
Other elements of identity systems include visual blocking, brand voice and visual style, characters and spokespeople. More ephemeral elements of a brand's identity system include the brand's archetype and personality.
Together, all of these elements help identify a brand and help it stand out from its competitors.