What is visual identity?

Visual identity is the tangible perception of your brand, it differs from a logo in that visual identity encompasses all visual elements that stakeholders encounter, which will certainly include a logo. A visual identity is part of the brand ecosystem. Nor a logo/visual identity can truly make an impact in their component parts.  A strong visual identity instantly communicates who you are, what you’re about, and why people should want to buy from you. Conversely, a poor or inconsistent identity can degrade your brand experience.

Many assume that just because you have an identity—logo, font, etc. that it’s enough to differentiate your business from any other. This isn’t the case, if your visual representation of your business is disconnected, inconsistent, or inaccurate then you can’t be telling a compelling brand story, which is critical when making prospects and consumers establish a relationship with you.  

Why is it important for business?

Science continues to demonstrate the importance of visual identity, in a study by branding firm Siegel+Gale after asking 3,000 respondents to evaluate the logos of more than a hundred top brands, the firm analyzed and categorized the most memorable logos into 9 different categories, including organic and geometric shapes, the study also identified that the most memorable logos were simple.

Organic shapes were considered:

  • Warm/caring
  • Fun
  • Fresh
  • Friendly
  • Innovative

Geometric shapes were considered:

  • Powerful
  • Innovative
  • Respected
  • Smart
  • Cool

The study clearly demonstrates that logo design has a clear and direct impact on the perception of a brand. Colours have a psychological impact on consumers too,  warm colours like red or yellow are viewed  as  colourful yet but can have negative connotations, where blue and other cool colours are viewed more favourably often communicating trust.

Download the siegelgale.com study
Do I need a new visual identity?

Your visual identity needs to be purposeful not just good looking. Your identity needs to be:

  • Flexible – Can your visual identity expand to new markets or products?
  • Intuitive – Each element must complement the other.
  • Accurate – Your identity must reflect the brand personality, values, etc.

What to consider when reviewing or revising your brand visuals:

  • Logo
  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Hierarchy of Design
  • Photography/Illustration
  • Data visualization
  • Video and motion
  • Web design

These elements are critical to your brand’s success and need to be carefully crafted and considered.

You may conclude that you feel your business needs new visuals (we offer a free initial brand consultation if you need any help), but here are some things to consider before committing to a new visual identity:

  • Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons based on data-led insight, we all feel like a change or a redesign might be what our business needs to distinguish itself in often crowded marketplaces, especially if you’re a business with longevity.
  • Rebranding is expensive, the greater the scale of your operations the greater the investment required for your rebrand to make an impact in the territories it serves.
  • If you’re considering rebranding proactively, ensure that you have set-aside sufficient time, resources and a robust strategy to ensure it’s successful, you’re likely to face negativity whether it be internally or from customers, the bottom line is, people don’t like change but if you have robust strategy in place and a genuine need for a new visual identity then rebranding could prove highly successful.

Take a look at some of these brands who absolutely got it right, and some who didn’t…

Re-brands that went well…


Britannia wanted to grow its market share and to reflect the organization’s future plan and portfolio development they rebranded to re-position the brand – ‘Exciting Goodness’.



PayPal rebrand in 2014 was a huge step forward in their visual language as a company. 2007 rebrand was still had a 90’s feel to it, but the latest rebrand brings PayPal right into the modern context which it operates.


Ruskim Seafoods

Wishing to revitalize their brand, Emerge modernised Ruskim’s logo, capturing the essence of their proposition, the new stronger and dynamic logo clearly positions Ruskim Seafoods as a leading importer and distributor of frozen seafood. 


Discover Shropshire & Telford

The client had a desire to represent the diversity in attractions across Shropshire and Telford, Emerge simplified the Discover Shropshire and Telford logo adding a gradient rainbow of colour for impact. 


Re-Brands that went, less well…


Universally disliked, the Gap rebrand is something of marketers nightmare, a costly error in judgment ($100million investment) that only served to represent the organisation for just 6 days.



SyFy, previously known as the “Sci-Fi” channel rebranded to their detriment (syfy’ is a slang term for syphilis) lost viewers by the thousands and was something of a joke, however, the network has stuck with it.


Will you be reviewing your visual identity in 2020? Let us know, we’d love to hear about your project?

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