Unveiling Brand Identity Design: Crafting Icons

Your brand's visual identity is more than a logo—it's your story, values, and beacon for the audience. Explore the power of a captivating brand identity in today's marketplace.

25
December 2023
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Brand Refresh

Imagine walking into a room and instantly captivating everyone's attention. Well, that's the magic of a powerful brand identity. In the bustling marketplace of today, your brand's visual identity is not just a logo or a color scheme; it's the essence of your story, the mirror of your values, and the beacon for your audience. 

Let's dive into the vibrant world of brand identity design, where every color, font, and image weaves the unique tapestry of your brand's persona. Are you ready?

The Essence of Brand Identity Design

Think of brand identity design as the personality of your business made visible. It's a blend of how you present yourself and how others perceive you. Just like people, brands with a strong, clear identity tend to attract more attention and loyalty. This identity isn’t static; it evolves with your brand, mirroring your journey and growth.

The first step in brand identity design is understanding your brand's core: its values, mission, and audience. This clarity is the foundation upon which your visual identity is built. From there, it's about translating these intangibles into tangible elements: logos, color palettes, typography, and imagery. Each of these components works together to tell your brand's story in a visually captivating way.

Remember, your brand identity is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products or services, and it differentiates you from your competitors. Your brand identity is why someone chooses your café over the one next door, or your software over another. It's the reason they trust you, return to you, and eventually, champion your brand.

The Role of Color in Brand Identity

Colors are like the spices in cooking; they can transform the mundane into the extraordinary. In the realm of brand identity design, colors are not just decoration; they convey emotions and meanings. They have the power to influence perceptions and behaviors. Choosing the right color palette for your brand is akin to selecting the perfect ensemble that both aligns with your personality and makes a statement.

When deciding on colors, consider the psychology behind them. For instance, green often symbolizes growth and health, making it a great choice for wellness brands. Orange, radiating warmth and creativity, might be the pick for an innovative tech company. But it’s not just about the color itself; it’s about its shades and how they interact with each other. The vibrancy of a color can change the message entirely.

Don't underestimate the subconscious impact of colors on consumer decisions. A well-chosen palette can increase brand recognition and influence customer loyalty. It's an essential tool in creating a cohesive and memorable brand identity.

Typography Tells a Story

Typography in brand identity design is like the tone of voice in a conversation. It sets the mood and conveys your message in a way that’s beyond words. The right typeface can elevate your brand, making it appear more professional, friendly, or avant-garde, depending on your choice.

Think of typography as the outfit your words wear. Just as you dress differently for different occasions, your brand needs different typographic styles for different purposes. A tech startup might opt for a sleek, modern font to convey innovation, while a bakery might choose a hand-written style to express warmth and homeliness.

But it's not just about style; readability is key. Your chosen font should be legible across various mediums - from a tiny mobile screen to a massive billboard. The right typography not only complements your brand's personality but also ensures that your message is received loud and clear.

Imagery and Graphics: A Visual Symphony

Imagery and graphics in brand identity design are like the lead characters in a blockbuster movie; they capture the essence and emotion of the story. These visual elements bring your brand to life, making it tangible and relatable to your audience. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of brand identity, it's worth even more.

Selecting the right imagery is about striking a balance. It should represent your brand's personality and values, while also appealing to your target audience. 

For instance, a luxury brand might use sleek, high-quality images that exude elegance, whereas a children's brand might opt for bright, playful illustrations. The key is to ensure that your imagery is consistent across all platforms, creating a cohesive brand experience.

Moreover, it's not just what the images are, but how they are used. Composition, cropping, and context play significant roles. An effectively used graphic can guide your audience's attention to the most important parts of your message, enhancing the overall impact of your brand identity.

Consistency is Key

Consistency in brand identity design is like the chorus of your favorite song; it’s the part you remember and sing along to. It's essential for creating a recognizable and reliable brand image. Consistency means your brand is easily identifiable across all touchpoints, from your website and social media to your packaging and advertising.

This consistency goes beyond just visual elements. It's also about maintaining a consistent tone and message. Your brand should sound and feel the same whether a customer is reading your website, looking at an ad, or scrolling through your social media. This repetition reinforces your brand identity and helps build trust with your audience.

Maintaining consistency can be challenging, especially as your brand grows and evolves. Creating a brand style guide is a practical solution. This guide serves as a rulebook for anyone who works on your brand, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and your brand identity remains intact.

KHULA Studio: Pioneering in Brand Identity Design

At KHULA Studio, we specialize in giving brands a visual voice that speaks volumes. We understand that in a world where everyone shouts to be heard, the most memorable brands are those with a clear, distinctive voice.

Our approach to brand identity design revolves around three core phases: discover, design, and launch. We start by immersing ourselves in your world; understanding your business, your audience, and your vision. This discovery phase is crucial in laying the groundwork for a brand identity that truly reflects who you are.

Next comes the design phase. Here, we combine our expertise with your insights to craft a brand identity that stands out. Whether it's refreshing an outdated brand or creating a new one from scratch, our focus is on making your brand not just seen but felt. We blend colors, typography, and imagery to create a visual identity that's not only beautiful but also strategic and effective.

Finally, the launch. This is where your brand comes to life. We ensure that your new brand identity is showcased to its fullest potential, whether it's through your website, social media, or print materials. Our goal is to create a brand image and experience that you and your customers will love and be proud of.

Conclusion

In conclusion, brand identity design is an art form where every color, font, and image plays a critical role in telling your brand's story. It's about creating a visual language that communicates your brand's essence to the world. 

At KHULA Studio, we're committed to crafting brand identities that are not just visually stunning, but strategically sound and emotionally resonant. Let us help you make your brand not just seen, but remembered.

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Worried your brand is falling behind, but you're not sure?

Here's a quick checklist to find out.

  1. You created your brand on a Commodore 64 - okay, that may be too far back, but you get the idea - your graphics are outdated.
  2. Your website still thinks it rules the playground, hates change, and refuses to play nice with mobile devices - in other words; it isn't responsive.
  3. You have trouble uploading your logo to any social media sites while making it look good - can't they make that square any bigger? Honestly.
  4. Your messaging says one thing while your business is doing another - basically, your business has evolved, but the story you're telling hasn't.
  5. You're losing customers because you can't tell them "at the speed of light" what you do - yes, that's how fast you need to capture someone's attention.

If you answered yes to any of the above, don't worry. We won't judge, but you're probably ready for a brand refresh. Not a complete overhaul, just an update. Because design trends change, technology keeps improving, and buyers are getting savvier and smarter. And brands, yours included, need to stay ahead of it all or at least keep up.


Every Brand Needs Refreshing.

For some, depending on the nature of their business, it could be quite often. Just look at Google. They seem to be doing it every day! We're not suggesting you go that extreme, but you could take a cue from MasterCard's subtle but recognizable brand mark evolution from 1966 to 2019.

Not all of Mastercard's re-brands were successful, but we won't talk about those because, in 2019, Mastercard did get it right. They didn't change their brand or what it stood for. They simply made it better by adapting their brand mark or logo to meet current trends.

In a bold move, they removed their name in printed form, letting their iconic overlapping red and yellow circles do the talking. They now have a "flexible modern design that works seamlessly across the digital landscape." When explaining the decision, Raja Rajamanar, Mastercard's chief marketing and communication officer, said: "Reinvention in the digital age calls for modern simplicity." Bam. Instant relevance.


That's What KHULA Does.

We're Brand Refresh Specialists.

KHULA helps brands stay true to who they are while giving them a new and improved image. In a nutshell, we help brands that feel tired, worn out, and a bit irrelevant get the revamp they need to keep growing their business. While updating your brand might seem daunting and overwhelming, we assure you it's not.

It's one of the most important things you could do for your business. Plus, it feels incredibly satisfying once you have a new website with on-point branding that represents who you are and what you do.


For A Successful Brand Refresh, You Need Expertise In Branding, Marketing, And Design.

Not everyone is at Mastercard's revamp level, but the foundational elements of the process for most businesses, big and small, are the same. A good brand refresh usually includes the following:

Brand Audit: This is a thorough analysis of an existing brand that uncovers its market position, target audience, competitors, and overall brand perception.

Research and Insights: Gathering market research, consumer insights, and industry trends informs the brand refresh strategy.

Strategy Development: To develop a comprehensive brand refresh strategy that aligns with the company's goals, it may require refining brand positioning, defining the brand personality, and establishing the brand's unique value proposition.

Visual Identity: Often seen as the "fun stuff", designers and creative teams collaborate to update or refine the visual elements of the brand, such as the logo, colour palette, typography, and overall brand aesthetics.

Messaging and Communication: Refreshing a brand isn't just about updating visual elements; it also includes updating messaging by crafting or refining brand messages, taglines, and brand voice to ensure consistency and resonance with the target audience.

Implementation Guidance: This involves implementing the brand refresh across various touchpoints, including marketing materials, website, packaging, and other brand collateral.

Stakeholder Engagement: Strong collaboration with internal teams and stakeholders must be established to ensure a smooth transition and alignment throughout the entire brand refresh process.

Brand Guidelines: Brand guidelines or style guides are created to provide instructions and standards for maintaining the refreshed brand identity across different platforms and communications.


When It All Comes Together, Brand Image Is Improved, The Target Audience Is Reached, And Business Objectives Are Achieved.

We'd say that's a pretty stellar outcome.

If your brand is losing its shine and starting to feel left behind, we can help.

We'd love to walk you through our brand refresh process and make your brand come alive again.

Want to explore some of our award-winning brand refreshes? Check them out here!

What's A Brand Refresh Anyway? It's Your Brand. Only Better.

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Brand Refresh

A lot of businesses forget to focus on design and customer experience (CX). But those things are what sets them apart from competitors. They’re both really important pieces. That’s something that Trimble Group Founder, Toby Trimble, knows all too well. He was looking to transform his video production company into a specialist animal health communications brand. 

Toby knew he needed to niche down and build stronger engagement with his target audience. The question was: how? Not only did collaboration with Khula Design Studio give ‘Trimble Productions’ a new name, it provided a professional new brand with the power to shape perceptions in the animal health sector. And it also received some prestigious recognition from the design community.

Toby and Jamie caught up on all things design in an episode of the Trimble Group’s ‘The Future View Podcast'. Read the summary article below or listen to the full 30-minute episode.

First impressions matter

Jamie and Toby first met in a breakout room on a coaching program. Having both started businesses at exactly the same time — Khula Design Studio and Trimble Productions -– they hit it off from day one. 

Jamie’s background is a mixed one. He was in operations and logistics for a long time before stints with a number of award-winning design agencies. For the last seven years, he’s been in the design industry, focussed on branding and web design

Jamie combines his project management and design experience as Founder of Khula Design Studio. Khula is a boutique design studio helping small businesses and non-profits around the world refresh their brand image and online presence, and elevate both online and offline perceptions of brands.

As a self-proclaimed ‘solopreneur’, Jamie wears many hats. He knows all the ins and outs of running a business. Khula is not his first — it’s number 10 — and he’s a serial entrepreneur who loves working with startups, small businesses, and other solopreneurs. 

He’s well aware that when you go to someone’s website, or you check them out on social media, those visual elements quickly paint a picture in a person’s mind. Jamie and the Khula team help small business owners to feel proud and confident of their brand. 

“The small guys are the ones often unseen or unheard. A lot of startups want a DIY approach and to do everything themselves. I want to help small businesses reshape brand perceptions online.”Jamie Windell Founder, Khula Design Studio

Day to day at Khula Design Studio

Jamie oversees a team of creative contractors, acting as a single point of contact for clients. It’s slightly different to a typical agency model. It’s smaller scale, and more boutique. Jamie handles everything from brand strategists and UX/UI designers to copywriters and SEO specialists. 

He’s the glue that holds it together — a project manager with an eye for design — delivering high-quality, on-time, and on-budget brand and website design. He helps clients navigate these technical aspects to unburden clients from the challenge of getting it right for themselves. One of those clients is Trimble Group.

KHULA Design Studio x Trimble Group

Six months ago, Jamie and his team helped Trimble Productions transition into Trimble Group. Toby knew Trimble Productions needed to niche down into the veterinary and animal health space. So Toby and Jamie jumped on a call to identify the gaps in the brand. 

It soon became clear that the website wasn’t all there. Many of the brand's ideal clients are large pharmaceutical companies. But the design, color choices, and web copy of the old site were mismatched with this target audience. It needed a refresh, and a change of look. 

The first thing was to focus on strategy-led design. That meant unpacking the brand positioning to discover its true North Star — how Trimble needed to show up, its values, what makes it unique, its tone of voice, and its ideal customers. It also included a naming exercise with Toby’s team, which landed on the capture-all — ‘Trimble Group’. 

Jamie works with different industries and clients. The challenge was to better understand the landscape of the veterinary and animal health space, as well as Trimble as a business, how it operates, and its clients. Knowing how Trimble works and who they serve, set the Khula team — six to seven creatives — on the right design path. 

The early mood boarding and concept designs were tested internally to ensure the symbol and word mark were a match with the ideal audience and created a sense of trust and loyalty whilst retaining a veterinary feel. 

The web design started with wireframing — the structure of the website. The User Experience (UX) designer put together the pages, helping to create an intuitive flow, the user journey, and the menu navigation. Then they worked on the User Interface (UI) bringing in Toby to collaborate on the process. It gave him an idea of the real look and feel of the pages before it was brought to life. 

Wanna see the full transformation and case study? Click here

Making a visual impact

“What makes this website really special is showcasing the work that Trimble Group does. We wanted to ensure that the new website showcases that visually… high-end quality video production.” – Jamie Windell Founder, Khula Design Studio

The response to the new design was positive. Jamie and his team brought in a lot of video into the design – hovering on cards triggers a video; background videos play in the hero sections; pop-up videos appear over certain facts and stats. There’s also a powerful storytelling flow, making it easy to read and navigate through the website.

The new design has helped Trimble Group to show up as they truly are. It’s given them confidence in who they are and what they do. And it shows.

Trimble Group’s Webflow website have been recently recognized by an honorable mention from awwwards. Voted on by a panel of creative experts — made up of designers, developers, and agencies — awwwards enables digital designers to demonstrate their talent and experience to the global design community.

Both KHULA Design Studio and Trimble Group are delighted and proud by the announcement. 

“One of the things that came out of this project is that I’ve gained a deeper appreciation of user experience… what I hadn’t realized was how deeply ingrained the customer experience, the customer journey, is in every touchpoint. Working with Khula has made me realize how much more there is we could do — how we can take it even further.”  – Toby Trimble, Founder, Trimble Group 

Discover what Khula can do for your startup, small business or non-profit. Book a call with Jamie

Jamie Talks Design & Rebranding - Future View Podcast

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Brand Refresh

International money transfers are notoriously time-consuming and complicated, not to mention expensive. Fintech, TransferWise, was founded to make international money transfers easier for everyone. It’s built as a non-banking platform capable of replacing international banking — and today used by more than 10 global banking institutions. 

Ten years in, the founders decided it was time to change the TransferWise brand. The name change and wider rebrand were needed to better represent the audience the company served — people and businesses living multi-currency lives who need their money to be borderless. 

At Khula Design Studio, we’re in the business of brand refreshes and we’re also a Wise customer. That’s why we’re fascinated by their recent brand transformation — what they did, why they did it, and how other businesses can learn from their success. 

From TransferWise to Wise

What’s in a name? Quite a lot as it happens. 

When it was first founded, the TransferWise name reflected a community of people getting wise to the frustrating, complicated, and expensive business of international money transfers via banks. Escaping hidden fees and exchange rate mark-ups, TransferWise promised a fairer and easier way to move money between borders. 

Today, the company knows it’s about more than money transfers. That’s what their community of millions tells them. Converting money into different currencies is still complicated and dominated by small print and delays, but the Wise community has evolved. They’re very aware of an outdated international banking system, which makes exchanging money more costly and time-consuming than it needs to be.

They’ve become Wise.

Looking good in green

Let’s start with the one thing that hasn’t changed. The ‘fast flag’ — which symbolizes money without borders — is still a part of their logo. Every other brand asset has been reworked to better reflect the company’s global community of people and businesses.  

Gone is the dark blue palette and dark themed website. The new brand identity embraces shades of green — the color of money, the color of the natural environment, and also a reflection of the diverse and vibrant community that uses Wise every day. 

The brand now has a cleaner, brighter, and more environmentally friendly look and feel, switching to greens and whites that make it feel more international, and more universal. In the words of their London-based branding agency, Ragged Edge: “Every other part of the visual and verbal system has been painstakingly redesigned with The World’s Money as the guiding principle.”

What’s a rebrand?

When an organization rebrands, it goes through the process of changing its established image and identity in the marketplace. Rebranding involves making carefully considered changes to the name, logo, design, and other visual and messaging elements to create a new, differentiated brand identity and perception.

The purpose of rebranding is to create a distinct and compelling brand identity that resonates with customers and helps an organization achieve its strategic goals. Updates to a brand's identity might be needed to reflect changes in the market, industry, or customer preferences, or to better position the brand for growth and expansion.

Organizations are often rebranded for one or more of the following reasons:

  • increased competition
  • shifting audience demographics
  • changing industry expectations
  • new products or services 
  • outdated branding
  • ineffective marketing methods.

Ultimately, rebranding is a strategic approach that seeks to create a fresh and relevant identity for an established brand. This move helps brands to stay competitive and thrive in a constantly evolving marketplace.

What’s a brand refresh?

Compared with a full rebrand, a brand refresh involves updating an established brand's visual identity, messaging, and customer experiences in a more limited and cost-effective manner. While rebranding may involve a complete overhaul of the brand's identity, a brand refresh typically focuses on smaller changes that help keep the brand relevant and up-to-date.

A brand refresh may involve updating key messaging, visual elements, and customer experiences to better reflect the current market, audience, and competitive landscape. This can include updating the brand's visual identity, refreshing the brand voice, and ensuring consistency across all touchpoints.

Businesses may opt for a brand refresh when they recognize that their visual identity is outdated or their messaging and offers have evolved. It can also be used when a brand is experiencing inconsistencies or has a changing audience due to growth or other factors. A brand refresh helps to create a modern and relevant brand identity that resonates with customers and sets the stage for future growth.

Both a brand refresh and a rebrand update a brand's identity, messaging, and customer experiences. A brand refresh is a smaller and more cost-effective approach, whilst a rebrand is a more extensive overhaul of the brand's identity and could involve brand strategy, a new name, logo, design, and messaging. A rebrand can sometimes signal a change in direction, an attempt to address negative perceptions, or a move to simplify and streamline a brand’s identity.

5 reasons why big brands refresh or rebrand

There can be many reasons behind changes to a brand. Here are 5 commons reasons why big brands refresh or rebrand: 

  1. Relevance: As consumer preferences and industry trends evolve over time, brands may need to update their visual identity and messaging to stay current and appeal to new audiences. Refreshing a brand can help keep it fresh, modern, and attractive to customers.
  1. Differentiation: If a brand's competitors have similar branding or messaging, a rebrand can help it stand out in a crowded marketplace. By creating a unique visual identity and tone of voice, brands can differentiate themselves from competitors with similar offerings. 
  1. New Direction: If a company is pivoting its business strategy or expanding into new markets, a rebrand can signal to stakeholders that things are changing. It can also help build interest and generate a buzz.
  1. Negative Perceptions: Sometimes a brand's reputation can become tarnished due to negative publicity or a misalignment with consumer values. In these cases, a rebrand can help shift perceptions and rebuild trust with customers.
  1. Simplification: Over time, brands may accumulate an inconsistent library of visual elements and messaging that can become confusing for people. A rebrand can help simplify and streamline a brand's identity, making it easier for customers and stakeholders to understand and engage with the brand.

Why Khula gets Wise

As a Wise customer, the team at Khula were fascinated and impressed with their rebrand. We use Wise daily to pay subcontractors around the world. We also use it for clients who are abroad and need to pay easily and quickly. 

The app is super intuitive. It saves us and our payees so much time and fees! Normally, funds arrive within 48 hours, sometimes the same day. For a small international business like us, it’s also way cheaper than using a traditional bank. To be honest, when it comes to moving money internationally, it’s been the saving grace of Khula.

At Khula Design Studio, we help small and medium-sized businesses to rebrand and refresh. Together with our brand strategy partners, we reframe how your business shows up, refreshing your brand identity, messaging, and online presence. 

Get in touch to find out how we can help evolve and transform your brand. Book a complimentary call today! And if you're looking for a fast way to send money internationally or travel with money without the heavy costs and headaches — head over to Wise.

Sources:

Images by wise.com

Rebrand by Ragged Edge

A Wise Move — What A Good Rebrand Looks Like

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Brand Refresh