Have you ever considered how you can use color palettes, logos, trademarks, typefaces and page layouts to make your brand come alive? If you have, you’re touching upon the building blocks of a corporate identity.
According to Wikipedia, “A corporate identity comes into being when there is a common ownership of an organizational philosophy that is manifest in a distinct corporate culture. At its most profound, the public feel that they have ownership of the philosophy. In general, this amounts to a corporate title, logo and supporting devices commonly assembled within a set of guidelines.”
Today, I am breaking my 2009 Corporate Identity down to the core elements to demonstrate how the visual language is used to reach across multiple platforms including my blog, stationery and 2009 portfolio.
When building a corporate identity, keep it simple, memorable and make sure that it projects an image that’s in line with your values. Though the colors and typefaces throughout my identity are consistent, the outcomes don’t need to be boring. To create visual interest, consider using varying scales of type and reversing out color schemes.
Give some consideration to the colors that will best represent your brand. For me, black and white were necessities because of my love of classic & stark graphic design and along the way, I picked a combination of three grays as accent colors.
If you need some help deciphering what the meanings are behind various colors, Color Wheel Pro and and Color Meanings can provide insight.
Sum up your brand in a logo. The logo should be simple, unique, legible, easy to read no matter the size and reversible, all while standing for your vision. Wikipedia has a fantastic page of information dedicated to logos and Logo Design Love is a must-read blog on the subject.
A logotype is a uniquely set and arranged typeface. The logotype for Nubbytwiglet.com is set in two different weights of Helvetica Neue and is consistent with the type that is used in the rest of my branding. Since ‘Nubby Twiglet’ is a made up entity, it is purposely kept clean and readable to make memorization easier.
The two typefaces that are used in all of my branding are Helvetica Neue and Poster Bodoni. Helvetica is used in varying weights on everything from titles to body text while Bodoni is only used for numbers (the year, page numbers, addresses, etc). Pick typefaces that you really love because you’ll be using them a lot!
When establishing your identity, web presence is a must-have. Pull your chosen typefaces, colors and imagery through your online presentation so that it’s consistent with its offline counterpart. The image of the shoes on my web header has been used on the backside of my business cards for the last three years.
When I was focused on fine art, I used a press kit to promote my work and sent off artist cards featuring my new series. Now that I’m focused on freelance graphic design, I use a portfolio that features some of my best work. Usually, for a teaser that you’re sending through email, I’d recommend including no more than 10 to 15 of your best pieces. If you’re called in for a meeting or interview, then use that opportunity to bring along your print portfolio to show a larger selection.
The above examples consist of the cover, an introductory page and an example of the page layout for the projects. You may notice that on my newly branded pieces (portfolio and web header) I am using much more leading in the caps. I’ll be slowly changing everything over for next year so that it’s more legible.
Keep the portfolio interface as uncluttered as possible so that it doesn’t interfere with the work that you’re presenting. The focus should be on the amazing pieces that you’ve crafted, not on how cool the look of your portfolio is!
In closing, remember that no matter what your business is like behind the scenes, a corporate identity is a chance to present a cohesive vision to the world and most importantly, prospective clients. Have fun but always remember the core principles of your visual language and how they relate to new implementations.