How does the visual identity of a brand affect the user experience of a digital product?
“Differentiate or Die” is the telling title of the famous book by Jack Trout, an American marketing theorist, and practitioner. What to do to meet this challenge? How to build a brand to appear on the market, create positive associations in the minds of recipients, and generate profits?
Let’s start with visual identity!
We often colloquially say that a company has a great brand, but what does that actually mean? What has the company done to deserve such a name?
The words of J. Trout quoted at the beginning suggest that every organization competing in the market should first show who it is. Visual identity serves this purpose. And whether it’s through colors or creative design, companies strive to involve all the senses to create a rich and more memorable brand experience for their customers.
Brands can be represented in many ways besides the name or logo itself. Their consistency in appearance is usually provided by the Visual Identity Book, also known as the Guide Book or Corporate Identity Manual.
Depending on the level of detail, the Guide Book may include components such as:
- symbols – logotype, decorative symbols,
- color definitions,
- the appearance of prints (company paper, envelopes, business cards, commercial documents, other company prints),
- templates of advertising materials – templates for presentations, offers, newsletters, leaflets, folders,
- visual application of slogans in different media,
- marking – means of transport, information boards, signs, clothing, employee IDs,
- decoration of buildings, office interiors, points of sale,
- others – flags, banners, gifts, etc.
The Corporate Identity Manual is extremely important for shaping user and customer experience, especially in the digital age, when the main activities take place via online channels – websites, e-shops, social media, search engine advertising, or company applications.
Let’s look at the best to realize how the role of the visual identity is.
All I need to do is mention a bitten apple, and you will immediately associate this brand with a specific lifestyle and prestige. Moreover, you are ready to pay a lot more for their products, even though competitors offer quite similar ones!
Each brand must tell a story
Is visual identity enough to appear in the minds of recipients and gain their trust, which will ultimately lead to purchasing decisions?
Unfortunately not! A well-thought-out, interesting and consistent identity is the beginning of the road. It needs to be reinforced with a convincing brand story that will be a promise and live in the minds of its audience.
What’s the story for?
- distinguishes the brand from the competition.
- humanizes it because it focuses on the emotions, aspirations and needs of the recipients.
- influences the decisions of recipients.
- lets a brand compete for value, not price.
The master of such a story is Apple, a company that has been taking the top ranking positions of the most expensive brands in the world for years, and each premiere of a new product means several days of queues in front of showrooms.
Because this brand is credible in its story and inspires the trust of users.
Let’s design the experiences of brand users
A brand that stands out in the market with consistent visual identity and a great story has a positive influence on the user experience. You have to remember, however, that the brand lives in a dynamic environment and its recipients change their behavior, habits and aspirations. Therefore, websites, applications and other digital products through which the brand communicates with its recipients should be constantly adapted to their expectations, emotions and behaviors.
UX design is a great ally of brands, the starting point of which is user research. On this basis, digital products are designed to empower the positive impressions arising in contact with the brand.
Consistent visual identity and a brand’s trustworthy story are two inseparable elements that directly affect the experience of brand users. However, the behaviors, aspirations, motivations and feelings of users change, so conscious UX design can strengthen the brand image and build loyalty.