Polish Your Brand Identity (And Keep it that Way)

Protecting the strength of your brand identity across all your marketing channels is crucial to maintaining a clear and consistent perception about your business. Here are six essential brand identity elements to polish your brand and keep it that way!

Polish Your Brand Identity
(And Keep it that Way)

What is Brand Identity?

When it comes to how we dress, we all have our own style. I once knew a girl who consistently wore mismatched socks and shoes. Once I realized this wasn’t a mistake, I deemed her bizarre style choice bold and little quirky, and that’s how I came to know her: the type of person you just couldn’t miss in a crowd.

And that is exactly what a unique brand identity will do for your business. Each element—brand story logo, color, font, voice, graphics—tells your customers who you are, what they can expect from you, and differentiates you from the crowd. In time, they too will come to know your business for whatever identity you’ve chosen, whether it’s bold and a little quirky, or professional and classy.

Just be sure you’re dressing your business the same across all your marketing platforms. Your brand identity elements should not look different on your website than they do on your print collateral or social media. Failure to maintain consistency can confuse your customers and potentially damage your brand credibility.

Brand Identity Elements (And How They Work Together)

The number of elements may vary depending on who you ask, but I believe these six brand identity components are essential:

  1. Brand Story
  2. Logo
  3. Typography
  4. Color Palette
  5. Voice
  6. Graphics

I’ll give you a high-level summary of each elements and then show you examples of how these work together. I’ll also show you how to put together your own one-page brand identity guide so your brand stays polished no matter who works on your marketing.

Want to skip reading and get straight to work? Download my free brand identity guide template.

Brand Story

I think I just broke a cardinal rule by talking about brand story before mentioning logos. But I think it’s important to cover first, because this is the most important piece of marketing that quickly, clearly, and simply tells your customers who you are and how you can help them.

You may have also heard this referred to as a brand statement or elevator pitch. Simply put, your brand story is a one to three sentence statement that tells customers 1) what problem you solve, 2) how you solve that problem, and 3) how their life will be better with your product or service. This should be the first thing people read on your website, social profiles, flyers, and the first thing you tell people when that ask, “So, tell me about your business!”

Well, okay. If you insist…

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The most basic element of your brand identity design is your logo. This is the face of your brand; your signature icon by which your customers will come to recognize you. And like a signature outfit, it should be stunning, memorable, and versatile enough to use in a variety of environments. The Nike Swoosh or the Pepsi logo are some of the most iconic examples of memorable logos—you don’t need to see the company name to know which company these symbols represent.


The next couple of brand identity components dig deeper into your brand’s personality. Like your logo, the perfect font for your brand should communicate personality, but be legible and versatile enough to work on every platform. Two to three complementary fonts are recommended. In general, fonts are a mix of serif and sans serif or script. If you’re not sure what whose terms mean, check out dafont.com to browse all the different font styles and try them out for free. Or see how it fits together in my logo mockup below:

Color Palette

You brand’s color palette really brings out your business’s personality and mood. When choosing your colors, think how do I want to make my customers feel? What colors represent an important aspect of my product or service? And what colors speak to my target audience? This is color psychology at its most basic.

For example, if you run an organic skin care line for women, you may want to choose colors that represent health, beauty, and nature. So a palette of greens, yellows, and beige neutrals might work best in this scenario. In general, your brand identity should have about two to six complementary colors in its palette. Check out the color palettes, below, in the hair and skin care products from Aveda and Aveeno. What do you think they’re trying to communicate through these colors?


When I mention a business’s voice, I sometimes get funny looks. “You mean what my business talks about?” some may ask. No, I mean how your business actually sounds. What words do you use to communicate your message? Are they professional and confident? Playful and sassy? Or direct and humorous? Knowing the voice of your business is particularly important when you start to involve writers or content creators in your marketing so you can make sure many people write in one voice.

Still not sure what that looks (or sounds) like? Here’s a quick exercise to help you notice the difference a few subtle changes can make to the voice, tone, and inflection in writing:

I didn’t say she ate the cookie.
I didn’t say she ate the cookie.
I didn’t say she ate the cookie.
I didn’t say she ate the cookie.
I didn’t say she ate the cookie.
I didn’t say she ate the cookie.
I didn’t say she ate the cookie.


We all know a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why having a standard for the types of graphics your business uses is really important. The graphics you choose will evoke a certain feeling in your customers, and that feeling should be intentional.

For example, I work with a company that does outreach work for children of prisoners around the world. These children have some of the saddest stories and live in some of the most impoverished and dire circumstances you can image. Now, the company has a choice of how they will convey their work with these children. They can show the harsh reality of children of prisoners in a kind of “save the animals” ASPCA kind of way. (Think sad puppies and doe-eyed kittens.) Or they can show happy, hopeful photos of smiling children to subtly demonstrate the impact of their work. Neither is wrong, it just depends on what they want to make their audience feel. Here’s a peek at which direction they chose:

Cohesive Brand Identity Examples

Now it’s time for a brand identity check. How is yours doing? Is your brand identity consistent across all of your platforms and forms of marketing? If someone found you on social media would they also recognize your brand if they saw your website or received an email from you?

If your answer is “no,” kudos to you for recognizing where your marketing might need some work! I suggest starting with a brand guide. Companies use this to protect their unique brand identity so that no matter where their brand is published and no matter who works on their marketing, employees and contractors have clear guidelines on how to uphold the brand identity and enhance the perceived value of the company. It also communicates professionalism and reliability. These guides are often robust, and go into much more detail than I’ve covered in this blog, such mission, vision, rules for how to use logos, specific messaging for products, word preferences, grammar usage guidelines, and more.

If this sounds overwhelming, then start small and simple. Put together a one-page guide that covers these six essential brand identity elements. Here’s a sample I created for a mock brand:

Who Needs a Brand Identity Guide?

I’m not going to mess around here. If you own a business, you must establish guidelines around your brand identity. Especially if you…

  • have a brand that isn’t unified across platforms and publications
  • don’t know your brand colors, fonts, voice, etc
  • delegate or outsource marketing projects
  • want to protect your brand integrity
  • don’t have a brand guide

I’ve created a template similar to the one above that you can start with. Just download it and plug in your own information.

Download my free brand identity guide template.

Brand Identity Design Services

If this still sounds overwhelming or you’re ready to develop a more comprehensive set of guidelines for your company, then let’s chat. Brand guides are among some of my favorite pieces to develop and are worth the investment, as they will protect the integrity of your brand for years to come.