May 28, 2023

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Customers believe what they see. In fact, studies show that over 92.6% of customers place the highest importance on visual factors when buying a product. That’s because humans are naturally wired to process sequences 60,000 times faster than text.

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And this visual processing power of our brain is what marketers use to make connections with their target audience. This connection is made through a carefully crafted process we call visual identification.

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But before we get into the details of visual recognition, let’s first understand what it is and what it consists of.

What is visual recognition?

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Visual identity is the set of unique visual elements and characteristics that visually define and communicate a company’s brand message.

Also commonly known as visual branding, visual identity is an umbrella term that includes all the elements that contribute to understanding a company visually. This includes logos, color palettes, typography, imagery, packaging designs, labels, and more.

In simple words, visual identity is what makes a brand recognizable with just a glance.

For example, when a person sees a yellow ‘M’ on a red background, they immediately think of McDonald’s. That is the visual branding of McDonald’s.

importance of visual recognition

Visuals are essential for customers to effectively identify and differentiate a brand. In fact, over 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.

Therefore, a strong visual identity is essential for a brand:

Personalize the Brand: A visual identity gives a brand a human-like personality and makes it more relatable to customers. Build an emotional connection with the customer: Visuals leave a lasting impression on customers and help them connect with the brand on an emotional level. Build Brand Recall: A strong visual identity helps customers to remember a brand and its products/services better. Build trust and credibility: Customers are more likely to trust a company whose identity matches their beliefs and beliefs. visual identity element

Anything and everything that can be seen, touched and felt forms the visual identity of a brand.

Some common visual identity elements are:

Logo – The logo is the most basic and essential visual identification element. It is a graphical mark or symbol representing a company or product. The logo may be in the form of a wordmark, symbol, or combination mark. Fonts – The fonts used by a company in its branding also play an important role in establishing its visual branding. The choice of font depends on the personality of the brand and the message the company wants to convey. Some companies use serif fonts for a more traditional and established look, while others use sans-serif fonts for a more modern and sleek look. Color Palette – Brand colors significantly affect how customers perceive a brand. Different colors evoke different feelings and emotions. For example, blue evokes a sense of trustworthiness and reliability, while yellow is associated with happiness and positivity. Imagery – The imagery used by a brand creates certain feelings and emotions as well. For example, if a company uses images of elite athletes in its marketing, it is trying to create a sense of aspiration and success. Visual Merchandising – Developing a store layout and design that is consistent with the brand identity also reinforces the company’s message. try to communicate. Packaging and Labeling – Packaging and labeling affect how customers interact with the product. The design, color and material used contribute to the overall experience. Marketing Collateral – Marketing materials such as business cards, flyers and brochures are part of visual identity. They are trying to value the company and achieve it. Online Profile – Not only offline, but online presence also serves as an important part of visual branding. Websites, social media pages, and even email signatures all work together to give customers a complete picture of the company. visual identity vs brand identity

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Although often confused to be the same, visual identity and brand identity are not the same.

In fact, visual identity is a subset of brand identity. While brand identity is the overall image of the brand created by the company, visual identity is only the visual aspect of it.

Consider brand identity as a person’s personality and visual identity as that person’s appearance. A person’s personality is understood by the way he talks, his behaviour, his hobbies, his looks etc. Whereas the appearance of a person is the way he looks.

In the same way, brand identity is the overall personality of the brand created by the blending of various elements such as the brand voice, brand story, mission statement, visual identity, etc. In contrast, visual identity is just the form of the brand and is usually represented by logo, color scheme, typography, iconography, etc.

How to develop visual recognition?

Visual Identity Design is all about developing a look for the brand which can be carried across various touchpoints like product packaging, website design, social media posts, marketing collateral etc.

While there are many elements to consider when developing a visual identity, here is the process that is typically followed:

understand the target audience

The brand should match the aesthetic preferences of the target audience. If the target audience is teenagers then the visuals should be funky and trendy. However, if the target audience is corporate clients, the visuals should be more formal and professional.

Conduct competitor analysis

Competitive analysis helps to understand what types of visual identity designs already exist in the market. This research is essential to ensure that the visuals that are developed for the brand are unique and stand out from the rest.

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define brand personality

Brand personality drives the brand identity, which in turn shapes the visual identity of the brand. Therefore, it is important to define how the brand wants to be seen by its target audience. This will help in creating visuals that are in sync with the overall personality of the brand.

make a moodboard

After the above steps are complete, it’s time to start making the moodboard. This board will act as a source of inspiration while developing the visual identity of the brand. This should include images, colors and fonts that reflect the desired personality of the brand.

development of visual recognition

Moodboard converts into a visual suite that contains all the essential elements used in branding a business. Often, the company has in-house designers to turn this moodboard into a reality. However, if a company does not have an in-house design team, they can always approach branding and design agencies to get the job done.

For example, a company can hire a designer from a freelance marketplace like Fiverr or Upwork, or use an online logo maker to develop its visual identity.

Creating Visual Standards Manual

A brand’s visual standards manual is a document that contains guidelines on how to use the visual elements of a brand identity. It includes specifications for all branding materials such as business cards, websites, social media, etc.

Often, brands combine their visual identity guidelines with their overall brand guidelines to create a document that covers both topics.

Here are some examples of what one might find in the visual standards manual:

Use of logos (eg approved logo lockups, clear space requirements, allowed color variations) typography (eg primary and secondary typefaces, accepted sizes and treatments) color palette (eg CMYK, RGB and Pantone values) imagery (eg approved photography styles) , treatment people vs objects) iconography (eg usage rules for custom icons) layout (eg treatment for accepted grid systems, templates and common design elements) implementation (eg print specifications, digital file requirements, social media profile photos )

Creating a visual recognition standard manual is no small feat. This requires significant time and effort to research, develop and test the various design elements that form part of the final system. But there are many advantages to having a well-built visual recognition system.

Characteristics of a good visual identity

A few key features separate a good visual identity from a non-good one. A good visual identification would be:

Distinctive: It is unique and differentiates itself from others in the same category. For example, Nike’s swoosh is one of the most recognizable and distinctive logos in the world. Recognizable: People can recognize and recognize it even when viewed out of context. This is often due to the strong branding that has been built up over time. McDonald’s Golden Arches is a good example of this. Memorable: People can remember when they watch it again. A good visual identity is often simple and easy to remember. Apple’s visual recognition is a good example of this. Timeless: It doesn’t get dated too quickly and can be used for many years without looking old. The Coca-Cola logo is an example of a timeless visual identity. Flexible: It can be used in a variety of contexts and on a wide variety of properties. A good visual identity should work well on both digital and print assets. Cohesive: Each visual identity element must work in unison. For example, Google’s mix of content you design and a sans-serif font create a cohesive visual identity. visual recognition example

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Now that we’ve covered the basics of visual recognition, let’s take a look at some examples of strong visual recognition.


Even though the company has hundreds of sub-brands, Google’s core visual identity remains strong and recognizable. Using a sans serif font, four primary colors and whatever material you design creates a cohesive look that can be applied to a variety of assets.

Take any Google app – Gmail, YouTube, Maps – and one will see the same visual elements used throughout. This continued use of branding helps users quickly identify Google products and services.


Like Google, Apple also has a strong visual identity across all of its product lines. The company’s simple color palette — black, white and silver — and the use of San Francisco (SF) and New York (NY) as its primary typefaces help create a clean and modern look.

When it comes to product design, Apple is known for its minimalism. The company’s products are sleek and polished, with a focus on functionality rather than form. This approach extends to Apple’s packaging, which is often clean and simple with just a hint of color.


When it comes to visual recognition, Woodland is all about nature. The company logo is a simple but recognizable sign consisting of a tree in green and brown colors.

Woodland Visual Recognition

The products give off a rugged appeal, and the company’s website is filled with images of its product on people enjoying the great outdoors. The brand also has a lookbook featuring lifestyle photos of people wearing woodland gear.

Go ahead, let us know what you think!

Did we miss something? come on! Tell us what you think about our article on visual branding in the comment section.

Aashish Pahwa

A startup consultant, digital marketer, traveler and philosopher. Ashish has worked with over 20 startups and helped them create ideas, raise funds and become successful. When he is not working, he can be found hiking, camping and stargazing.

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