by Katy French155TOTAL SHARESSHARE123TWEET32SHARE
In case you didn’t know, we’re major design geeks. From data visualization, to motion graphics, to infographics, we’re obsessed with design in any medium—especially when it comes to branding. A beautifully designed visual identity doesn’t just support a brand; it elevates it. From your packaging to your social presence, a strong visual identity instantly communicates who you are, what you’re about, and why people should want to interact with you.
Conversely, a weak identity can degrade your brand experience. It’s easy to assume that just because you have an identity—logo, colors, typography—that it is effective. But if your visual identity is disconnected, inconsistent, or an inaccurate reflection of your brand, you aren’t telling a cohesive brand story. That makes it harder for your brand to connect with and establish a relationship with the people you’re trying to reach. Luckily, there are plenty of brands out there that are doing it right.
15 Brands With an Awesome Visual Identity
We always love to celebrate great work, so we’ve rounded up some of our team’s fave brands to show you the best real-life examples of a visual identity at work.
From beer to bedding, each of these brands artfully uses their visual identity to entice and engage in creative ways. We hope they inspire you to do the same.
Casper is the mattress startup that has disrupted the industry with not just an innovative business model but a slick visual identity and content marketing strategy. (See their quarterly print magazine Woolly.)
Their soothing beige and blue brand colors, plus hand-drawn illustrations, bring a sense of comfort to everything from their website to their Facebook.
Meditation app Headspace also features a cheery color palette that brings joy (and delivers on the mission of their meditation app: less stress, more joy). Naturally, the identity extends to their site, app, and even their Instagram. With inspirational quotes and charming illustrated characters, they ensure a cohesive experience with every piece of content.
Just like their service, Airbnb’s branding is all about living an active life. Through their people-heavy imagery and bold pink logo, they encourage people to make the most of life—and use Airbnb to do it.
Yogurt might not be the most thrilling product, but our team has a major design crush on Chobani’s visual identity. Their packaging uses their signature green, which reflects their natural, non-GMO ingredients while providing a backdrop that allows the fruit to pop. Meanwhile, their Instagram is packed with fun illustrations and unique digital collages that play with the brand colors in creative ways.
When Dropbox began, they were rocking a minimal design, but as the brand evolved, so did its brand identity. Its 2017 rebrand features a vibrant, colorful, imagery-heavy identity that is a drastic change. From their Twitter banners to their Instagram, it conveys a sense of endless creativity to match the brand’s ever-evolving toolkit.
6) Southwest Airlines
Following in the steps of branding titans like Virgin, Southwest Airlines recently unveiled a fresh rebrand that injects the brand with a little more personality. Its yellow, red, and blue tri-color scheme brings a sense of warmth, making the brand feel more welcoming—exactly what you want from an airline.
Sonos has the exciting challenge of communicating their audio-centric brand visually. Luckily, with a 2015 rebrand they turned their sonic brand into a treat for the eyes. Sophisticated black is punctuated by loud pops of color (pun intended) that reflect the product experience.
Like Casper, Buffy is a sleep brand offering “the world’s most comfortable comforter.” With a heavy emphasis on comfort, the brand boasts a rainbow of muted colors and illustrations that offer a playful vibe while keeping it calming and soothing.
Winc is a wine club that sends wine to your doorstep. As such, they’re all about simple convenience, and their visual identity reflects that. The color palette is muted and sophisticated—perfect for an elegant wine club. Their site features minimalist design and simple illustrations, well punctuated through colorful accents that keep the focus on the product.
10) Little Wolf
This coffee roaster has a visual identity that pops with personality. Inspired by its animal-centric name, the site features a whimsical illustrated wolf and a clean blue-and-white palette. Everything from its merch to its cups uses the hand-drawn wolf motif, presenting a simple, signature visual identity.
11) January Moon
This maker of modern teething jewelry has a brand identity far more sophisticated than your standard baby product brand. Naturally, with an emphasis on modernity, the brand takes a unique approach by using classic primary colors in creative ways. A subdued gray is paired with pops of color and abstract shapes, giving it a cleaner, more adult feel.
12) Parkinson’s Foundation
For many nonprofits, design can be an afterthought. But the Parkinson’s Foundation has created a fresh visual identity that reflects the exciting, dynamic organization it is. A unique logo resembles a brain in a head, a subtle nod to the neurological disorder. The bright blue is a vibrant hue, communicating an excitement and zest for life that the organization works to support.
Glossier is the beauty brand all about simplifying beauty product shopping. As such, their identity is simple and clean. Light colors and people-centric photography make it feel welcoming and accessible—just like their shopping experience.
14) Meow Wolf
Meow Wolf is an arts and entertainment group that creates immersive, interactive experiences. Therefore, it’s no surprise that their visual identity is bold and immersive. Technicolor hues paired with simple animation brings their site and social presence to life, whether it’s images of recent work or snapshots of the team.
15) Rogue Ales
This Oregon-based beer brand is pioneering farm-to-bottle brewing. They grow many of their own ingredients and draw flavor inspiration from nature’s best. Their visual identity reflects this in every way, from the hand-drawn illustrations on their packaging to the “fresh picked” photography ever-present on their social media. It’s an effective way to reinforce their brand promise in every design detail.
How to Improve Your Visual Identity
If these brands have inspired you to up your design game, there are plenty of things you can do to build a strong visual identity. If you’re not sure where to start, try these helpful next steps.
- Learn about the keys to a strong brand identity. If you want to design a memorable identity, you need to know what will make or break yours. Start with our guide to design a brand identity, and follow these tips to build a beautiful identity.
- Use the right tools. From logo, to color, to type, bookmark these 75 helpful tools, resources, and tips to build a great brand identity.
- Create a memorable and flexible logo. Your logo should work for everything from your social presence to your packaging. Try our guide to design a logo with less stress.
- Limit your colors. Use one main color, two primary color, and a few accent colors. For more detail, see our guide to curate the perfect palette for your brand.
- Choose the right typography. Follow our guide to find typography that complements your logo and works cohesively with your other visual elements.
- Make it comprehensive. Content creators need a variety of visual tools to create truly compelling content. Use this handy checklist to design your comprehensive visual identity.
- Follow design best practices. Find out how to fix the most common visual design mistakes to make sure your branded content works.
- Get inspired by pros. Check out these impressive rebrand examples to see how smart brands have reinvented themselves.
- Make your visual identity easy to use. It’s hard to preserve your brand integrity if your visual identity isn’t properly applied. Find out how to create a comprehensive brand style guide, and follow our tips to keep your content on brand.
- Use your identity to bring your brand story to life. Good design isn’t about making things look pretty; it’s about telling a compelling story. Follow our tips to upgrade your annual reports, infographics, video, motion graphics, and content marketing.
But don’t forget that your visual identity is only one component of your brand strategy. To build a brand that will thrive, you need a full brand strategy (which includes your brand heart, brand messaging, and visual identity). To complete your brand strategy, download our free Brand Toolkit below, which includes the tools, templates, and guides you need to do this important work.
That said, we know it’s easy to hit a wall if you don’t have the bandwidth or resources to do this work completely. If that’s the case, you might want to consider bringing in a creative agency for support. Follow these tips to find the creative agency that’s right for you, or holler at us. We’d be happy to help bring your brand to life in any way we can.