FOR A LOGO TO BE SUCCESSFUL, IT NEEDS TO HAVE SEVERAL SUPPORTING ELEMENTS. THIS “BRAND IDENTITY SYSTEM” KEEPS YOUR BRANDING FRESH AND CONSISTENT.
“Brand Identity System.” “Modular Identity System.” “Logo System.” Whatever you’ve heard it called, the key word is “system.” As you’ve learned in previous chapters, your brand is more than a logo. Your name, identity, and package design all need to reflect a compelling, core brand essence. Now that you’ve hammered out all of this strategic brand foundation work, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of how to actually put your brand identity into play.
To start, your logo (aka, identity) needs to be flexible enough to use across any print and web applications you may run into. It needs to be as recognizable and reproducible in one color as it does on your website or tap truck. We won’t dive into raster versus vector file formats, but suffice to say that the design firm you partner with needs to give you vector files. These are infinitely scalable without losing detail meaning your logo will look as crisp on a business card as it does on a billboard.
An identity “system” is a suite of visual elements that can be used across all your brand’s touchpoints. These can include a main logo, alternate logo builds, icon system, textures, typography, and a specific color palette. Used smartly, these elements keep your branding fresh and lively across different pieces while still being consistent and familiar.
This approach comes in handy for merchandising. Some folks may not want to buy a shirt emblazoned with a big logo, but a more subtle shirt with a cool secondary icon may outsell your IPA. Well, hopefully not. But you get the idea.
North Pier Brewing (Benton Harbor, MI) came to market with a fun suite of merch.
When it’s all said and done, this process should net you the following core brand identity elements:
- Main logo (delivered as a vector file)
- Secondary logo elements and iconography (vertical and horizontal logo builds for different applications, tagline, etc.)
- Color palette (including Pantone, CMYK, RGB, and Hex values)
- Typography (including usage guidelines for specific weights and directions to purchase your own font licenses)
Printer’s Ale Manufacturing Co.‘s (Carrollton, GA) modular identity system consists of a main mark, and several secondary builds. This gave us a lot to work with when tackling their website, packaging and merch.