Your visual brand’s personality is how your visual brand makes your audience perceive your business.
Creating the right personality is incredibly important for attracting the right people to your business.
Think about this: how would you feel if your bank felt playful and fun. Sure, you might enjoy the experience of going to the bank more, but would you feel safe keeping your life savings there? Probably not. When people are looking for a bank, they’re looking for a bank that feels established & professional.
Or, if you were choosing a day care for your kids, would you choose the one that felt sleek and refined, or the one that felt warm and inviting?
If you're feeling the need to evaluate and possibly reposition your visual brand or you're developing your visual brand and want to make sure you're creating the right personality, I've put together a few tips to use as a starting place.
Just to be clear; defining a personality for your visual brand is a very subtle art, and there's a lot that could be said on the subject, so these tips are just the basics to get you started.
Most fonts can be broken down to a few different families: serif, san serif, and script. Those categories can be broken down even further: slab serif, neoclassical, old style, etc. Then beyond that you can consider different weights of fonts.
Serif fonts have a feeling of age and classicism to them and are often associated with traditional forms of media, such as newspapers, books and magazines.
Personalities created by serif fonts: classic, academic, respectable, knowledgeable, established, intellectual, old-fashioned
San Serif Fonts
San serif fonts are some of the most versatile fonts. In general, they make a subtler statement than other categories. This makes them great for instances when you don't want a font with a strong personality.
San serif fonts are also associated with all things modern.
Personalities created by san serif fonts: modern, simple, clean
Script fonts are all about humanity. They can vary from neat & detailed to loose & messy, but all script fonts reflect a human touch. They are great for making a visual brand feel more personal.
Personalities created by script fonts: intimate, feminine, personal, friendly, casual, elegant, classy
Color theory is a fascinating study with many applications. Each color evokes certain personalities, and the saturation and value of the colors can shift that personality.
Hues are what we think of when we say "color" - such as red, yellow, or blue. Hue is determined the dominant wavelength of light.
It's important to note that the meanings of different colors can vary based on culture. The meanings I present in this post are based on Western/American culture.
Personalities created by red: passionate, angry, loving, intense
Personalities created by orange: hungry, stimulating, enthusiastic
Personalities created by yellow: happy, energetic, bright, lively
Personalities created by green: lively, fresh, healthy
Personalities created by blue: relaxed, calm, peaceful
Personalities created by purple: luxurious, sensual, wise, mysterious
Saturation is also sometimes called intensity or vibrance. It describes how rich or colorful a color is.
Personalities created by high saturation colors: energetic, bright, motivated, young
Personalities created by low saturation colors: calm, mature, soft, refined
Value describes the lightness of a color. It’s easy to find the value of a color – just make an image grayscale – if the color turns white or light gray, its high value. If it turns dark gray or black, it’s low value.
Personalities created by high value colors: gentle, inviting, feminine
Personalities created by low value colors: intimate, rich, intimidating
Shapes are what you learned they are in preschool: squares, triangles, circles, etc.
Rectangles are used most often in design, and are the most versatile, but because of their prominence, are almost always neutral when it comes to personality. For that reason, I'll focus on other shapes.
Personalities created by circles and round shapes: feminine, balanced, friendly
Personalities created by triangles: active, energetic
Personalities created by polygons: modern, varied, multi-faceted
The best demonstration of low white space are those grocery-store ads that everyone gets in the mail, and no one wants. The ads are crammed with dozens of photos, prices, and deals, and your eyes have nowhere to rest. This is an example of low white space – there’s simply not much breathing room in the design.
Personalities created by low white space: cheap, low-brow, casual, hectic
Personalities created by high white space: elegant, expensive, refined
Contrast is the amount of difference between things. Black and white have high contrast. White and pale pink have low contrast. It extends beyond colors, as well – for example, a high contrast font pairing could be a heavy serif with a light, airy san serif.
Personalities created by high contrast: energetic, modern
Personalities created by low contrast: calming, soft
Create the right personality to Attract the Right People
So those are the basics! I hoped that helped you to start thinking about what personality you want your visual brand to portray.
Visual branding is so much more than making something beautiful - it's about making something beautiful AND effective.
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