Graphical Identity: What? Why? How?

A deep dive into what visual identity is, why it matters and how you can create your own
March 28, 2023

We’ve all heard the phrase :, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” While that might sometimes be true, it’s not always the case.  To truly judge and rate a book, you’d have to open it, flick through it, take the time to reflect on its content. Having a beautiful cover doesn’t instantly mean the book is  thought-provoking or particularly well written. Some ugly covers might even have better stories within them.

But, then what’s the purpose of having a cover in the first place?

The cover is the first thing you see, it’s what gets your attention, what draws you in to focus on this one particular book, versus the dozens of others sitting next to it. It’s purpose is also to get an inside look into what the writing is all about, that’s why you pick it up, you’re expecting the writing to match what caught your eye.

The real reason we’re talking about book covers is in the way it relates to graphical identity, the thing that defines your overall brand and what it’s all about, it affects what type of people you’ll attract and reflects your work.

So do you want to attract people, have them read your book and engage with it ?

Getting a solid graphic identity will give you that edge on attracting quality clients. Let’s go more in depth into what it is.


A graphical identity, or visual identity, is the brand’s message. It’s communicated by a company's logo, design schemes, characters and other visual symbols used in external and internal messages.

When creating an impacting and consistent graphic identity, you’ll maintain and build a strong brand image.

Your most recognized graphic symbol is often your company’s logo. Logos representing your business and that inspire positive feelings among customers are huge benefits. Your color scheme will also help in promoting your message, it also contributes to graphic identity. For instance, the famous electronics retailer Best Buy typically incorporates its blue and yellow colors into its ads. Making sure your design schemes and your visual look are top notch will also greatly contribute, especially for electronic businesses where competition is fierce.

A graphical identity is made to be recognisable, take the iconic yellow and red McDonald’s logo, the fries you get in your menu have the same theme, the cup from which you drink also has a similar color design. The colors themselves are visible from far away and attract the eye. You could see and recognise a McDonald’s restaurant from far away.

That’s what visual identity is, a way to make someone think: “I know what that is, I’ve already seen the logo/design”. Having a strong, recognisable graphical identity can also distinguish your brand from the group, making it standout.

The best example is probably from Apple, every ad that comes out, every video, website design, box design aims at showing their brand identity, simplicity, creativity and efficiency.


Brand identity influences the way people look at you, that same identity can help strengthen the bond between customer and company for several reasons:


Differentiation will make your brand stand out by having a unique and recognizable visual identity. Graphical identities that effectively represent your business will put you in the forefront of both your marketplace and your client’s mind.


To relate to your brand, your target audience has to find your brand appealing and easy to understand. Making a logo that stands as the face of your brand will create a sense of “understanding” between you and the customer.


Consistency is key in all aspects of branding and most important when it comes to your visual identity. It will directly impact your customer’s brand loyalty. The more consumers recognize your products, the easier it is for them to spot and prefer to others.

Consistency will help structure your brand, having a familiar and profoundly rooted graphical identity will help you grow. This doesn’t mean that your visual identity is fixed, it’s the familiarity and overall framework that will keep customers engaged and prevent confusion. For example, take a look at Tropicana’s packaging redesign failure, which confused existing customers who simply didn’t recognize the product’s packaging.


Simply put, customers are loyal to brands that they know and trust.  Having a well-defined and strong brand will help your customers align their values with your company, this should make them stick with what they know, you. The more your customers recognize and familiarize themselves with your product or service, the stronger their connections to it become.

Just to summarize, here’s why you should have a strong brand identity:

  • Differentiation
  • Relatability
  • Consistency
  • Loyalty


Let’s now look at how you can build a strong brand identity, here are a few elements to consider:

  • Graphics: Forms or shapes that stand out, either simple logos or complex animations
  • Typography: The shape or styling of the text you use in your branding
  • Color palette: Used to identify a brand through a scheme
  • Imagery: It brings life to your designs and makes it alive

First define a brand identity, what does your brand represent? Who is it for? That should guide the visuals, not the other way around. The visuals are meant to show who you are and what you stand for, that’s what you should first figure out.

While you don’t have to have every aspect of your brand figured out (as brands can and should evolve over time), decide on the basics of your brand strategy: what is your mission statement? What are your core values? How does your brand help people? Who are your buyer personas? What is your communication style?

Those questions serve a purpose, figuring out what kind of character your brand would be, it’s voice, look and feel. Describing and visualizing your brand as a live character will help you craft your visual identity, figure out what suits it, what outfits it would wear, what music it would listen to. That’s who and what you are.

        Overall, graphical identity stands out not as a feature but a necessity, designing strong and cohesive visuals will help your customers recognize and stick with you.

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