Visuals mean EVERYTHING on social media. But before you can design the right brand visuals, you need to ensure that your visuals are telling the right brand story.
At Forge & Spark Media, we have a proven process for guiding purpose-driven brands and organizations through identifying their brand stories, and crafting the right content marketing and social media strategies.
We’re not gonna sugarcoat it: the process can take months to get right.
But we also know a few shortcuts to get you started. We’re happy to share these with you here so that you can get to work on crafting the right look and feel for your online brand.
We’ve designed this post to get you thinking about the foundations for your visual brand—and your brand communications in general. It’s an excellent primer for our Better Online Brand Design course, in which you’ll learn EXACTLY how to create a Style Guide in Canva to Ensure Killer, consistent visual branding for your business.
Sounds good? Let’s go!
Your Brand Mission Statement
Before you can create a strong visual brand, you must be able to clearly define—both for yourself and for anyone given the task of expressing your brand via content or design—what your brand stands for. In other words, you’re going to need to know what you want to say before you say it. This is exactly where a solid Brand Mission Statement comes in.
From a business-building perspective, this is likely to take some time to get right. But in terms of beginning to define your visual brand expression, why not explore? We suggest starting by answering these three questions.
- What does your brand or business do?
- Who do you do it for?
- Why do those people need what you give them/what benefit do they get?
EXAMPLE: Forge & Spark Media creates content marketing and strategy to enable purpose-led businesses and brands to thrive. Our customers are people who care about the impact of business beyond profit, and about genuine communication and connection. Through our agency and educational services, and as a Certified B Corp, we create lasting value and positive social impact, with a focus on furthering the UN SDGs of gender equality, quality education, and sustainable cities and communities.
Ready to give it a try? Draft your Brand Mission Statement below. And don’t worry. We believe in the philosophy of lousy first drafts. Just get it down and out of your head. Edit later.
|My brand helps [YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER] _______________________________________________
to [DO/ACHIEVE/REDUCE PAIN] ________________________________________________________
by providing [OUTCOME OR BENEFIT] ___________________________________________________
Core values serve, for many organizations, as a unique set of guideposts for team behaviour and even for business decision-making. As people, we know that our values do the same—and that you can tell a lot about a person by the kinds of values they choose to openly stand for. So the question is: what kinds of values do you want your brand to visually express, and be known or recognized for?
Below we’ve gathered a list of values commonly used by leadership institutes and programs. This list is not exhaustive, but it will give you a starting point for identifying the kinds of values you most want to communicate with your visual content.
How to use them:
Please start by circling your top 5 values (no more).
Then place a star by your top 3.
Finally, identify the one value you’d MOST like your visual brand to communicate.
What are the 3-5 most important core values to communicate visually about your brand?
Feel free to make notes outlining why, and/or to customize the values to truly express your brand.
|My 3-5 most important core values are
When people come across your brand content for the first time, what do you immediately want them to understand about your brand? Chances are, you’d like to be sure that at least a bit of your brand personality and attitude shines through. We think of this as the Visual Personality, or Style, of your brand.
Your Personality may be straightforward, or it may be utterly unique; after all, as people, we can have many layers to our personality, and therefore may have more than one word that describes our personality (e.g., we might be outdoorsy & happy, or we could be laid back, soulful & vintage).
To get a handle on the brand personality you’d like to convey visually, start by choosing 3-5 words from the collection below, considering how you’d like your audience to see/perceive you when they encounter your visual content for the first time.
What are your Visual Personality words and why? We encourage you to play with them by combining them into a collection or short phrase.
How is it feeling?
We’re hoping at this point that you’re feeling like you know your brand a little better than you did before starting this exercise. After all, you’ve completed the first foundational steps in really defining your brand – along with understanding what your visual brand must express.
Looking to fast-track your visual brand identity?
Get THIS downloadable worksheet to:
DEFINE YOUR VISUAL MISSION, VALUES, & PERSONALITY
And for more visual inspiration to help define your brand’s visual design strategy, you’re going to want to explore our 8 Beautiful Brand Design Style Examples, showing exactly how this foundational work can be expressed in an overall visual style.
Looking for more design know-how? Consider taking our Better Online Brand Design course to learn EXACTLY how to create a Style Guide in Canva to Ensure Killer, consistent visual branding for your business.