Brand – Jun, 2021

Visual identity principles specific to brand design | Ice House Design

Brands and branding are all pervasive and ubiquitous. The media are obsessed with brand and everybody now uses the ‘brand’ word, her we look at visual identity principles specific to brand design and branding.

A brand is simply an organisation, a product or service with something to say, or a ‘personality’. Pretty simple right? So why is there so much confusion and misunderstanding. Wally Ollins, the corporate identity guru, attributes this to the fact that brands and branding can encapsulate both big and important apparently superficial and trivial factors simultaneously.

For some people, brands seems to represent the most extravagant and wild excesses of society in love with consumerism and display. For others, brand may be a motif, coloured box, a magazine or a car.

Visual identity is an important subset of brand design. We take a closer look at design principles that relate to the visual identity part of brand design, in order to clarify and simplify the process if you are designing your identity from scratch or, as some might say’ rebranding’.

Brand design and visual identity principles


With the visual identity part of brand design, less is often more. Don’t be afraid to use space on your website and packaging. Clean space is the oxygen of good design. A clear ground makes logos and brand names stand out so much more clearly. By confusing the viewer with an unnecessarily complicated background, you’ll only be making the experience less pleasurable, and less memorable. 

Clean and direct logo marques are easy to remember and pleasant to have around in your day to day life, which leads to higher levels of both initial and repeat purchasing. 


As with space, the key to an effective colour palette is to keep things simple. A common rule in the design of visual identity for brand design is to not use more than three colours. Take this with a pinch of salt though, as grid designers like to break rules!

This avoids confusion; you’re not trying to paint a complex landscape painting, the goal is to create persuasive visuals that keep your brand fresh and clean. Many brands stick to black and white, with perhaps just one colour – this isn’t a bad idea, but it means that your logos and other areas of design have to be absolutely on point.

Stand out

There is so much choice between brands in the marketplace, with literally thousands of products being pushed on us daily, that for a brand to grab our attention enough to warrant further investigation necessitates that it stands out in just the right way. 

Unless your potential customer is actively looking for your exact services, you’ll need to have a visually attention grabbing design, while keeping it ‘sensible’ enough to remain a serious consideration. It’s a fine line between over the top and standing out, one which needs careful consideration and considerable market research.

Brand guidelines

You can have all the brilliant design ideas in the world, but if they don’t fit together to create a cohesive overarching manifesto, they won’t do your brand any good at all. A clear set of brand guidelines is essential to bring everything together, to arrange the jumbled palette of colours into a masterpiece. 

A set of brand guidelines will help achieve brand consistency, in doing so helping to ensure that your brand image is clean and easily perceived by the customers, and help massively to bring your core vision and ideology to life. 

Make it timeless

Trends are not important in the design of a brand. Relevant, fresh, engaging and meaningful but not trendy. Keep the principal aspects of the brand (the logo marque, typeface, layout, composition for example) as elegant and as appropriates as can be made, whilst still compelling, meaningful and engaging.

It’s a fine balance, and not one that can be completely predicted, but it’s something to be kept in mind.

If you’re in two minds about where to start on a brand or visual identity design project, our team of experts at Ice House Design will be happy to guide you through the process. Call our team today on +44 (0)1225 466 080


Posted by Jack Owen