What Makes an Identity Kit
by Margaret Penney | October 26, 2016
The visual identity of a company is usually the first design element they need. The visual identity can demonstrate character, set the tone of the company, and even speak to its core values. A new company might think they only need a logo to start, but that isn’t a complete identity and is not enough. Companies should start with a full identity kit for two main reasons:
- It demonstrates a design system with visual cohesion and uniformity which translates to an image of professionalism for that brand.
- It actually saves time and money down the road, since designers can adapt a full-fledged identity kit easily for use in a variety of projects, like a website or motion graphic interstitial.
What Are the Key Elements of a Brand Identity Kit?
Logo or Logomark
The first and most important element of a brand identity kit is the logo. The logo can include a logomark, which is the graphic element of the design. The logo may also have a logotype, which is the written and typographic element of the logo. Some companies may opt to have one or the other, or they may have both. If the company only has a logotype it is referred to as a wordmark.
A company may decide to use its logomark quite often or use it with the logotype and combined in very specific ways. How the logo is applied in a layout and across media are examples of “logo lockups.” In the brand identity kit, after you have introduced the logo, it’s important to demonstrate how it would be applied in different scenarios. Establishing these scenarios are incredibly helpful for designers working with the identity in the future since they take the guess work out of how the logo can be incorporated into many designs.
In the logo lockups section you can include how the logo should be used and also how it should not—the dos and the donts for the logo in use. So, in addition to demonstrating how the logo can be applied in a webpage or over a photo include how it should not be applied. For instance, if the logo will not look good smaller than 30 pixels in height, include that information in your identity kit as the minimal reproduction size.
In a brand identity kit you want to include the primary color palette for the logo. With the color palette, make sure to include values for CMYK, HEX, RGB and if possible Pantone. Making sure the colors read the same across media is key to having the identity kit appear cohesive.
After you have established a primary color palette you can also include the secondary palette. The secondary palette is what compliments and supports your primary brand palette. It provides a set of colors that can be easily paired with your brand’s palette.
The identity kit should also include the main fonts in use for the brand. The fonts included are not the logotype font necessarily but what can be paired with the logotype in a brochure or webpage. In the typography section of the identity kit it’s essential to include all details about the font like its size, style, letter-spacing or color. If the font is used differently for print or web include a section for the typography for each medium.
Graphic and Illustrative Elements
In this section of the kit, you can include information about the type and style of images associated with the brand. If certain kinds of photos are preferred, include that information here. You can also include a grid of examples of the kinds of photos to include. You can also include styles of illustrations or artwork as well. If the brand has a hand-drawn feel, include how the illustrations paired with the logo should also have a hand-drawn feel, for instance.
These are the essential elements of a brand identity kit. if you take the time upfront to organize and present a cohesive brand identity it will help to establish the brand and present a professional and strong image. A solid brand identity can even improve the effectiveness of the client company overall.
Keep in mind also that a brand identity kit, like many design projects, is not writ in stone—never be afraid to be creative and come up with a striking and innovative brand and identity kit—use this guide as a framework for your own brand explorations.
Designs included here are the Varig Logo Redesign by Leo Porto.
Margaret Penney is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Margaret is a teacher, designer, writer and new media artist and founder of Hello Creative Co.