branding, graphic design
What are visual branding assets?
(+ free branding assets checklist!)
3rd July 2020
The early days of any business are usually characterised by a whirlwind of endless tasks, such as building a solid client base, creating and developing products, and making sales. All of these are vital to company growth, but while a business owner is wholly focused in these areas, it’s common for branding assets to be placed onto the backburner.
And yet, a business owner who finds time to create and solidify branding assets will find that these resources can help to grow a business just as much as a strong sales strategy, or a loyal client base.
A well-defined branding identity helps audiences to identify with a brand. It creates certain expectations about the value of a service or product, and showcases how those services and products can improve their life in some way.
Not to mention, developing branding assets early on will help to ensure brand consistency from the early days throughout the vital growth period and beyond. This means avoiding an awkward rebrand mid-growth.
What are visual branding assets?
Visual branding assets are the building blocks of how customers and audiences recognise your brand. This includes everything from your key colours, to your logo, and even your typography.
The interesting thing about branding assets is that most companies will create them – whether they know what they are or not.
Branding assets can arise organically with each piece falling into place as needed. For example, you create a logo only when you need to print business cards, or you choose brand colours only when you build a website.
Alternatively – and ideally – you will create these visual assets proactively and with purpose. You will work with a designer to create a set of assets that reflect your brand, work well together, and help to build a company image that will be easily identified on the market for years to come.
A detailed breakdown of visual branding assets
A logo and logo files
A great logo is the simple visual representation of an enterprise. It’s often widely known, such as the tick of Nike or the golden arches of McDonalds, and is always simple, clear, and meaningful.
It must be simple, but it also must create an impression at a glance. Whatever the goals and characteristics of your brand, they must be visible in your logo in some way.
The logo might also have a few variations such as:
Primary logo – with and without a tagline
Secondary logo – with and without a tagline
Reverse versions – usually all-black and all-white version of the logo
Icon only – to be used as a Facebook profile picture or favicon (a shortcut icon) for your website.
“Visual branding assets are the building blocks of how customers and audiences recognise your brand.” – CREATIVA
Once a logo has been created you should have easy access to high quality images and the original artwork file.
.AI – Short for Adobe Illustrator, this file is commonly used in print media and digital graphics. Vector files are images that are built by mathematical formulas, so they can be scaled to any size. AI files only work in Adobe Illustrator.
EPS – this is an older type of vector graphics file. It can be scaled and opened by professional graphic software.
PDF – The Portable Document Format is built for the exchange of documents across platforms and is editable in Adobe Acrobat. PDF allows you to view a vector-based high-resolution image of your logo.
PNG – PNG files are commonly used in web graphics, digital photographs, and images with transparent backgrounds.
JPG – This is the most common format for images, although it doesn’t allow transparent background.
Your colour palette is one of the fundamental elements of your brand identity. It doesn’t just make your brand experience more pleasant, it also sets your brand apart from your competitors and reflects your brand personality and values.
Keeping your colours consistent across different mediums (digital and print) can present a real challenge if you don’t have your codes right. Your brand colour palette should have specific colour codes for each of them.
These are the most popular colour types:
CMYK – CMYK refers to the four ink plates used in some colour printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black). This is used for offset and digital printing, and comes in the form of four codes each representing the percentage of the colour used.
RGB – The RGB colour model name comes from the initials of the three additive primary colours, red, green, and blue. It is the most common colour format used for displaying colours in electronic systems such as TV and computers.
HEX – The hexadecimal colour format is the one used for designers and developers in web design. The HEX code is represented by 6 digits (numbers and letters) that represent the red, green and blue components of the colour.
Typography refers to a set of fonts used throughout your branding. Your fonts might come from the ones used on your logo design, or it can complement it. Typography is a large brand asset, as it’s present in almost everything you create to represent it: your website, your print material, social media, signage, packaging, and more.
As a basic rule of thumb is to choose two fonts, but some brands might include a third set, which can be used in special blocks of text for example.
Primary font – used on titles and headings
Secondary font – used on body text
Many fonts are free, but some require you to attain a licence to use it, which can be free or it may cost. In your branding assets, you will need to specify if your font is licenced, and whether it is commercially licenced or an open licenced (such as Google Fonts).
If you have a paid licenced font you should have access to the font files. This way you can install them on your computer to use it on your documents, and to share with your designer. There are also ways to upload the files and use them on your website.
If you have an open licence font, such as Google Fonts, you can easily use them on your website, and you can also download them to your computer for local use.
Imagery and photography
Your brand Imagery style should be defined by the look and feel of the images you use throughout your website and other content. The main goal is to use consistent imagery to connect to your brand content and message, and appeal to your target audience.
- Is your imagery consistent and has a cohesive style?
- Are your images in high resolution?
- Image licence: make sure to know if you have the right to use the images, or the restrictions when using Free Stock Images
- Are your images stored in a safe place?
Brand guidelines are a must-have for any business. They clearly outline all of the above – from the logo and how it should be used, to the font, brand colours, and examples of how these assets should never be used.
You can read more about what brand guidelines are and why you need them on our blog.
A visual branding assets checklist
Download our visual branding assets checklist to see exactly what you need for a complete set of branding assets.
Need help with creating a beautiful set of visual branding assets that truly represent your company or group? Get in touch with the friendly team at CREATIVA to get started.