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Branding and identity development: learning the basics

Branding, Corporate identity, Guideline

Brand & Branding

The notions of “brand”, “branding” and “identity” are often blended into one. Univest Creative talks about how to distinguish between these concepts.

Are you sure you can give a clear definition of the term “brand” and confidently talk about its development? Let’s start with the basics.

What is a brand?

The brand is not a trademark, because it is a much broader notion. In fact, the brand becomes in some way a trademark’s shell.

But, first of all, it is a set of ideas about the product/service in a person’s mind.

What is branding?

Branding is the process of forming ideas about a product or service in a person’s mind. It simultaneously takes place in the creative and descriptive areas, hence, it affects the design and marketing tools.

What is brand positioning?

Brand positioning is a niche that a brand occupies in the mind of a consumer. It includes:

  • Focus on the benefits of a product or service;
  • Mission (the role a brand assigns to itself in society);
  • Values;
  • Character (external characteristics of the brand);
  • Development perspective.

What tools does branding use?

It works with:

  1. Image. Each character must be wrapped in a context that reveals its essence.
  2. Associations. The interrelationships between the images make the perception of the campaign easy to read and memorize.
  3. Emotions. They humanize the brand, make it alive in the mind of the consumer and help build strong connections with the audience.
  4. Variability. Most often, the target audience of the brand includes several groups. Each of them needs an individual message.

Stages of branding:

  1. Business. Start with the work on the product or service. At this stage, the main goal is to match the vision of the business owner and project executors.
  2. Research. The next stage is the introduction to the client’s business. Here you need to conduct a commercial analysis of competitive products/services, brands, market, and trends. At the same time, you need to determine the target audience and divide it into segments.
  3. Strategy. It is built on hypotheses, insights, the brand platform, the chosen metaphor, and architecture.
  4. Verbal identity. Includes brand name, brand line, slogan and the style of communication.
  5. Visual identity. Includes the overall design concept: color scheme, logo, fonts, etc.
  6. Implementation. Adaptation of design and marketing decisions, combined with constant supervision.


Identity is an essential component of a brand, its development is one of the stages of branding.

What is an identity?

АIdentity, corporate ID, brand ID is all the same thing. It refers to the visual style of the brand, which can be reflected in the logo, letterheads, and even the design of the office. It also adjusts the fonts, colors, and shapes that can be used.

Why identity is more than a logo?

There is a misconception that the primary task when creating a brand is logo design. That’s why sometimes the process of branding may be shrunk to creating a logo and a brand-name (in a best case scenario).

In fact, the development of brand identity should cover each visual component of your communication with the outside world. It’s necessary:

  • to increase product and brand awareness. The more holistic your style is, the more likely it is to beat the competition;
  • to simplify advertising campaigns. The visual style is ready and your task is only to add some creativity.

What to consider when developing your brand identity?

  1. Identify the basic requirements. The business owner and contractors should understand each other well.
  2. Make a brief. When creating a corporate identity, this part cannot be ignored. Designers will have documented and clear requirements for the task. Whereas the owner will have a comprehensive vision of his brand.
  3. Do a research. Include in the list of analysis the styles of your competitors and those that simply inspire you.
  4. Do not spend most of the time on the logo. Remember Beeline advertising campaigns. If you remove the logo from them, it is quite clear what brand the commercial belongs to.
  5. Focus on brand features. Emphasize the peculiarities that can distinguish you from the others.
  6. Address your target audience. Make the brand alive and close in spirit to its customers.

What identity cases should you look up to?

Ville D`Olivet

City of Melbourne

Saint-Étienne Opera House

Atlantic Theater Company

Appy Fizz

Squad 47

How did we do it?

Univest Rebranding

Univest had a problem. Clients didn’t completely understand the structure of the company, which negatively affected the work of the holding and the promotion of the brand. The lack of a single visual style, the absence of clear positioning and marketing strategy… The company needed a rebranding.

Univest Creative made a simple decision – the existing style of the holding needs to be simplified and modernized. Nowadays:

  • Identity has become more minimalistic and has acquired a single graphic scheme;
  • The style is based on the capital letter “U”, which has become more dynamic due to the cut parts;

Brand colors have remained the same, they again speak loudly about the brand on the market.

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