Clarity: 3 Exercises To Get Clear About Your Brand Identity


Lately, clarity has helped me to define the trajectory in my work. While I’m designing, I need to pause and take space around a project to be sure it’s sophisticated and strategic. I’ve felt most successful when I can make clear decisions undistracted by trends or Facebook or doing the dirty dishes in the kitchen next to my home office. Clarity in my business means I stay sharp and on task.

Clarity in a brand identity is extremely important. When a logo for an organization doesn’t match that businesses personality, mission, and values, it can feel obscure and off-balance. Believe me, you don’t want that brand image to look or feel vague. You want your audience to get a clear picture of what your business is.

Often when prospective clients reach out to me they say “I need a new logo because my old one doesn’t feel right. And a website to go with that logo. And some print materials with illustrations.” When I get this request, I believe what these clients are truly asking for is clarity: a lucid understanding of what their brand identity is and how that uniform look translates across multiple platforms.

Yep, I can do all that design and illustration work, but it’s not just those art skills that are in need. What I’m helping my clients with is defining a crispness to their image.

There are ways to manifest this clarity in your brand identity before you get to the brass tacks of hiring a designer to do the work. Here are a few suggestions to get your started.

1. Make your true colors shine through.
Maybe your brand colors are old. You’ve got a navy blue on your business cards and logo that irks you. There is nothing wrong with navy blue, but you’re a health and wellness collective with a team of naturopaths, nutritionists, and psychotherapists. Every time you look at that blue you say “ugh, that color feels too corporate. I want something that conveys a sense of wellness and healing.”

If this is your scenario start finding images, photographs, or objects in nature that capture the tone of what you’re wanting to convey. Pinterest is a great place to source images and capture in a board. You could also pin things to a cork board in your office for you and your team to be inspired by.

2. Get to the foundation.
I find that the people who truly understand themselves to the core move through life with ease and confidence. This is the same for your business. Getting down to the roots of your business mission helps to dial in your internal compass. You then speak from an authentic place which can be translated to what your brand look is. There is only one you, right? And only one of your business.

Start searching for that clarity of brand by looking at your business’s mission. Does it feel stale and generic? Or is it unique to your company’s goals, ethics, and culture? Create space in your office and paste up your current mission statement. Highlight the parts that feel right, and start to paste other words or phrases that continue to distill your mission.

3. “Personality begins where comparison ends.”
If you’re ready for a new logo, the tasks involved can feel overwhelming. As you begin the process, you might be spending time searching online looking at your competitors brand image and wondering if you should look like them. You ask your coworkers to do the same thing and see what they come up with. It’s great to look up how your competitors present themselves, and even wise to be somewhere in the ballpark of similar design, but in the beginning phases you need to focus on you.

Instead of spending time comparing your business to your competitors, an effective way to begin forming your brand identity is to think about your unique business personality. One fun way to do this is ask yourself: if your organization was a famous celebrity, who would it be and why? Maybe you’re someone like Robert Downy, Jr.: successful and established but still a rugged underdog. Or you could be a Tina Fey: witty yet edgy who worked hard to earn her success. Seems like a strange exercise, but it works. To loosen up, try taking your team to a coffeeshop, get fueled up and energized (nothing like a good coffee buzz to get the imagination firing!), then sketch out how you would define your unique business personality.

When you get more clear on your business and brand identity, that will be sure to attract more interest in your services. To get there, give one or all these exercises a shot. Need more help distilling that brand image? Reach out. I’d be thrilled to hear more about your business, and how I can help you define your unique, clear image.

Personality quote by Karl Lagerfeld.