When it comes to branding, what you see is what you get. At least, that’s how potential customers will feel. They’ll have no reason to give a visually unimpressive brand the benefit of the doubt—it’s up to the brand to earn that kind of trust. In branding, “what you see” is a brand’s visual identity.

Visual identity is how you shape perception and create an impression through the visible elements of your brand

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Images are a powerful form of communication, specifically because they do not communicate with words. They speak on a primal, emotional level and are thus more persuasive. But with great power of communication comes great responsibility: you’ll want to be extra cautious that you’re not sending the wrong message.

To make sure your visuals are communicating the way they should, we’ve compiled this guide to all things visual identity—by the end you’ll be prepared to create one that will inspire customers to pay attention.

Visual identity is all of the imagery and graphical information that expresses who a brand is and differentiates it from all the others. In other words, it describes everything customers can physically see, from the logo to the interior design of a store.

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Often, visual identity culminates in the development of a brand style guide which provides consistent instructions on how the brand should be visually represented at all times and in any situation.