The visual identity of a company is essential in any sector since it is primarily responsible for transmitting a certain image to its customers, suppliers and any other audience. The logo would be the main face and the rest of the applications would then be in charge of transmitting their own style. Let’s take it for granted that, in any case, they do not make up a brand by themselves, but are part of it. Talking about a brand would imply broadening the focus to a purpose, values, culture, behavior… which must be reflected in the elements of visual identity tailored to each circumstance.

As successful companies grow and diversify over time, they often tend to need new materials and create new visual assets. The circumstance is further complicated when they are generated from multiple locations on a path that inevitably leads to the loss of uniformity, which represents a significant threat to the brand.

What is a visual brand audit?

A visual audit is a verification of all the elements of identity and language or visual universe of a brand. It reviews the style and coherence between all implementations, offline and on-line, as well as with respect to what the brand says it is and what it projects.

It corresponds to the most tangible part of a brand audit, which can be complemented with:

Verbal identity audit: Initiated from the name itself to get to your voice, tone and style, to the way you express yourself.

Perception audit: Analysis of people’s image of a brand.

Brand health audit: Analysis of the value perceived by different audiences through their contact with the brand as a result of use, behavior, experiences and attitudes.

An impaired visual style is the first symptom of a weak brand. Before investing in renewing the website or creating new sales brochures, it is highly recommended to consider carrying out a visual audit to ensure that we are going to give the brand its best image.

4 Steps to Conducting a Visual Audit

It’s actually a great opportunity to see the brand in a way that is rarely observed, for which I recommend a process structured in 4 stages:

1- Inventory and situation

It is necessary to start the process by making an inventory of all the elements where the brand is applied and then move on to a compilation of all of them. It can be interesting to contemplate the possible evolution of identity over time. It will also be time to get hold of the Corporate Identity Manual.

On the other hand, it is convenient to know what the brand strategy is: its positioning, its values, its personality, its tone and style.

2- Identity Analysis

There are many elements that make up a brand’s visual identity:

  • The starting point is the logo, its proportions, colors, typographies and its different implementations. Also highlight the corporate colors and typographies, graphics and photographs.
  • All of this comes to life through primary applications (e.g. corporate stationery…) and secondary applications (e.g. clothing…)
  • It is necessary to complete the analysis towards all points of contact: products, point of sale, signage, vehicles, etc
  • We must not forget the digital world either: website, avatars, social networks, brand clips, videos…
  • And without a doubt, the review of the brand’s internal and external communication pieces will be essential.

From its meticulous analysis we will be able to obtain a first diagnosis that will detect possible weaknesses both in the implementation of identity elements and in a lack of coherence with what the brand claims to be.

3- Competitor Analysis

Once the competitors, both direct and indirect, have been identified, it is appropriate to analyze them from a technical point of view but also from the perspective of the consumer. Surely it will not be possible to carry out an in-depth study of all of them, but their websites, social networks, videos, press appearances and their products can provide enough valuable information. The aim is to identify possible codes in the sector that may be significant.

4- Trend analysis

Trend analysis will help to understand where society’s interests are moving and provide insights into how we might adopt our reality towards those interests. Completed with the selection of best practices, it can be very illustrative to identify aspects of improvement in the current visual identity.

From the first identity analysis and its cross-referencing with the results on the competition and trends, a complete analysis of the visual identity of the brand and its competitive environment will be obtained, which will minimize its weaknesses and optimize its strengths, while reinforcing its essence. Undoubtedly, a magnificent environment to give the brand a second chance.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

President of Branward®

Photos: Shutterstock


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