The biggest mistake we make when it comes to design and developing our brand identity is not understanding one critical thing: The purpose of design is to connect with your target audience on a subconscious level.
When your audience encounters your brand, they should feel seen, understood and valued. This is what creates a connection that will have them coming back for more.
So let’s delve into how design can resonate deeply and create a sought-after experience for your ideal client or customer.
Design goes beyond the surface or the visuals that you see, just as creating a compelling brand identity is more than just a pretty logo or following fleeting trends.
Think about a restaurant you’ve had an amazing experience at. Your experience was unlikely just due to the food. It would have been combined with the ambiance, the service, the attention to detail, the decor, the menu, the cocktails, the thoughtful touches. It’s undoubtedly something you’ll talk about and share with your friends because the restaurant evoked an emotion in you.
The same goes for branding and design. You can have a beautiful-looking website / logo / packaging / store front, but if it doesn’t connect with people on a subconscious level, you’re not going to elicit an emotional response that influences their decision making.
Just like in personal relationships, aesthetics isn’t enough to make you want to go on and have a lasting connection with someone. As humans, we’re drawn to others that make us feel good. The same goes for brands.
So how can your brand make others feel good?
To discover that, you must first know your audience really well.
Take the time to understand their preferences, habits, and, most importantly, their buying behaviors. If you know that your target client likes to shop at brands like Anthropologie, for example, this gives you great insight into the types of experiences they are driven to.
Personally, I love Madewell. It’s not merely the clothes; it’s the way the entire shopping experience feels effortless and puts me at ease. The environment, the organization, the color palette throughout their store — it’s all carefully designed to resonate on a subconscious level. None of this is by accident. (And nor should it be.)
If you can take the time to get to know your ideal client and the types of brands they gravitate to, you can begin to decipher what appeals to them at a subconscious level.
Armed with a profound understanding of your target audience, you can start crafting a brand identity that feels like a perfect fit for them, and begins to develop trust with your business.
People hire you because of the way you make them feel.
Your brand helps to influence that by creating a visual identity that people gravitate to.
This is where the expertise of design professionals comes in
Experienced designers can translate this understanding of your target audience and their buying behaviors into a cohesive visual language that connects with them at every touch point; from your website and social media to branded collateral and in-person experiences.
But if you aren’t ready yet to hire a design team to create a full brand identity for your business, there’s still things you can focus on; number one being CONSISTENCY.
Consistency is the cornerstone of any successful brand. When your audience encounters your brand across various touchpoints, a unified and consistent look and feel subconsciously instills a sense of trust, confidence, quality and reliability. By contrast, chaos and inconsistency can push potential customers away.
No one gravitates to brands and companies that feel chaotic. We gravitate towards things that bring us ease – not stress.
Consistency of images, image styles, fonts, font sizes, colors and logos, are all visual elements that help you to build trust. You can achieve this yourself by having a Brand Style Guide and Social Media Templates to follow when creating content for your brand.
By taking your ideal clients and their buying behaviors into consideration when working on your business, you can design a brand identity that genuinely connects with your target audience.
This connection goes beyond conscious decisions—it’s about creating an instinctual attraction that lingers in their minds.
When your audience feels understood, valued, and inspired by your brand, they become loyal advocates and repeat customers—just like those loyal customers who can’t wait to share about their favorite restaurant or store with their friends.
I’m a brand and web designer, stylist and strategist. I work with talented and seasoned professionals to design strong brand identities that help improve their businesses. I’ve supported many entrepreneurs in further defining their brands through thoughtful design that not only appeals to their audience visually, but strategically.