Why you need a brand identity before you build a website

Every brand needs an identity. Every website needs a brand. But, why do you need to build your brand identity before you build your website?

Here’s why.

Your brand identity

Before we get started, I need to ask you a question.

Do you truly know what a brand identity is?

Don’t be offended by this question, it’s genuine! Because if you’re thinking that your brand identity is just your logo, you’re going to be surprised to find out it’s actually a lot more than that!

When we think of brand identity, we go straight to the look and feel of the brand, but it’s also how the brand speaks to us, how it communicates with us.

Branding expert Marty Neumeier defines brand identity as “the outward expression of a brand, including its trademark, name, communications, and visual appearance.”

Clearly, our brand identity is something very important, it’s our “outward expression” of our brand, it’s how we speak to our customers and clients.

A good way to understand this on another level is by thinking of your favourite brand, now ask yourself “How would I describe this brand and their products to my friends?”

When you think of your answer, you’ll likely think about how their products look, how they feel, possibly how they smell, as well as how the actual brand makes you feel and why you want to buy from them.

Now, did you know the answer you’ve just come up with is highly likely to be 100% in line with how the brand was designed to come across?

Yes, the answer you just came up with was already crafted by a specialist brand designer. The designer knew how the brand needed to be represented, how the brand was going to appear visually, how it was going to communicate with its customers and how it was going to sell its products successfully.

All of this is done through a variation of logos, colour palettes, typography/fonts, imagery, product packaging and brand goals/values.

That is brand identity as a whole.

That is brand identity as a complete package and not just as a logo.

Here's a glance at our own brand identity for E-commerce Artisans.

So, now we know what a brand identity is, let’s look at why you need to have this crafted before you build your website.

Why do you need to craft your brand identity before you build your website?

A good way to answer this question is by asking you another question.

Do you want your website to look like a) your brand, b) someone elses brand, or c)  something random?

The answer should be easy: a) you want your website to look like your brand.

Which is near enough the answer to our initial question; why do you need to craft your brand identity before you build your website? The answer; you need your brand to have an identity to be able to build a website that represents you successfully.

It’s that simple.

Let’s take a look at it in a bit more detail though.

As we discussed earlier on, a brand identity is made up of a variation of logos, colour palettes, typography/fonts, imagery, product packaging and brand goals/values. All of which play a big part in the key elements of your website design, as they provide direction.

“Web design is what creates the overall look and feel when you’re using a website.” - Lindsay Kramer

So just like your brand has a “look and feel”, we need your website to have the same “look and feel” to maintain consistency and to be recognisable.

Without this, your website can still be built and designed beautifully. However, it won’t be designed in a way that enables your business to reach its full potential.

Your brand identity provides a clear vision for your business, a clear method of communication, a clear direction and a fantastic basis for your web design to be built on.

So, do you have your brand identity?

If you don’t, then it’s time to think about investing in a brand designer. If that isn’t an option right now, then make sure you keep an eye open for our upcoming blog post ‘How to create your branding basics on a budget’.

Jess McLean

Co-founder of E-commerce Artisans. Experienced in web design. Passionate about cats, books and living a vegan and eco-friendly lifestyle.

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