When Ruben Dario Villa started his car air freshener company, Fúchila Fresheners, he had a clear idea of who he was and how he wanted to communicate.
As a Mexican American, Villa wanted his Chicano heritage to be instantly recognizable to people from his community:
“Fúchila in Spanish is slang for when something smells bad,” Villa said. “So calling [our brand] Fúchila Fresheners is ironic, and people thought it was funny.”
Fúchila’s products aren’t your typical tree-shaped fresheners. Instead, they include pop-art images of the late singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez and renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The fresheners use simple, punchy colors that reflect Chicano heritage, and it works. While Villa started Fúchila from the trunk of his car, now the fresheners are carried in over 100 stores from coast to coast.
“The [visual] identity has been crucial to Fúchila’s growth,” said Villa. “It has a graphical element. It’s been attractive to people; I use very bright colors. It really is being authentic to me—it’s what I like to see and what I feel my community likes to see, so that’s what I gravitated towards.”
Why Consistency Counts
If you put five pieces of your marketing materials in front of you, what would you see?
Would you find a streamlined, consistent theme? Or would you see a confusing jumble of chaotic imagery, colors, and text?
In today’s visually-focused age, a strong visual brand identity is crucial. Visual identities offer a framework for clients to connect with companies in a reassuring, cohesive way, so when you engage prospects across different platforms, they know who you are and the personality you represent.
Visual branding includes logos, colors, typography, imagery, composition styles, photography, videos, and more. Just as Villa chose images relevant to Chicanos, your target audience should shape the theme of your brand. When you resonate with the desires of your audience, it will be easier to attract people.
3 Keys to Sharpen Your Visual Identity
Looking to sharpen your visual identity? Here are three keys.
1. Define Your Audience
Defining your audience can influence the tone you use.
Outline your target markets using demographics (age, gender, income, etc.) and psychographics (personality, interests, lifestyles, or desired solutions). Once you identify their values or concerns, you can appeal to their needs and wants.
2. Outline Your Mission and Voice
Your business probably has a clear vision, but can you communicate this to your audience?
Why do you provide your products or services? How do you hope to change your clients or bring benefit to their lives? Once you clarify your mission, identify the voice that matches this position. Whether this voice is authoritative, rebellious, or compassionate, seek to communicate in a consistent tone.
3. Use a Cohesive Style Guide
To build a strong visual identity, maintain a style guide to keep visuals cohesive across mediums.
Use color psychology to pick shades that match your voice. Define imagery that complements your message: is it pastel landscapes? Bright animations? Personable faces? Even shapes communicate: round and organic forms signal warmth and softness, while geometric or angular shapes signal innovation, prestige, or power.
According to John Du, a Los Angeles-based designer and art director, even typography is significant:
“Typography is just as emotional as anything else—when you look at different fonts, they have different personalities,” Du said. “If you want to showcase your business as something very traditional or respectable, you might consider a serif typeface. If you want people to see your business as something more modern, something more grounded, maybe you’ll choose a sans serif typeface.”
It’s All About the Image
Studies show that visuals increase a desire to read content by 80 percent.
When you create articulate, strong visuals, your business will gain momentum and grow strong relationships with customers and clients.