12 Important Types of Brand Elements for a Cohesive Identity

Updated Jan 18, 2023.
Brand Elements

The logo and tagline are the first elements that come to mind when building your brand image. However, to create a long-lasting impression on your customers, you need other vital brand elements like shape, color, and typography.

When you look at the marketing materials of Puma and Nike, you can readily tell what brand they belong to. Why? Because every visual design and ad they make follows their unique brand identity.

Are you ready to learn the key elements and how to use them to build your unique brand identity? Let’s go.

What are Brand Elements?

Many people use ‘brand elements’ and ‘brand identity’ interchangeably. Although both terms have a close relationship, they don’t have the same meaning.

Brand elements are essential features or traits that help customers quickly identify and distinguish your business from others. On the other hand, a brand identity refers to how the company wants to be seen in the customer’s eyes.

Think of famous brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, Red Bull, and Pepsi. Picture their colorful logos, attractive taglines, and their popular designs. All these features and more that appeal to your senses are brand identity elements.

In an ever-competitive business environment, you must fight for your target audience’s interests and money. Brand elements like your business name, logo, shape, color, graphics, and typography make it easy for customers to recognize your products.

Brand elements have two core purposes.

  • Creating a lasting impression on your target audience.
  • Making your brand unique in a competitive market. 

Interestingly, the same elements that create a cohesive identity for an organization also work for personal branding. If you are a solopreneur, pay attention to your personal branding because it is how the world sees you.

Brand Execution
Source: Compass

Different Types of Brand Elements

Your brand elements should tell your target audience who you are, what you offer, and why you are the better option. Without these elements, your customers will struggle to remember you. 

If they can’t effortlessly tell your brand from others, you will lose potential buyers. According to branding statistics, 76% of female and 80% of male customers only buy from brands they recognize (Crowdspring). 

Here are the essential types of branding elements for a cohesive look.

1. Brand Name

Brand Identity in the Alphabetical Form

When you think about a brand, its name is probably the first thing you remember. Your business name is the most vital brand element because it is the first contact point that consumers have with your company.

A good name can serve as an effective marketing and advertising tool. Believe it or not, consumers can decide to buy from you instead of your competitors just because of your name. 

Apartment Branding Statistics
Source: Resident360

Unsurprisingly, choosing a brand name is a difficult task. The ideal name choice is easy to remember, describes your brand, and is likable. If your target audience finds it hard to remember your name, you will miss out on retaining them.

For example, Burger King is a short, memorable, and likable brand name. You can easily guess what it offers when you come across this name.

There are many ways to find a suitable brand name for your business. You can brainstorm ideas or even ask your friends and family for suggestions. 

However, if you want a quick and cost-effective way to find high-quality name suggestions, use free business name generators. Input keywords suitable for your brand in the tool, and it will generate lots of unique and relevant name suggestions.  

For example: Let’s use the Shopify Business Name Generator to find a suitable name for the seed “fashion brand.” 

Business Name Containing Fashion Brand

There are eight types of brand names:

  • Descriptive: Names that describe what the brand offers. For example, Burger King, Bank of America, The Weather Channel, and Hotels.com. 
  • Evocative: Names that use suggestions and metaphors to tell a story about the brand. For example, Amazon (the largest river in the world), Apple (a popular fruit), and Nike (the Greek goddess of victory).
  • Emotive: Names that evoke emotions. For example, Memories & Bliss and Sizzling Drinks.
  • Invented: Names that you form out of nothing. For example, Google, Xerox, Exxon, and Pixar.
  • Lexical: Clever names created as a result of wordplay. For example, Krispy Kreme and Sizzler Steakhouse.
  • Acronymic: Names that use acronyms. For example, HP, LG, IBM, and BP.
  • Geographical: Names tied to physical locations. For example, New York Times, Ethiopia Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Kentucky Fried Chicken,
  • Founder: Brands named after their founders. For example, Ford, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein.

Pro Tip: Properly check online and local directories to ensure your brand name is unique, and then register the original name. 

2. Brand Logo

Brand Identity in the Graphical Form

Brand Logo
Source: FuelMyBrand

Every business building brand awareness must have an easily recognizable logo. In fact, you will hardly find any successful business without this vital brand element. 

The logo is the visual representation of a brand that helps consumers easily identify you. Interestingly, consumers' first interaction with your brand is its name and logo. 

Put your brand’s name and logo on all your business assets and marketing materials, such as:

  • Your products.
  • Your business cards.
  • Your online ads.
  • Your banners/flyers.
  • Your soul media posts.
  • Your website.
  • Your landing pages.

Because people find it easier to remember an image than words, your logo design must be simple and memorable. Often, your target audience will remember your brand’s logo better than its name. 

When creating a logo for your business, make different designs of varying colors and shapes. Why is this important? Your original logo design may not fit into every promotional material you create, while a similar design with a different color may.

For example, the Apple logo is a simple and memorable design with different variations.

Brand’s logo better than its name
Source: Apple

Instead of using the traditional logo design to build your brand identity, you can create a wordmark instead. A wordmark is the skillful use of fonts and colors to design a memorable brand name. In other words, you make your brand name your logo. 

FedEx is an example of a successful brand that uses a wordmark.

FedEx Brand Logo
Source: Turbologo

You can learn how to design the perfect logo for your company without enrolling in a design class. Free logo makers can help you create unique designs. However, to get the best results, first learn about the various brand design elements. 

Top Colors Used by Brands in Their Logos
Source: Venngage

Pro Tip: If you don't have time to learn how to design the perfect logo, hire a professional graphic designer for better results.

3. Brand Tagline

A Catchy Phrase that Describes Your Brand

Top brand taglines
Source: Ebaqdesign

A tagline is a memorable phrase that passes your brand’s message to the customer. You can call it a theme line or catchphrase. Whatever name you choose, its primary goal is to capture your audience’s attention.

The three primary branding elements are your brand name, logo, and tagline. When consumers see your logo first, they may not know what your brand does. Add a theme line, and your brand message gets clear. 

Dollar Shave Club Tagline
Source: Adoric

For example, a potential customer may miss the message on the Dollar Shave Club logo. But with its memorable tagline, “Shave Time, Shave Money,” you can readily tell that it sells shaving products.   

Taglines should be easy to remember and match your brand’s personality. A good theme line leaves a long-lasting impression on your target audience. 

Here are the taglines of some top brands.

  • Subway: ” Eat Fresh.” 
  • Airbnb: “Belong Anywhere.”
  • Meow Mix: “So Good, Cats Ask for It by Name.”
  • Verizon: “Can you hear me now? Good.”
  • De Beers: “A Diamond is Forever.”
  • M&Ms: “Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands.”
  • Purina: “Your Pet, Our Passion.”
  • Zapier: “The Easiest Way to Automate Your Work”
  • Upwork: “In-Demand Talent on Demand.”
  • Monday.com: “One Platform, Better Teamwork.”

Creating a funny and catchy tagline is good but remember to bring it as close to your brand positioning as possible. Let’s say you are running an investment brand; a playful theme line can cause doubt in your audience. 

While a coffee and baked goods brand like Dunkin Donuts uses the playful catchphrase “America Runs On Dunkin,” a financial business should avoid it. 

Capital One uses the tagline “What’s in your wallet?” to state its brand position in its customers’ minds. The theme line is catchy but also professional and appropriate to its industry. 

Can you guess the companies with these taglines?

Pro Tip: When choosing a tagline, consider your brand’s future so that you don’t have to change it. Changing your theme line frequently is unprofessional and defeats the purpose. Plus, when ordering business card printing services, include your best tagline on the cards and make it prominent. Let people know your mission!

4. Brand URL

The Branding Element to Create an Online Impression

The Branding Element to Create an Online Impression
Source: Marcom Robot

Every brand operating in the 21st century needs to own its unique URL. Even if you run an offline business, having a website address makes it easier for potential customers to reach you.  

URL, which is short for Uniform Resource Locator, is a unique web address that helps potential customers find your brand’s website or online content. Your web address should be brief, distinctive, and easy to remember. 

When choosing your brand’s URL, a good practice is to use your business name. In this way, your target audience can easily find you online. 

Let’s say you are looking for Founderjar’s website. You can simply add ‘.com’ to the name and find yourself on the website. “www.founderjar.com” is Founderjar’s url. 

However, if someone already owns the domain name suitable for your business, you can’t use it as your brand’s URL. As painful as it sounds, you have to choose another option. 

You can use the best domain name generators like Bluehost, GoDaddy, and Namecheap to help you find the best domains. For example, if my brand name is Right Farms, I can use the Bluehost name generator to find the best available URL.

Domain name generators

Oops! My ideal URL choice, ‘rightfarms.com’, is unavailable. But there are other similar options I can choose from. In this case, I will go with the next best option, “rightfarms.org.”

Pro Tip: After creating a brand name, buy the domain name instantly and ensure you renew ahead of the expiration date to avoid losing it. 

5. Brand Shape

Use Distinctive Shapes to Create Your Brand Identity

Use Distinctive Shapes to Create Your Brand Identity
Source: Mashed

Your brand shape goes beyond the distinctive form of your products. It covers the figures you use in your logo, packaging, business cards, graphics, and web page backgrounds. 

As a business owner, you can differentiate your products by creating an easily-recognizable brand shape.

Successful brands like Coca-Cola and Apple trademark their unique shapes to prevent other competitors from using them. Coca-Cola’s unique bottle shape makes it easy for consumers to identify it from competitors.

Apple understands the importance of brand shape and uses a distinctive form to help it stand out in the saturated smartphone market. You can easily spot the iPhone from other brands because of its unique curvy shape.

Quick Brain Teaser: Can you spot the iPhone in this image? 

Quick Brain Teaser
Source: Gizbot

When creating your brand shape, use an innovative form different from what is available in the market. Such design innovations attract customers and make your products more desirable. 

However, you have to strike a balance between innovation and using shapes that best show your brand values. Different shapes pass specific messages to your target audience.

The Power of Shape
Source: Impulse Creative 

Pro Tip: If your brand image requires you to use more than one distinctive shape, feel free to use them in your designs.

6. Brand Graphics

Distinctive Visual Brand Elements that Supplement the Logo
Source: Bagista

Graphics are visual elements that help you stand out from your competitors. It is different from your branded logo. 

Your brand graphics supplement and reinforce your logo. Instead of having to overuse your primary logo design on your marketing materials, use your branded graphics for diversity. 

Design your graphics so well that your customers can easily recognize them, like your primary logo. A good example is Louis Vuitton’s stylized flower pattern on all its branded assets. Customers can easily spot an LV product with this graphic without the logo.

Louis Vuitton Flower Tote
Source: Purse Blog

Pro Tip: Use colors, shapes, and specific elements from your logo to create your branded graphics.

7. Brand Color

Choose the Right Color to Create a Recognizable Branding Element

Choose the Right Color to Create a Recognizable Branding Element
Source: Brandwatch

Color is one of the oldest brand elements used by marketers to promote your business. Every brand has a unique color palette it uses to distinguish itself from others in the market.

Before choosing your preferred brand color, consider the emotions you want to evoke in your customers. Different colors pass across varying messages.

  • Red: Excitement, Passion, Danger, Energy, and Action.
  • Blue: Stability, Harmony, Peace, Professionalism, Formality, and Trust. 
  • Green: Growth, Fertility, Prosperity, Health, and Envy.
  • Orange: Creativity, Adventure, Enthusiasm, and Balance.
  • Yellow: Happiness, Positivity, Optimism, and Warning.
  • Pink: Femininity, Playfulness, Immaturity, and Unconditional Love.
  • Purple: Power, Royalty, Luxury, Wisdom, and Spirituality.
  • White: Innocence, Goodness, Cleanliness, and Humility.
  • Black: Mystery, Power, Elegance, and Sophistication.
  • Brown: Comfort and Security.
  • Gray: Efficiency, Timelessness, Classic, and Serious.

Coca-Cola uses red as its brand color to build excitement and appetite in its target audience. You can easily spot red on its products and marketing materials. If you visit any Coca-Cola office or factory, you will find its staff wearing red as part of the dress code.

Depending on your brand message and target audience, there are colors you are better off not using. For example, if you sell shaving products for men, pink is a no-go option. 

Color is essential for expressing your brand values and personality traits. It is so important that some companies trademark their distinctive colors. A good example is UPS, which has trademarked its brown brand color.

A Visually Distinctive Color
Source: Designmantic

Quiz Quiz: Can you guess the brands from this color palette?

Pro Tip: Using a signature color can make your brand more recognizable in a saturated market. In addition, using multiple vivid colors instead of one may improve your brand’s recognition.  

8. Brand Sound

Pick a Unique Audible Brand Voice

Pick a Unique Audible Brand Voice
Source: Samsung

Your brand sound can be notes, tones, jingles, and vocals that make it easy for customers to identify you. Choosing a specific brand sound is important, especially for electronic or automobile companies. 

Samsung uses a four-second ‘Voyage’ tone to craft a brand voice that shows the reliability and stability of its products. When you hear this tune anywhere, your mind automatically connects it to a Samsung product. 

As a sports fan that watches ESPN, once you hear the first two notes of its Sports Center introduction, you recognize it immediately. Also, video streaming brands like Netflix and Amazon Prime play their trademark sounds at the beginning of all their videos.

Pro Tip: If your brand sound is an original sound or song, get copyright protection to prevent others from using it. 

9. Brand Movement

Using Unique Movement Patterns to Stand Out 

Using Unique Movement Patterns to Stand Out
Source: HT Auto

Brand movement deals with the special rotations, patterns, motions, or gestures that differentiate a brand’s products from others. Although this brand element is not common, you can find it in the manufacturing industry. 

Manufacturing companies use this element to make their products more attractive. For example, Lamborghini uses a trademark upward motion to open its car doors. This innovative feature separates it from other car manufacturers that use the common sideways style.

10. Brand Smell

The Unique Scent of Your Brand

The Unique Scent of Your Brand
Source: Glamour

Your brand smell is an essential part of your overall brand identity, especially for fragrance companies. The perfume industry is saturated with products. Companies use a unique scent to stand out from their competitors. 

For example, Hollister is a retail brand that sells clothes, accessories, and fragrances. If you enter any Hollister store, you will smell its unique trademark scent.

Unique trademark scent
Source: Albawaba

The smell is not only an essential branding element for fragrance companies, and even banks can use it. Al Hilal Bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) uses a special scented credit card called “Laha” to attract female customers. 

Pro Tip: Use your unique brand smell as an advertising tool for products beyond perfumes. 

11. Brand Taste

Brand Identity Element to Build Customer Loyalty

Brand Identity Element to Build Customer Loyalty
Source: Adweek

The product taste can be a brand element that gives you an advantage over your competitors. Food brands such as Coca-Cola, MacDonald’s, KFC, Pepsi, and Taco Bell use their unique tastes and trademark recipes to stand out in a saturated market. 

For example, if you eat a KFC chicken, you can effortlessly recognize the brand that produces it. Why? KFC has a trademark '11 herbs and spices' recipe that no other brand can use. As a result, KFC foods have a different taste from other fast food companies. 

Also, MacDonald’s is famous for its unique french fries, and Coca-Cola’s Coke has a unique soda taste that stands out from competitors. In fact, many companies have tried to replicate Coke’s unique taste and failed woefully.

Having a unique brand taste helps you build customer loyalty. Many consumers will buy from a brand that has a familiar taste rather than trying out new products.

Creating a branded taste doesn’t apply exclusively to food products. Cigarettes, toothpaste, and beverages are examples of products that can create a unique taste around to enjoy better recognition.

Pro Tip: Consistency in your branded taste helps differentiate you from competitors. 

12. Brand Typography

Secondary Brand Identity Element that Really Matters

Secondary Brand Identity Element that Really Matters
Source: Belt Creative

Typefaces and fonts are complementary or secondary brand components that complement other elements. Like your brand’s graphics, your logo design usually inspires your typography. 

Disnep Font

Disney has its own trademark fonts that you can find on its logo. All its marketing materials and ads use these unique fonts to set it apart from other brands.  

You can use a catchy typeface and font that looks nothing like your logo design. However, whatever typography you choose, it must still complement other brand elements. 

The font you use to write your company emails & web content and design your logos should match your brand style. Just like how specific colors communicate different emotions, your fonts say a lot about your brand. 

Here is a breakdown of the top three fonts for the different emotions and personalities they represent. 

Breakdown of the top three fonts for the different emotions and personalities
Source: Hubspot Blog

Pro Tip: Use the right branded fonts to communicate your brand’s personality

Statistics

  1. 71 Branding Statistics Every Entrepreneur and Marketer Needs to Know
  2. Does the Brand Name Matter to the Purchase Decision?

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Anastasia Belyh

Editor at FounderJar

Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.