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5 Examples of Stunning Visual Branding Online

Branding is a complex but important aspect of any business. It incorporates copy, tone, personality, ethos, and a myriad other factors to create memorable branding. But one key aspect of good branding is visuals.

Strong visuals do wonders for your branding. They convey multitudes without even uttering a word. But getting it right can be tricky. Thankfully, we can learn a lot from more successful brands before us.

Read on to discover 5 examples of stunning visual branding online to inspire you today.

Patagonia

Patagonia is known the world over as one of the few genuinely ethical clothing brands around. In 2012, it completely re-evaluated its supply chain from start to finish to ensure it remained sustainable throughout.

But while many brands simply pay lip service to its commitment to the planet, Patagonia bases its entire visual branding on it.

Take Patagonia’s Instagram, for instance. Rather than showing off snaps of models wearing the latest styles, it is full of stunning photographs of the natural world. Images of gorgeous Californian beaches sit side-by-side with breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon.

In showcasing photos of the natural world in all its beauty, Patagonia cements its sustainable commitments without hardly saying a word. As a result, it makes for powerful visual branding that embodies Patagonia’s love for planet Earth and resonates with its customers.

What you can learn from it

Visual branding doesn’t have to be directly tied to your product or service. Instead, lean on your ethos and incorporate that into your online branding. You don’t even need to use copy. Like the example from Patagonia shows, images speak louder than words when it comes to visual online branding.

It is this that turns a business into a brand — weaving ethical commitments into your branding visually shows your ethos, rather than just saying it. It’s a way of conjuring associations in your customers’ minds in a way that feels natural and organic, rather than forced. It’s simple but effective, and well worth incorporating into your visual branding.

Brewdog

Quirky brand Brewdog is something of an upstart in the brewing world. It’s founders often criticize industry regulators, an attitude reflected in its edgy, punk branding. With craft beers named things like “Punk AF”, “Dead Pony Club”, and “Raspberry Blitz”, Brewdog is a renegade within the industry.

And this punk style is just as evident in its online branding too. Brewdog’s Instagram is replete with grimy shots of live music and urban graffiti and graphics. You’ll struggle to find a photo that doesn’t look dark or subdued. Ditto for the Brewdog font, stark capitals with a distressed, weathered feel that reflects the brand’s rough and ready vibe.

Similarly, Brewdog’s colors are bold and daring. Where the brand’s competitors opt for a more traditional, British pub feel, Brewdog embraces black and electric blue (incidentally, the name of one of its beers).

What you can learn from it

Your branding should embody your business ethos. From your website and logo design right down to your font and color scheme, let your brand personality shine through.

Create a mindmap of words or phrases that you associate with your brand — Mindjet is a particularly useful tool for this. Build on this and think of colors, shapes, or other visual elements that you connect with these words. When you create your branding, incorporate these elements to reflect your personality everywhere you’re present online.

Headspace

Headspace is a fast-growing meditation app that promises to help its users lead a “healthier, happier, more well-rested life”. It’s all about calm and serenity, and its visual branding reflects that throughout.

The brand’s color scheme is light and subdued, full of autumnal hues that evoke feelings of positivity. And it’s not just on the Headspace website either — the colors are reflected throughout its channels, from its social media to its app.

Even the font Headspace use is soft and rounded, a sans serif style that is easy on the eyes. Add to this a collection of cheerful, serene characters, and it makes for a stunning website with a distinct visual branding that hooks the user as soon as they arrive and embodies the essence of Headspace’s product throughout.

What you can learn from it

Your website is the nucleus of your visual branding. It is where the rest of your marketing ultimately leads your customers to and it should deliver on the promises those channels make. Consequently, you should strive to perfect your website’s visuals as much as possible.

Of course, creating a visual website identity from scratch isn’t easy. Many ecommerce platforms require a modicum of coding knowledge to create a tailored visual webstore. Even theme marketplaces like Mojo Marketplace needs a little coding skill to get the most from your theme.

But not all platforms are like this. Many content management systems provide a user-friendly theme editor that lets you first select a theme, and then customize that theme’s colors even further. You can even find the exact hue with a color code picking tool, so there are no excuses for not matching your branding exactly.

Airbnb

The travel and hospitality brand Airbnb disrupted the scene when it was first founded back in 2008. Where other businesses in the industry emphasized cheap prices and homogenous hotels, Airbnb promised something different: adventure.

Where other holiday/travel brands might focus on snaps of generic hotels, Airbnb focuses on the potential offered by their properties. Breathtaking countryside villas and stunning urban nests fill Airbnb’s online channels.

High-quality photos take center-stage for Airbnb. It eschews color schemes for stunning imagery — and it works beautifully. Airbnb is all about adventure and experiences, and its visual branding reflects this every step of the way.

What you can learn from it

Multichannel marketing is fast becoming, if not already, the norm for successful online brands — it drives sales by selling where your customers are most active.

But a big problem for businesses expanding into multichannel is a failure to carry over their branding into their native selling spaces. In short: irrelevant or lackluster branding leads to lower sales.

As such, your multichannel expansion should be seamless for every aspect of your business — branding included. Look at Shopify Plus, for example. It lets you natively sell on a number of social platforms, including Instagram, an important network for visual brands. But beyond syncing prices, orders, inventories, and so on, it lets you sync your brand, and it is this that gets results.

Instagram is a powerful channel for showcasing your brand, particularly for showing off images that embody your business. Create guidelines that stipulate the kind of photography you want to be associated with your brand. This lets you claim photography as your own, embodying a distinct visual style that is inextricably linked with your brand.

Barkbox

Taking advantage of the surge in popularity of subscription boxes, Barkbox sends its customers a monthly package of treats and toys for man’s best friend. With around 600K monthly subscribers, it’s a niche Barkbox has nailed, thanks partly due to its unique visual branding.

Barkbox leans heavily on memes in its branding. Its social media is full of dog or dog-related memes. They touch on themes ranging from the unbearable cuteness of dogs to the difficulties of adulthood — and it works.

Any other brand that might attempt this would get it wrong (and they have), but Barkbox knows its customers. Its consumer base relishes this kind of content, and Barkbox’s Instagram posts regularly get thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.

What you can learn from it

Memes are an acceptable component of visual branding that businesses can incorporate into their online strategy. It shows an irreverent, entertaining side that gives your branding a human feel.

But exercise caution — not every brand can get away with memes like Barkbox. If you use memes in your visual branding, use them sparingly and in the right context. Know Your Meme is a useful resource for learning about memes and their usage before incorporating them into your visual strategy.

Visual branding is tricky to get right but well worth the effort. Follow the tips above and learn from the best, and you’ll create stunning visual branding that resonates with your customers time and again.

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