Developing a Formula

Anatomy of a Brand Identity

In my post ‘First, deal with the fundamentals’ I discussed how having a strong brand identity from the beginning provides you with the foundation to build your reputation. To build trust. I used a bank as an example of a business that certainly needs to develop trust with customers and spoke of AIB as an example. Here I want to break down the components of a brand identity. I will use AIB’s brand identity to do this.

If you don’t have the budget to spend on developing a brand identity right now, or you never really developed one and only have a basic logo, I will give you some suggestions that you can implement to give your business a more cohesive visual image.


1. The Logo


In recent years AIB invested in updating their branding. And it has paid off! Given banking has largely moved towards digital use, they needed a brand identity that was more effective for such. All logos designed today should have digital use in mind. This calls for simplicity. If we look at their old logo on the top left, you will see that it has a lot going on. For one, it uses four different colours. This becomes problematic and restrictive. It’s application for different uses becomes difficult as you can’t really reverse the colours when there is a need to do so. In totality it’s quite big, so wouldn’t work well at very small scale. One of the smallest sizes used is a Favicon which is found on a tab in the web browser when you are on a website, or getting a bit bigger as an app icon on your mobile screen, and a little bigger again as a social media icon.  



So how did they solve this problem? They began by simplifying their dove symbol. Why do this? If there’s too much detail in a small symbol it ends up looking like a blob. Secondly, they changed it to a one colour logo. This modernises it and makes it easier to reverse. In their new logo above, you will see they use it in both purple and white.



If you really don’t have a budget to spend on branding and you have to use the likes of Fiverr, ask for a simple one colour logo symbol that will work in small scale. Ask to see the logo produced in a very small size so you don’t run into any issues when using it on social media, etc. If you are going to do it all yourself, you could use a logo generator like Or just choose a nice font for your business name and use the initials on a colour background if it’s a long name. For example, if you look at the AIB facebook icon above, imagine it without the dove and just the initials AIB. If your business is a short word you could try using the whole word on your chosen colour background. Sticking to one colour will allow you to reverse it when needed. I really would avoid trying to design your own symbol if you are not a designer!


2. Colours


AIB’s primary colour is an angled gradient purple. It’s somewhere between a red and a blue. Red is a passionate and energetic colour. Blue is solid, trustworthy and calm. The AIB gradient purple is modern, welcoming and uplifting. They use a range of supporting colours in smaller proportions, like greens and orange that are also uplifting.



Start by choosing the main colour you want to represent your business. A colour that evokes what your business embodies. Look up online different colours and their meanings. Once you’ve picked one colour you can then look up for example, ‘colour palette that goes with red’ or colour combinations, or positive colour palettes, etc. You want to use one or two colours predominantly (primary colours) when presenting your business visually. As you can see AIB have one dominating colour. If you’re using two you should use one at a higher percentage of the other as often as possible, so people come to recognise the pattern.  After this you can choose some supporting colours. I’d keep it simple and only use one or two. These should be used sparingly. For example, when you want to highlight an offer you are doing, you could place it on a circle that is one of these colours. In the AIB images further down this post you will see more of how AIB balances their colour proportions.


3. Supporting Graphics


As well as their upward angled colour gradient, they use an upward angled graphic with round corners suggesting energy and optimism. It’s a very effective graphic language, working in blocks of colour, or outline shapes and overlays. They even use these shapes in their banks interior architecture seen in the bottom left image surrounding the kiosks. In the next section of this post you can see it used even more dynamically in AIB’s print material. 




It’s at this point where you really might struggle trying to do these things yourself. I would suggest keeping it simple and use a rectangle or circle. Let’s think about a simple layout that you can easily repeat for something like facebook posts. Use an image up the top portion and place a rectangle block of your chosen primary colour down the full width of the bottom taking up 1/3 of the height. You can place your message/copy in this rectangle and keep it over the left hand side taking up about 2/3 of the width. You can stick your logo in the right hand corner of this rectangle. Because it will be sitting on your primary colour, your logo colour should be reversed. Or, alternatively you could place your logo on top of the photo in the top right or left corner. The key is to repeat this pattern of how you visually present things. Look at the bank cards above. The logo and other items are always in the same location. Consistently. is a good website where you can find free graphic shapes to use.


4. Fonts and Imagery


The fonts and images you use have the power to convey a certain feeling. AIB uses images with a positive tone of voice. The image of the mother and daughter above is warm and uplifting. They always use colour photos. Even in the bottom left image which is a little more subdued in tone it packs a punch with their message ‘Brave Dreams Bigger’. They use one font family in various ways, such as bold uppercase for bigger messaging in Ads.



Choose one font family and stick with it. Again, you want to create a repeatable pattern. You could do all your headings in uppercase or a heavier font. Use a medium font for your sub headings and stick to the same font for all body copy. Where possible stick to a similar colour pattern for all of these. Choose images that express the emotion you want to communicate to your customers. You can find lots of great royalty-free images online:,,

My final suggestion is, don’t use filter apps, apply funny stickers or decorations, etc to images/ads or posts. I often see business posting their products with all these distracting app graphics on top. It’s not a professional look.

Now that you have a better understanding of the ingredients that make up a brand identity you should be able to notice more easily the brands that are doing it right. Or maybe you’ll just realise the reason you are drawn to or trust a particular business is because they are doing it right…

Echo that!

Related Posts