Build a brand from nothing – pt2 – Define your Brand Identity

How to Define Your Brand Story or Identity

Before combing your brand assets into a documented style guide, you first need to define your brand story or identity.

Your brand identity guides the visual choices for your fonts, logos, imagery, etc. All of your visual assets should tie back to your company’s identity.
A story or identity usually includes what your brand says, what its values are, how you communicate its concepts, and which emotions you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business.

“Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time” – Elon Musk

What to include in your identity statement:

  • What your company values are

  • What emotions do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business?

  • How you communicate your company’s values and concepts

Case Study: Atlassian

When Atlassian developed their brand they wanted to establish a consistent external message containing their values.


Our personality describes the tone we use for external communications. It should be expressed as an embodiment of our values.

What’s our personality?


We take a stand. Not everyone will agree with everything we say – and that’s ok. We state our position and back it up. We are clear and direct, acknowledge the hard truths… but are not cocky.
We have our point of view, but don’t belittle our competitors or people who don’t share it.
We are humble. We know we’re a team that makes awesome software, but we’re balanced. We acknowledge when we fail, admit it, embrace it, and grow from it.


We are upbeat, resourceful, and friendly. We motivate and demonstrate a can-do attitude to show our customers what good things are possible. We know that innovating and getting things done is messy, we acknowledge that, and then focus on the solutions together.
We are not delusional. We know that we make sophisticated, and at times complicated tools that take a little time to master. So we don’t over-promise when it comes to the learning curve. We strive to simplify the path and explain the best way forward.
We make people more productive and less stressed. We can’t solve every problem a team has, but we empathise and give it our best shot.

Practical with a wink

We lend a helping hand. Tips, tricks, and how-tos are gold. We provide the right information at the right time. Having “just enough” is better than “all the things”.
We use clear, plain-spoken language, avoid industry jargon, and are mindful of using references that may confuse people of different cultures.
We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We know humor makes life more enjoyable.
We are free to be funny, but we don’t force it. It’s more about being “human” than being “humorous.”
We’ll poke fun at ourselves, and are never crude. If it would make our 13-year-old cousin snicker, we make a better choice (unless it’s a really bad pun).

How do I apply our personality to my work?

Personality comes across best in the details. The volume of each trait should be contextual to the audience and situation.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself during your process to assess whether or not you’re leveraging our personality traits well.
• What is the emotional state of the user when encountering your solution during their journey?
• How might our personality traits help enhance a moment of celebration?
• How might our personality traits help diffuse a moment of frustration or pain?




Steps to creating a brand style guide

Step 1. Define your bands identity
Step 2. Your brand name
Step 3. Your logo (and secondary logo) and determine how it should be used
Step 4. Build your official brand colour palette
Step 5. Choosing Fonts that compliment your brand
Step 6. Defining your brand voice
Step 7. Supporting imagery

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