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Brand Identity Essentials

By Kevin Budelmann and Yang Kim of Peopledesign

A lot has been written about brands, but brand builders often lack the structure and approach to make a difference. Brand Identity Essentials lays a foundation for brand building, defining the tools and illustrating the construction of strong brands through examples of world-class design. Making a brand great is easier said than done. Brand Identity Essentials is a guide for leaders, managers, and makers who build brands.

This second edition is a major revision of the first, featuring hundreds of new images and content.

  • For designers: The Brand Identity Framework—a one-stop reference for connecting design elements to strategic branding concepts.
  • For educators: Course curriculum for teaching the fundamentals of brand building, including learning the tools and building blocks for branding, aligning aesthetic choices with strategy, and building robust brand programs.
  • For brand managers: Brand audit checklists, including a review of brand basics, how your brand is being applied, and a look into brand thinking.
  • For everyone: Core brand design principles demonstrated through a clear organization and a variety of sources and examples from design leaders including Alan Cooper, Artefact, Collins, Design Army, Multiple, Pentagram, and many others.
Brand Identity Essentials - Second Edition
“A model of clarity in a field that rarely has any.”

Ralph Caplan
Author of By Design

Brand Identity Framework

100 Principles for Building Brands

Brand Audits

Brand basics. Brand application. Brand thinking.

Brand Course Curriculum

Teach students the fundamentals of brand building.

Reviews of Brand Identity Essentials, First Edition

  • I've shared Brand Identity Essentials with many at Amway to help them understand the critical role of design in brand-building. It's one of the best books I've seen on creating brand identity: harnessing the power of color, shape, pattern and other design components to create visual symbols for brands.

    Candace Matthews, Chief Market Officer, Amway

  • Among a sea of brand identity literature, Brand Identity Essentials stands out through its organization, creativity, and practical explanations of design principles. Great for professionals, students, visual junkies, and brand managers.
  • Great job guys! – beautiful projects and layout, and insightful write-ups.

    Peter Crnokrak, THE LUXURY OF PROTEST

Brand Identity Framework

100 Principles for Building Brands
  • Brand Levers
    Brand Actions
  • Essential Tools
    Illustrative logos
    Visual style
    An aesthetic niche
    Color choices
    Applied color
    Color signals
    Type choices
    Type and meaning
    Logo forms
    Graphic patterns
    Shape meaning
    Contrast in composition
    Contrasting elements
    Get different
    Logos in real life
    Physical space
    A sense of place
    Cultural symbols
    Symbol systems
    Brand as symbols
    The name game
    Editorial style
    Brand voice
    Lay a foundation
    Flexible systems
    Staying on brand
    Set the stage
    Consider each scene
    Brand narratives
  • TIME
    Each moment matters
    Total time
    Opportunity cost
  • Essential Decisions
    Understand your customer
    Deliver an experience
    Brand psychology
  • WIT
    A reason to smile
    Fun with programs
    Stay human
    Watch trends
    Relevant programs
    Macro trends
    New opportunities
    The right channel
    Medium is the message
    Business of crowds
    Bend without breaking
    Customers own the brand
    Generate ideas
    Develop good filters
    Support the strategy
    Making to think
    Failing is learning
    Prototype iteration
    Brand clarity
    Brand layer cake
    Managing multiple brands
    Graphic specifications
    Application rules
    Brand bibles
    Do the right thing
    Economy of templates
    Walk the talk
    Protect trademarks
    Iconic value
    Own an aesthetic
  • Essential Strategies
    Logo lifecycles
    Evolve with customers
    Plan for change
    Know competitors
    Program differentiation
    Competitive position
    Seek timelessness
    Take chances
    Dial into humans
    Identify your customer
    Stake a claim
    Make tough choices
    Customers are people
    Users versus markets
    Universal design
    Do your homework
    Embrace constraints
    Key insights
    Stick with a good idea
    Confident programs
    Decisive brands
    Interactions are opportunities
    Customer perspective
    Experience planning
    Identify all the parts
    Look for connections
    Inputs and outputs
    Look for ideas everywhere
    Work the problem
    Inspiration in context
    Design consequences
    Behavior and belief
    Net effect
  • Keep it simple

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