Brand identity systems explained

By Kelsey Dzintars Outlaw Partners Creative Director

You already know the importance of having a logo for your business. You’ve gone through an extensive process with a graphic designer, pinning down the perfect Pantone value that sings your ethos, and the san serif font with a bézier curve on the capital “G” that your friends and family are drooling over.

So … now what?

op_news_baldfaceBy itself, even the most genius logo can go only so far. A logo design is actually a single component in a three-tiered system; at the Outlaw Partners, we encourage clients to think past the logo design project, and develop a brand identity system that will ensure longevity and clear communication of your company’s image.

A brand identity system is comprised of logo design, identity design and branding. All these components have different roles, which together form a perceived image for a business or product. I like to think of it as a visual mission statement that clearly communicates your company’s goals, culture and values to both your employees and consumers.

Below are definitions and examples of each component of a brand identity system.

• A logo is the central, identifiable visual element of your brand. It can be an icon, a typeface, or a combination of both. It serves as a launching point for your identity system, as colors and fonts are often established during this step.

Identity describes the visual devices used to represent the company, such as stationery,
marketing collateral, packaging, signage, messaging and your website

• A brand (or branding) refers to the perceived emotional corporate image as a whole, or how consumers view and respond to your company. International best-selling author and marketing guru Seth Godin describes a brand as, “ … a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

Once the brand identity system’s components are established, the next step is to develop brand identity guidelines – a written manual that explains how a brand should be used both internally and externally.

Email for consultation about a brand identity system for your business.


Mountain Outlaw announces photo contest winner, call for entries

In the 2015 summer issue of Mountain Outlaw magazine, we asked photographers around the world to submit portraits with short captions that tell fascinating stories. Aside from our direction that the subject should be a human figure, we left the definition of “portrait” up to the artist.

Selected finalists’ photos were published in the magazine, and readers voted online for their favorite photo.

ND8_6788-2Photographer Richard Horst won the contest with his photo “Courage,” (at left) which received more than 3,000 votes out of the nearly 6,000 votes cast. “Courage” featured Horst’s daughter with her pony. Horst wrote about the photo, “I’m in awe of her powerful gentleness; no uncertainty or hesitation by either her or the horses. She reveals emotion you can feel like thunder that echoes from the mountains.”

Horst will receive $500 cash and a $500 credit from the Outlaw Partners to use toward design, video or marketing services.

Mountain Outlaw is now accepting photo entries for the winter 2016 issue. For more information, contact or visit