The vegan industry is currently worth $4.5 billion and is set to boom to a staggering $24.3 billion by 2026. Now is a great time to get into the vegan food industry and we can even see more and more vegan food brands cropping up all over the country with one in six new food products being plant-based during 2019. Because you’re a vegan brand, you will already have a bunch of values that your audience will connect with from the get go – from health, taste or moral reasons. But with the vegan market growing so rapidly, it is also more important than ever to create a brand that can be distinguished against new competitors, while also being clearly recognisable as a vegan brand.
The difference between brand, branding, brand identity
Creating a successful brand means you have to first consider what makes up your brand personality, brand voice and brand identity. Let’s break that down a bit:
- Your brand personality refers to a set of human characteristics that represent your brand e.g ruggedness, sophisticated or competence.
- Your brand identity the visible elements of a brand, such as color, design, and logo, that identify and distinguish the brand in the audience’s minds.
- The brand voice is how you talk to your customers depending on your brand’s personality style. It could be fun and playful or authoritative and informative for example.
Understanding your brand is the first step before diving into the visual side of branding. So you need to ask yourself some questions before you start:
Who are your audience
As a vegan food or restaurant brand, we can expect your audience to primarily be geared towards vegans. They hold the same values as your brand and vegans eat vegan food right? A brand that reflects the needs of your target audience is going to be a successful one. But in the vegan industry especially, you should consider the wider audience too. ‘Non-vegans’ or ‘flexitarians’ may not be your primary market but you shouldn’t alienate them either. Brands such as Oumph focused on creating a brand strategy that made their meat alternative look “delicious rather than morally correct or green and healthy”. Moving away from over vegan imagery can make your brand more accessible to customers, as preconceptions about vegan products can be discouraging.
Get as detailed as possible and create an ideal customer profile, include their hobbies, location, age, occupation etc and then you have one clear image of your ideal customer.
Who are your competitors
As mentioned, the vegan market has grown considerably in recent years meaning more competition. It’s important to know who your competitors are and how you are different than them. What makes you unique or innovative compared to these other brands? And how can you use these advantages in your branding decisions to grab attention from consumers.
What is your brand mission and values
You need to ask yourself who you are and what is the purpose of your product or restaurant. This is especially important in the vegan industry because ethics and values are a key aspect of your relationship with your audience. Your audience is making conscious decisions to use brands they align with.
Onto the design
As designers, we take your brand values and identity and translate this into visual elements that purposely represent your brand and your audience. For example, being a plant-based brand it would make sense to incorporate greens into your brand palette as this is easily recognised with your values as a vegan brand. This is why you may have seen many vegan brands with greens and browns that look ‘natural’ and rustic’. However, our role as designers is to also create a brand that sets you apart from your competitors, so taking into account what branding is already out there in the market is important, in order to create a design that steers away from this typical style of vegan branding.
What makes up the brand assets?
Brand assets are elements such as the font, colour palette, logo or stickers that make up your visual branding. These are then used consistently and exclusively across your website, signage, marketing materials and social media. As designers we make this easy for you by creating a set of brand guidelines. This includes everything from your logo to your font pairings. Our job is to take your brand identity and your values and translate this into visual elements that represent your brand, and give your audience something to recognise and relate to.
Certain fonts will send a strong message about your brand to your audience. For example, a vegan supplement brand may want something sophisticated and clean. Pairing fonts that are used for headings or subheadings can create contrast and make the main font stand out.
Colours are incredibly important to your brand. People create strong associations with different colours and you can take advantage of this by having a brand palette that evokes specific messages or emotions. As mentioned, muted greens are popular colours with vegan brands as it is associated with nature and plants.
A brand is more than just a logo, but it does play a crucial part in gaining recognition from your audience. Whether you have a logo that is your name, an image or a shape, the form you choose again will instill a specific message. A logo that is soft and rounded may align with an organic vegan brand. Keeping your logo simple will also be important in making your brand as recognisable as possible to audiences.
Illustrations or Stickers
Your brand package can include more than just your logo and colours, having specific stickers, shapes or illustrations can be another useful tool in creating familiarity. Look at vegan oat milk brand Oatly for example. They incorporate different drinking glasses for each of their different products from coffee cups for their barista version to a milkshake glass for their chocolate flavour. These illustrations help define your brand and your products and make your brand instantly digestible.
Okay but where are these brand assets being used?
Consistency is key here. You want to use the same assets across all your channels – from print materials, packaging, signage, social media, websites and more. Branding assets that are seen continuously across your platforms will be embedded in consumers’ minds. Not to mention a consistent image will make your brand feel professional and trustworthy. Brand assets exist everywhere. Companies that are not utilising them past a logo are missing out on the biggest marketing tool they have, and creating a real connection to their target audience.
Packaging and Sinage
This will depend on your vegan food brand and whether you’re selling a product or running an establishment. Packaging and signage are both important however in enhancing your brand visuals and creating continuity across your brand. They can help elevate the consumer experience, by creating a unique and exciting experience for the consumer.
The vegan industry is on the rise, and the audience for conscious and aware consumers is growing. Now you know how to take that first step in creating a unique brand for your consumers that will set you apart from all that competition and make your brand a success.