What is Visual Identity?

‘The primary role of graphic design is to identify: to say what something is, or where it came from (inn signs, banners and shields, masons’ marks, publishers’ and printers’ symbols, company logos, labels on packaging)’.
Richard Hollis, Graphic Design: A Concise History.

A visual identity normally comprises of an identificant (symbol (pictographic), logotype (word-based), monogram (letter-based), lettering or visual strategy), an adopted typeface (sometimes specially drawn up) and a colour. A company visual identity is only part of a much larger corporate identity, which can include telephone manner, dress codes, etc. Visual identities can be applied to: a stationery range (letterhead, invoice, business card, compliment slip, etc); vehicles (livery), uniforms, buildings, advertisements, as well as promotional items, etc.