A memorable brand. That’s the most important aspect of a new business’ success. If your brand is easy to read and recognize, beautifully designed, consistent across different platforms and applications and embodies the heart and soul of your organization, you stand a better chance of being the first name on your customers’ lips when they need the products or services you offer.
Defining a brand is a crucial step for a business, but a lot of people see “brand” as simply a logo. While they’re correct that the logo is part of a brand, it isn’t the only part. There’s a laundry list of things to consider when building your brand, ranging from the obvious such as your name, to the nitty gritty details such as the verbiage you use when talking to your customers.
So you want to build a brand? Here are six visual brand elements that play a crucial role in brand consistency but often receive little attention. By focusing on these often-missed details, your brand will not only be consistent, but it will also be noticed.
It’s very common for a company to have only one version of their logo applied to everything from T-shirts to signage to a website. The problem is that very few logos are conducive to such a wide variety of applications while retaining their original visual impact. A tall, vertical logo won’t work very well in a thin, horizontal navigation bar on a website, just as a long, horizontal logo wouldn’t fit well on more square-shaped spaces such as hats. By creating alternate versions of your logo (horizontal, vertical, square, icon only, text only, etc.), you can ensure that your brand can be used across every application while maintaining a strong visual presence.
A lot of brands pay little attention to the fonts that represent them. Even if they do spend some time looking for the perfect font to complement their logo, they forget to put that same attention into the fonts on their websites or printed brochures. To help maintain a consistent look and feel, choose one to three fonts to represent your brand. You might use one font for headlines, another for paragraph text and another for special text such as quotes or lists. A great resource for free fonts is Google Fonts.
It’s easy to categorize any high-quality picture as “good photography.” But by setting a few standards, you can take your brand’s level of imagery from okay to great. For example, if you’re an athletic wear company, rather than taking any picture of your shoes, create a standard that all shoe images should be taken from ground level to maintain consistent, unique angles. Or, you might put together a standard for lighting and color to be used across all product shots, from one shoot to the next. Have you noticed how Nike’s photos and videos have a distinct look and feel that make them recognizable as the Nike brand? Dramatic lighting, vibrant colors, gritty textures. That’s the power of visual standards for imagery.
A logo is the mark that embodies your brand. You don’t want your brand’s mark to be disfigured, discolored, warped, faded or otherwise tampered with because it wouldn’t accurately represent your organization. While these instances might be obvious, a less obvious infraction would be the space around your logo. You don’t want your logo to be crammed so tightly against other text or images that it cannot clearly represent your brand. Give your logo a little space, and you might be surprised at the attention that it brings to your mark.
Colors are powerful elements that can evoke emotion and define the way customers perceive your brand.Sure, you might keep your logo colors consistent, but keeping color pallets consistent across all products, collateral and web presence can often be overlooked. By giving your brand a specific pallet of exact colors to use across all materials, you maintain the aura that you want your brand to convey. Colors are powerful elements that can evoke emotion and define the way customers perceive your brand. Just saying, “We use red as our primary color” isn’t enough. Red is a loose term. There are so many versions of “red” that a slightly-off color can dilute your brand. Instead, specify: “We use #b21d1d red as our primary color, with #cd4343 and #43cdb8 as our accent colors.”
Motifs are the little design elements that you use to accent your brand while also acting as themes to your overall visual presence. Things such as dashed lines, a thin arrow or gradient overlays on your images are all examples of design motifs. Adding that level of consistency in your design displays a professionalism that only the best companies tend to pay attention to.
Nailing down the details of your brand is an important first step in preparing your business for sustainable growth. Put all of your brand information in a brand manual to act as a guide for your visual identity each time you create another brochure or Facebook ad. If you’re interested in creating a brand manual for your organization, let us help you — after all, this is what we do best.