Top 5 Things You Need for a Breathtaking Brand
I've been thinking of writing about this topic for awhile, and it's something that is so important - your brand. A lot of people think a brand is just your logo, but it is so much more than that! In this article, I will share the top 5 Things You Need For a Breathtaking Brand...because, who doesn't want that?!
As a graphic designer of over 10 years, I have worked in marketing departments and advertising agencies. I've worked with a variety of companies, businesses large and small, and for all of them the same thing is important - having a clear, professional, consistent image to present to their ideal client.
- Consistency - I put this first because I feel it is THE most important aspect of your brand. Keep things consistent. Now more than ever companies need to present a consistent image online and in print over and over again. With more outlets than ever, it's easy for the graphics on your website or your social media accounts to get messy and "all over the place" if you aren't careful. Say for example, you hire a designer to design your logo, but for all of your other advertising (Facebook, Pinterest, web banners) you are creating those graphics in-house or outsourcing them to whoever you are buying advertising from. Without brand guidelines set in place, these graphics can end up looking scattered and non-cohesive. If Sally at the newspaper designs your add with a floral background, and stretches your logo for one ad....then you design a Pinterest graphic yourself with a different font each time...things can look messy pretty quickly. Customers take note of this - and keep in mind the brands you follow online - aren't the ones that keep a cohesive look more easily recognizable? I think so. How do I keep my brand consistent, you say? Read on, dear friend!
- Fonts & Texture - Whether you are using a designer, or DIY'ing your brand on your own, choosing brand fonts and textures are a great way to keep your brand identity in check. For fonts, I would typically recommend using 2 that are either already used in your logo, or one each that you specifically set aside for headline text & taglines / body copy text. Mixing up a strong sans serif font with a light script or handwritten font can be a great combination. You could add a 3rd one in there as well, just make sure it's clean and neat, complements the other fonts well, and isn't overly ornate or handwritten. Textures are wonderful because you can choose a variety of these to showcase your brand. Choose 2 patterns/textures to start with, and you can use them in a variety of ways as backgrounds for your social media & web graphics. Light patterns such as wood, soft metals, watercolors, florals or pastels are great options.
- Your Logo(s) - When you hire a brand designer, you will typically get your main logo (which you can use as your blog/website header), a secondary logo (maybe in a circle, or a smaller version of your logo) that you can use as a watermark, or in other places on your website; and then a favicon, which is a very small version of your logo (maybe just your brand initials and a small pop of color) that will be placed on your website/blog just to the left of the web address bar on your browser. The most important thing with your logo, is that you are using it consistently. Whether you are using your primary or secondary logo, make sure you add it to your "Pinnable" images for Pinterest, or your blog post graphics. Also make update all of your social media sites and online profiles with your new logo, so that your brand image stays consistent. The main thing to remember with your logo is to make sure it's sized proportionally. Try not to "stretch" your logo when placing it on your site - always use the Shift Key when re-sizing your logo in order to maintain it's shape.
- Graphic Elements & A Color Palette - For my brand, EverMint Design Studio, I have chosen some floral illustrations that complement my brand colors and textures. Throughout all of my graphics, I try to incorporate one of these elements. Be it a small leaf or flower petal, I always try to add it in in order to keep the look of my graphics similar. And, I was fortunate to find enough of these illustrations in a pack, that I can use them in many different ways without it getting boring. Most stock photo sites offer illustrations such as these, and you can purchase them to use in many different ways throughout your branding. Having a Color Palette in place is also key. Take a few colors that reflect your brand (say 3 - 5) and use them in a different ways. That way you or your client won't get bored, and you can choose a different mash-up of colors with each graphic. I recommend heading over to Pinterest, creating a new board, and start pinning away! Choose pins of colors, textures or things that you would love in your ideal color palette for your brand.
- Stellar Photos - Photography is such an important aspect of your brand. Whether you purchase a photo shoot with a great photographer, purchase stock photos online, or become a photography guru and take them yourself...it's worth the time and money to invest in your business. As a graphic designer I rely heavily on stock photography, as good quality photos can set you ahead of the pack and make your customer take notice. I am slowly learning more about taking my own photos and am planning to do more of that soon. Also, when marketing your business through Pinterest, a great photo on a pin is what is going to attract an ideal client to your site. Some great stock photo sites are Shutterstock, Adobe Stock and iStock Photo. Alternatively, learning to take your own photos offers great benefits for your business. There are multiple blogs and tutorials on Pinterest where you can learn how to take quality photos for your website or blog. This is so beneficial to you, as you own the photos so you can use them as you please, and any time you can showcase your work and/or products with a high-quality photo you have taken yourself, that is just a win/win!
I'd love to know...what have your stumbling blocks been when starting to brand your business?