Hello lovely stranger on my website, I hope you like it around here.
I’m here to set something straight. You’ve started a business, so you need a logo design, right?
I see it all the time on social media – people asking for someone to design their logo for their new business.
And you might find someone who can do it cheaply for 20 bucks on sites like Fiverr, or 50 bucks from a friend, or you find a graphic designer who can put it together for you for a couple hundred.
And hey waddya know? The logo design isn’t so bad!
But when your logo is done and dusted, well you’re just left with a logo.
You have this logo design, but how the heck do you design your website? How do you put together a well designed flyer that will advertise your “brand” effectively? How do you design your social media posts? What images/fonts/colours are you going to use?
You have a logo, but what you don’t have is a brand (more on what that is in a sec).
Sure you can flick through some Google images, choose a few colours and wack a design together that you think is looking pretty great (if you do say so yourself considering you didn’t attend design school – good job you!)
But what if I told you that your logo is not your brand. It is just a teeny tiny aspect of your brand.
“Alright Sarah, what is a brand” you ask?
Your brand is:
– Your logo design
– Your flyer/brochure design
– The look and feel of your business cards
– Your tone of voice (How you speak on social media, how you speak on your website, how you write your blog posts)
– Your communication style (How you speak on the phone to your customers, how you write your emails)
– How you and your staff present yourself
Your brand is all of these things and more:
Your brand is what your clients or customers are saying behind your back after dealing with you.
Basically, your brand is your clients/customers experience when dealing with you. Your brand is your reputation.
But I’m here to talk about the visual aspect of your brand; what a well designed brand looks like and how this can work to your advantage as a business owner.
A well designed brand consists of:
The right colours
Colour psychology is a real thing. Colours give off different vibes and meanings, so it’s important to choose colours that compliment your business message and appeal to your target market. You can read more about colour psychology here.
The same consistently used fonts
Different fonts portray different looks. A serif font (where each letter has a little tail or flick at the end of it) best represents older brands with history behind them, whereas a san serif font is best used for modern brands. You wouldn’t use a script fonts in a lawyers office right? (Don’t take me too literally, rules can be broken from time to time), but you get where I’m going with this. The detail of your brand comes down to the fonts used in your marketing material. Consistency is key to a strong brand.
Variations of your logo that can be flexibly used across a variety of platforms
I have put together some examples for you below, but basically when you work with a graphic designer or design agency you will get plenty of logo files that can be used well in different places. For example the horizontal version of your logo will look best on your website header, while a stacked version of your logo will look great in the centre front of your business card. A submark (basically, a simplified version of your logo – example below) will look legible and stand out printed on circular promo stickers.
Images that carry the same style, tone and theme
What kind of imagery you use in your marketing or promotional material depends on what kind of style, tone or look and feel you want your brand to portray. Are you a corporate firm who needs professional looking pictures of people in corporate wear? Or are you a clothing brand who can afford to use laid back images of guys and girls skating in a park. You get the idea. The photography you use as part of your brand matters, and ties it all together nicely.
A well designed brand makes sense to your customers.
It doesn’t confuse them with subliminal messages; it carries the same theme and message, every single time.
A strong brand consistently applies all of the points I mentioned above throughout their marketing material.
And a strong brand is consistent.
All of these things don’t seem to matter too much when you’re just starting out and trying to build your brand up, but in the grand scheme of things oh they really do matter, and you will thank your self if you start creating brand consistency now.
A brand that maintains brand consistency over time creates a strong brand that is recognisable by the masses.
We all know that famous swoosh that’s been around since the 1970’s right? We know it because Nike have maintained brand consistency and they repeat that same thing over and over again.
Nike have remained true and consistent in their brand.
“Yes but they are a huge mob Sarah, I’m just a small business over here.”
I hear you, but let me give you an example:
When you walk by a shop and you see a black and white window sticker with “Just Do It” splashed across it, your brain subconsciously knows that it is the Nike store, correct?
“Yes Sarah, but you’re still comparing my small business to Nike”.
Ok here’s a better example for you that will hopefully resonate with you:
You’re a small business, and you are investing some money into marketing, let’s say Facebook Ads.
For this example let’s say you’re in the organic/wellness industry, so your brand colours are brown and green.
You design an advert for Facebook using your brown and green colours and hit GO on your Facebook ads.
Someone is scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed and they see your brown and green advert. It captures their eye for just a few second, they read it and move on.
Remember that it usually takes people a few times to see you before they buy from you.
The next day, that same person is scrolling through Facebook and they see a brown and green advert but this time in a different place in the feed. Their brain recognises it after seeing it the day before and they want to learn more, so this time they decide to click on the advert.
The user gets taken to your Facebook page where they see your well designed Facebook cover photo with yep you guessed it, brown and green used in the design.
The cover photo design connects back to the advert design they saw (this is great, your brain is not confused, it all makes sense and flows together nicely. Good job). The user likes what you’re about, but isn’t ready to buy from you just yet, so they like your Facebook page and they leave.
The next day an image shows up on their timeline and what do you know? They see brown and green again. This time, the user clicks over to your Website and booyah they see brown and green used throughout the website design – they are beginning to remember your brand; it’s subconsciously leaving a mark on them.
You’re not changing up your branding here there and everywhere, so you’re not causing confusion to anyone. You’re remaining true to your brand, which means you are actually gaining this persons trust toward you by creating consistency. Yay!
This is one reason why having a brand and maintaining brand consistency is important, and great for your business.
“Ok I get it” you say, “so how can you help me?”
I’m glad you asked. I’m going to break it down in the best way I know how – visually (I am a designer after all).
When you work with me, we go through a brand strategy session where you answer some strategic questions asking about your business like how you want to be portrayed, who you want to appeal to, what’s your point of difference, etc etc. I then take those answers and create a brand that is aligned to you and who you’re trying to attract (your target audience).
Some things you get when working with me:
*image examples are client Zee Neville Fitness, designed by yours truly 🙂
A primary logo design
This is the main logo design used in their brand – pretty self explanatory.
Alternative logo designs
These guys are created so that you have flexibility when it comes to designing your marketing material. Want to use your logo on a flyer with your tagline attached to it? No worries! I give you a selection of your logo’s with and without your tagline, you get a horizontal logo design (great for website headers) as well as a stacked version of your logo too (great for the centre of your business card).
These cute little guys are best used in small spaces, like your Facebook or Instagram profile pic. If the above horizontal logo was used in a small square space, it wouldn’t stand out all that well. Submarks replace your primary logo where it won’t be legible enough to stand out and grab someones eye (the main reason your logo or brand is in place, so let’s make that happen everywhere your brand is visible).
I create a custom mood board for your brand which is basically a selection of images, patterns, backgrounds that carry the same look and feel. The mood board aligns to how you want to be portrayed in the marketplace. Want people to recognise your yoga practise as cool, calm and peaceful? No worries, I’ll put together a mood board that screams that vibe you’re going for. Then when it comes to creating your Instagram account or marketing material, you know exactly what kind of images you’ll choose to best represent your brand.
On Brand Marketing material
When you work with me, you get a couple of options of what marketing material you’d like designed. This could be anything from your letterhead or business card designs, a digital e-book for your clients to learn more about you, your Facebook cover photo, a flyer – whatever it is that your business needs most.
You can see more of Zee’s branding here.
“So Sarah, I have a brand, how heck do I create brand consistency?”
Great question. A graphic designer like me puts together a little thing called a Style Guide or Brand Guidelines, and this trusty PDF is the thing that’s going to help you maintain brand consistency.
What is a Style Guide?
A handy PDF that gives you all of the visual elements of your brand so as to maintain brand consistency after we’ve finished working together. Your Style Guide outlines:
Your brands colour swatches
So that you can maintain the same colours across all of your digital and print needs (you know that famous purple that you see on chocolate bars? Cadbury have trademarked that purple colour for good reason)
Your fonts and their usage
What font you use for headings, body copy, quotes etc. You’ll use these fonts on your website, brochures, business cards (and after months and years of consistently applying this font to your marketing material, yep you guessed it, people will begin to notice it and attach that font to your business. Points!!)
A mood board
A selection of images that carry the same style and tone you want your brand to portray
You’ll also get (depending on your brand and if it’s necessary) any icons/illustrations/patterns/textures/backgrounds that you can use in your brand designs.
You’ll have all your fonts, colours, images, backgrounds etc that makes up your brand, in one handy place.
So there you have it. Your brand is more than your logo. And brand consistency is important, and you will thank yourself later when your brand finally gains the recognition it deserves after you’ve applied brand consistency in your business.
Want to learn more? I am offering you a FREE brand strategy call with me. You deserve it for reading this far 😉