The goal of every brand is to be able to connect with your audience without having to explain bullet point to bullet point, what you do, who you work with, and what you value. These are things that should be easily identified throughout your brand, messaging, and identity.
Having an in-depth brand strategy is a great way to understand your brand and audience but if you don't implement your plans well, your strategy will be for nothing. I would say branding is 80% strategy and 20% visuals, but even though strategy is the larger percentage, having visuals that connects your target audience to your brand is essential.
A lot of business owners think a logo design is the end all be all of branding. I’m here to tell you it’s not, but it's a good start. Before I create a brand identity I always start by sending my client a questionnaire that digs deep into their “why” and what they stand for. Understanding who they are and why they wanted to start their business is a big indicator on what direction we should go in for branding.
The logo design is always created after a mood board, where I can pull together the look and feel of their brand. And in turn, I can translate that into a logo that’s timeless, simple, and relatable to their target audience.
Your logo is usually the first thing a potential client will see, and because of that, your logo should always leave a good representation of your brand. Trust me, I know it's a lot to ask, for your logo to represent EVERYTHING your brand stands for, but that’s its job.
ICON OR BRAND MARK
A brand mark is a shorter, more condensed, version of your logo. You know the Nike swoosh or the Apple on the back of your computer? Those are both brand marks. They represent your entire brand without having to spell out your brand name.
These are perfect to use in places where there isn't enough room for your primary logo. Like on merchandise or social media.
Your color palette should reflect the tone or aesthetic of your business (this 100% goes back to the questionnaire I talked about earlier, understanding who you’re targeting from the beginning makes it easier to pull your brand together during the process). If your brand is related to children and is cheery, you wouldn't want to use a more mature black and red palette. But if your brand is targeting people that enjoy going camping and being outside, muted earth tones might be more appropriate.
For example, my color palette is black and beige, but also supports my brand tone (clean, timeless, and bold).
Using the appropriate typography, or fonts, is a great way to implement your brand’s story. The typography you use can immediately tell your audience what the tone or message of your brand is. Going back to our examples above, if a children’s brand uses big, bold, vintage fonts, their target audience might be put off and if an outdoor brand uses a script font their audience might find a disconnect. It’s always important to make your brand story easy to digest and understand, using the correct type can play a big factor.
Patterns aren’t always used in brand identities but I always include them because you never know when you might need them. A pattern is a great item to use on packaging or merchandise if you sell products, or on your website to mix things up.
Marketing collateral goes hand in hand with your brand identity. Whether it be social media design or business cards, collateral should be an extended representation of your branding and should be cohesive throughout. Marketing collateral should always have your information on it and a call to action so your audience will know what you would like them to do next (i.e. book a call, join a mastermind, or send you an email).
You have under 15 seconds to make a great first impression on your website, so you need to make it count. Your website should immediately grab your visitors attention, tell them who you are, and how you can help them solve their problems.
I always design websites with brand and web strategy in mind. Your brand’s tone of voice should easily carry over into the design of your website. On top of that you should have a website strategy that guides you through the web design process. If your goal is to book more clients, you should have plenty of call to actions directing your visitors to get in contact with you as well as a streamlined process so they follow through. If your goal is to sell more products your strategy should make the checking out process easy to understand.
Your brand should be able to "speak" for you when you're not around to explain it. Plus your audience should easily be able to understand, digest, and explain what you're all about to someone else.
Think of Apple. Do they go around repeating what their brand is every day? No, they have a brand strategy and visuals that constantly work together to show up as sleek, modern, and innovative to their audience.
Can you tell your friends what the Apple brand is about without looking it up? Now, can they tell you what your brand is?
This is SUPER important:
Make your brand easy to understand.
Make your brand easy to digest.
Make your brand easy to explain.