You want your branding to be consistent. You want it to look professional and you definitely don’t want people seeing the brand in different places with different fonts, colours or logos. There are many small businesses that either have no branding at all or their branding is inconsistent. This blog post will teach you how to improve your branding so you can create a more professional business image for yourself!
STEP ONE – HAVE A PROFESSIONAL, CLEAN LOGO.
Having a good, quality logo is essential to branding. You want your logo to be unique so it stands out but not too complicated or difficult for people to understand what you do. A good rule of thumb is that the simpler, the better and if you can’t read it at a glance, then rethink how you’re branding yourself!
By having a logo that is easy to recognise and works effectively at different sizes, for example still working when small on a social media profile but equally effective when used on a billboard or as branding for your company, you help create consistency.
Be consistent with how you use your logo. If you have a certain way of displaying it, or a particular background it normally sits on, make sure you’re able to replicate this across all the places your logo appears so your customers get a consistent experience.
STEP TWO – USE CONSISTENT BRANDING COLOURS.
Often, the colours you use for your branding will be taken from your logo or at least complement it.
So firstly, decide on some consistent branding colours; it’s worth having two at least but three is ideal so always be able to switch between them depending on what you’re using them for. Think about how and where you’ll use them, how text might look in or over your brand colours. Make sure the colours you use visually compliment or contrast each other.
Another important thing to consider with colour is the emotional reaction they give. Your customers will feel a certain way when they look at your brand, and the colours you use have a big impact on that.
Often, it’s useful to ask others on their views when it comes to colour. You can ask family or friends and get their honest view on how your logo or colours make them feel or the impression they get. This should give you at least a small idea if you’re on the right track.
A really useful resource to find colours that work and compliment each other is Coolors. This free to use online colour generation and matching tool can help you choose and discover new colours and combinations that really work for your brand. Visit their website here: Coolors – The super fast color schemes generator!
STEP THREE – CHOOSE APPROPRIATE FONTS FOR YOUR BRANDING MATERIAL.
Fonts make a huge difference to how professional you look and branding is no exception. Maybe your brand echos feelings of ‘tradition’ and you may wish to look at serif fonts, these are fonts with little additions like curls, points and tails.
For branding that looks more ‘modern’ sans serif fonts are usually the way to go; this is where there’s no added detail but they’re very clean and easy to read at a glance. Often websites like Twitter or Facebook use sans serif fonts. Sans serif literally means without ‘serif’ or without curls, points and tails.
Remember when choosing your branding fonts you have to think about what it will be used for.
There are two ways of going about choosing fonts for your branding, either choose one or use a combination of both depending on the material you’re branding with. For example, it may be worth considering using one font for the logo itself but different fonts for other branding items such as headings or body text.
Or alternatively, when designing materials like business cards where there may not be enough space to include more than one font due to size constraints, try using one main typeface that can work in conjunction with multiple secondary typefaces.
Typically, when we create a brand, we have one font for ‘headings’ and another for ‘body text’. This is primarily for web purposes. Sometimes a logo we might create may use a different font too. We’d never use more than 3 fonts in a branding project though because again, consistency is key.
When choosing fonts, it’s important that they appear clear and legible at a variety of sizes. They should also complement your brand while maintaining the style you’re going for.
And one last note for fonts – please never use comic sans in anything. Unless your business is a kids lemonade stand, it’s a big no no!
STEP FOUR- CREATE A BRANDING STYLE GUIDE
Even if you work alone, having made all the decisions about colours, fonts and logos the next biggest step is to use them consistently.
A branding style guide should be a document that covers the basics of your branding and what it can (and cannot) be used for, including guidelines on how to use each element of branding consistently, where and when they are allowed to be used. These will vary depending on your business needs but some common ones may include:
- What colours you have chosen as part of the branding and where do you use them? Which shade is most appropriate for one type of content or which one should never be used? Make a note of the hex or RGB values of your colours so you can easily use them elsewhere or provide them to others.
- How big should my logo be?
- How much space do I leave between my logo and other elements in my materials like social media posts or website content? Where does text go around it – above, below or next to it?
- What fonts can I use, where can I use them and at what sizes?
Getting these basics down on paper (or digitally!) helps maintain a level of consistency so that it’s always used the same. This can be especially helpful if you start bringing on other staff or employees who will use branding as part of their job.
Once you have your style guide made, it’s important that you stick with it. It can be tempting at times to break branding rules if we’re feeling lazy or uninspired but when this happens over a long period of time people begin to notice and think our branding looks inconsistent because other aspects are being used inconsistently too (like fonts). Consistency is key!
STEP FIVE- GET YOUR BRAND OUT THERE, PROMOTE IT, SELL IT, SCREAM IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS.
So you’ve gone through all the trouble of creating your brand, your logos, your fonts, your colours. Now what? Now use them!
You can use it to create business cards, a website and social media pages so that people know who you are right off the bat when they see them. You should also be using your branding on every piece of collateral or marketing material you send out as this will help keep things consistent too. Whether it’s social media posts, emails, websites, business cards, flyers, it doesn’t matter – everywhere your brand appears should follow branding guidelines so that it’s recognizable and easy to identify.
If you’re a small business owner, branding can be one of the most important decisions to make. You’ll want your branding to represent who you are and what your company stands for in an efficient way that also conveys professionalism. To do this, it’s important to have branding guidelines on hand so that every space where your branding appears is consistent with the others–from social media posts to website content.
The 5 simple steps we’ve provided will help get you started thinking about how branding works as well as provide some ideas for maintaining consistency throughout all facets of marketing materials or collateral material like business cards and flyers. Which aspect of branding has been challenging for you? Let us know! We’d love to hear from our readers and offer up advice on branding.
If you’re looking for help, guidance or want some tips on how to rebrand your company logo or create a new one from scratch, contact us today. We’ll be happy to work with you one-to-one and guide you through this process.