How often do you think about your brand? Do you think about the offline, and online implications of it? What’s included under your brand umbrella? Does that guide your every day decisions?
Most people don’t really think of having a defined brand-unless you’re doing something online. Having a brand means that you’ve shaped how people should look at you. Your brand can involve what you say online, how you conduct yourself offline- how you dress, how wear your hair. That said, building a brand can be as easy is shaping your life based on your likes and dislikes, or being very intentional with what you do in order to achieve a specific outcome.
Let’s focus on building your brand in the context of your business. The good news is that this is the easier part. The best way to get started is by creating a brand style guide. A brand style guide is just that- a guide. It contains everything you need to know when it comes to what’s acceptable and what’s not. We created one for Spark Sessions before our launch. It contained everything from the overall vibe that we wanted to have to the colours, the fonts, how our signatures etc.
Here are the some of the things you need to be conscious of. Your brand is what people think of you and your business- this includes big things like your product and service offerings, or the small things like promotional materials like pens, notebooks etc. that you use, along with what colours, fonts, and the tone of voice on your social channels etc. Having a defined brand, and a branding package/guide is key as most people/potential customers interact with your marketing and promotional channels before making a decision to either work with you or not.
Here is an fantastic example of a brand guide from Saffron Avenue (a great place to start if you’re looking for inspiration).
As you will notice above, a great place to start building your brand guide is by collecting patterns, textures, colours, and fonts that you really like. Put everything in a secret Pinterest board, and start editing. Eventually, you’ll start noticing a pattern emerge and you’ll find yourself pinning the same designs, colours, fonts over and over again. That is the beginning of your brand guide!
After you have the initial phase down, you should move down to stage 2 which the editing and refining process. Here are 4 tips to help get you there:
Tip 1: Stick to 3 Fonts (MAX)
This is really hard for those who have a fond for love fonts- the tricky thing is sticking to 2 simple and one flashy/fancy one.
Tip 2: Don’t go crazy with your colour palette
Like pink, black, white and gold? Ok, cool- stick with those. No need to add blue and green in for the fun of it. I would caution that you should put some thought into the colours, and perhaps read up on colour theory if you want to make a strong statement.
People forget the strong emotional connection behind colours, and get sidetracked by the things that they like instead. Yes, you want to your brand to convey you, and your personality, but you also want your potential client to be enticed enough to get in touch with you. When in doubt stick with the cleanest possible version of your branding. You can always build on it later.
Tip 3: Decide on your communication format (Standard posts, images, GIFs)
How are you communicating? Formal posts, images, gifs? Quick note here regarding GIFs- while they are fun, and can express an emotion really well, they might not be the best thing to use on professional websites. Save them for social channels. And unless you plan on running a B2B site, having your posts too formal might take away from the personality behind the brand.
Tip 4: Create variations of your LOGO with a SUBMARK
Having a submark/watermark is a nice to have for a subtle branding mark. We use the submark on images, social handles, or as an alternative to having the logo everywhere. As long as they both relate to one another with the use of the same fonts or colours, they are easy to interchange.
Why should you go through all of this?
The beauty of having a distinct idea of your brand is that it helps you delegate work without having to monitor things too closely. Your team or contractors know exactly what they can or can’t do. Making decisions becomes so much easier, and you’re able to invest in things long-term because you have thought your branding through.