Defining your brand can be a challenge at times, finding a way for your brand to stay consistent can be even harder. Our Creative Director, Lee, has given us an insight into how branding can keep your business at its best.
Why is visual identity good for businesses?
In today’s world more and more people tend to conduct business behind screens rather than actively going out to meet people, make connections and create success. People want instant results due to being accustomed to the internet way of life and allow themselves less and less time to make a decision. This is where a great visual identity is key.
A visual identity is made up of a logo, colour palette, font, and a graphical style that oozes personality. This includes photography that shouts about core-values, target audiences and selling the customer the dream. Developing an identity that delivers the core-values and service offering to the target audience in a matter of seconds. A visual identity is also an opportunity to show some personality!
A visual identity that performs can snowball and lead to followers and fans that only help reinforce the product or service further. Let’s create a brand that has an emotional connection with the customers. Let’s create an emotional experience. A more reputable appearance and a positive following can lead to being able to charge more for the product or service, as being perceived as reliable or increase sales.
What’s the difference between digital design and print design?
Essentially when designing for either medium I’m looking to achieve the same result – give the customer/reader an experience that pleases them and tugs at the emotions, whether that’s happy and exciting or soft and thoughtful – that all depends on the brief and the subject matter.
The differences do start to appear when the customer comes to handle the piece of design. They both need to have the same level of visual quality but then different senses come into play.
With a design in print, the reader could very well be picking the piece up. Here touch is very important – how it feels in their fingers. A lot of thought goes into considering paper types and how they look and feel, how thick or thin, smooth or rough, glossy or matt. Then there’s the print itself, colour can be applied to the paper in so many ways and give so many different finishes. Then there are smells – don’t get me started on the smell of print! (yes call me a weirdo, but I love it!) The reader can interact with a physical object. Take hold of a ‘touchy-feely’ package that reveals a product or message in a particular way – creating an emotional connection.
The digital medium is equally deep but in other ways. Stories can be told over multiple pages, or through the tap or swipe of a finger. Video and animation can be used to immerse the viewer further. Technically, there are so many variables that we need to be aware of; different screen sizes and resolutions – essentially we need to cater for the screen of the smallest smartphone and an LCD TV in someone’s living room, and everything in between. Something of importance, too, is a consideration for accessibility for the visually impaired, and load-times – especially considering people using their mobile devices over the cellular networks.
How do you plan when it comes to branding?
Look at the vision of the client. What is it that they strive for? What makes them different from their competitors and why is their product or service better than others on the market?
Who is the perfect customer? Who is the ‘actual’ customer? We aim to talk to everyone as if they are the perfect customer but we can’t alienate who the customer actually is.
Know the Market – Research into the history of the client and their competitors. What does the future hold for the market and how can we be first to tap into that?
- Design Brief
The design brief is essentially a summary of the research conducted.
Vision. Values. Target audience. Competitors. Service or product offering.
- Developing identity concepts
More often than not the design process starts by scamps and sketches on paper, exploring ideas. We then move to the mac to draw up our selected solutions digitally.
- Create a visual language
The selected logo can now be expanded upon and we can look to develop a colour palette, a range of graphical elements, patterns, illustrations, photographic styles, all with a view to having a library of elements that can be called upon to help with marketing.
Once all items have been agreed, a set of guidelines would be produced including a presentation to the client with their feedback. It is crucial for all clients to be involved in the whole process of branding/rebranding their company, approval is key. Until all parties involved in the design process are happy with the outcome, the same procedure is continued. This document would cover all the ‘rules’ to how the logo and the identity should be displayed to ensure brand consistency.
What types of questions do you ask clients when branding their company?
What is the company vision or mission statement? If there isn’t one then it’s a good idea to formulate one – this will help to focus on the goals of the company as a whole and will help us to capture the essence of this in the logo and visual language.
What needs to stay the same when branding?
Brand consistency is of utmost importance. Every time a customer interacts with a product or service notices advertising, or visits the twitter feed, the look and feel must be consistent. The tone of voice, whether words or images needs to be consistent too. When consistency is there it shouts ‘reliability’. Consistency is key to creating and maintaining a reputable identity. Reputation, how the company is perceived in the marketplace, and PR all combine to create the ‘brand’.
Is keeping the same colour scheme important when branding? (re-branding?)
It all depends on what the current logo and identity looks like and how it performs. If the colours are intrinsic to the company or sector then it’s generally a good idea to keep along with the same lines. If not then it’s advisable to look towards upcoming trends for the market – that’s not to say to follow the crowd, of course, but to be aware of the direction that the market might go in the future.
How important is the use of fonts?
Subconsciously fonts speak to us in so many different ways and the tone of voice in which a font ‘speaks’ should be correctly aligned to the values of the company, the product or service that’s on offer and the audience that it’s speaking to.
In addition to the tone of voice, a font might need to be legible depending on the market and the audience. Awareness of the visually impaired is also important.
If you need help with branding your business, get in touch with one of our team.